(For the record, I’ve got a lot of unposted entries swimming in my head, but this one DEFINITELY deserves to be jotted down, remembered, and immortalized.)
It was a reunion concert, that was for sure, but not just for the Eraserheads. It was for all the 90s kiddos out there, for all the fans and vanguards loyal to OPM, and for all the friends who found a compelling reason to meet up again after a long lull.
Thanks to the fabulously-early Ethel, who was already there as early as 2 pm, we got a great spot at the front of the Patron area, conveniently near the McDo stall of the VIP area. By 8, we were complete and as giddy as eager groupies (maybe even more). Dana pointed out that this was our first time to see the EHeads perform live. Excitement as well as anxiety took over, as I was wondering what the catch would be for this much-anticipated event. Would they only be singing 3 songs? Where the heck were the instruments? Would we be only getting live video feed? I swear, if that happens, I’ll find a way to the SVIP section, just to give the organizer a good whack in the head.
Eight-thirty rolled along, and the 10-minute countdown began. Fellow EHeads groupies chanted down every last 10 seconds of each minute, and were cheering like hell for the last one minute. The ‘SA WAKAS!’ line that flashed on the screen practically summed it all up. Our eyes were glued to the montage of the group’s pics on the screen, as we were all wondering what would come next. Then, the familiar intro rifts hit the air, and everybody immediately knew it was Alapaap. Suddenly, something was rising out of the platform — the stage, instruments, killer sound system, and oh yeah, the EHeads appeared! I don’t think there was anyone who wasn’t shouting and jumping up and down at that moment. I swear, it was like it was U2 who came out of that stage. I myself was shrieking incessantly, and I could feel tears streaking down my face. It was really happening! Fireworks shooted from the top, the side and the bottom of the stage, sending an already-fired-up audience to a frenzy.
And it was like that for the next 12(?13?14) songs — everybody jumping up and down, everyone singing at the top of their lungs (never mind hitting the right tone), everyone just so glad to see that yes, miracles do happen. Even Buddy himself was all smiles (I swear, I was such a groupie — up to the 3rd song, I was shrieking, ‘Si Buddy!’ everytime the camera focused on him). I love them for singing With a Smile, Shake Yer Head and Toyang. I love them for making me miss lyrics that are at par with Ligaya, Kailan and Huwag Mo Nang Itanong. I love that they featured snapshots of UP while singing Sembreak. God, I love them so much that I even found myself singing to Fruitcake. Ethel was right in saying that there was so much love in there that evening, that friends were reunited and were just there to sincerely enjoy good music and all it stood for. The crowd never really needed any encouragement. It was like playing the National Anthem — everyone stood at attention and knew what to do by instinct (i.e. wave their hands, hoot loudly, sing ‘Do-doo-doo-dooooo!’ perfectly during With a Smile).
Of course, as everyone probably knows by now, the event was cut short, as Buddy, Marcus & Raymund, together with Ely’s sister, announced that Ely had to be rushed to the hospital and that they themselves were at a state of shock. Despite the obvious disappointment at going from such a great kickoff to a sudden halt, I don’t think I heard a jeer or a boo. Heck, Ely belted out a 15-song set, people; one would think that he just gave as much as his strength would permit, before plopping down and calling it quits. The crowd took the news in, understood, and gave the band the heartfelt applause that was due them. A minute of silence was given for prayers, before the crowd parted. Although, I think everyone still kept their tickets, just in case, and prayed for an equally-surreal Part Two. Heck, I would still pay for tickets if there was a Part Two. Frankly, I actually think we still owe them. More than sulit, I tell you. We went on for hours later on, for the most part wondering what songs they were actually planning to do next (Magasin? Para sa Masa? Pare Ko?).
The best part of it all was I got to spend this never-to-forget moment with my high school buddies, Team Bugsy (oo, high school kami nun kaya may pangalan). These were the songs we grew up with, the songs that would trigger memories at once for everyone (i.e. kanta ni Mace, Huwag Kang Matakot’s special message, etc.), the songs that were somehow made a part of us and who we were. Just think, how many groups out there were also going through the same thing? Love, miracles and magic went on this August 30th, I tell you. Here’s to long friendships, invincible bands, and the power of timeless music.