Posted by: theboyfromsmallville | August 31, 2008

Eraserheads reunion concert: Still a magical night

Naligaw

Naligaw

 The thing with magic is that no matter how simple it is—a coin palmed in one hand and then disappearing into the back of the other—as long as someone performs it in front of you for the first time, it will enthrall you.

For that moment which spans the magic trick—from the pledge, the turn to the prestige—you are held in awe. Saturday, Aug. 30, 2008, the pledge was simple. As the huge digital counter worked its way to zero, an electric crowd held its breath as the huge black backdrop presented the trick’s turn in huge golden dot matrix numbers dropping off one after the other. And then the prestige came: From the bowels of a makeshift stage, rose the Eraserheads.

Masdan mo aking mukha/Di mo ba nakikita?/Ako ngayo’y lumilipad at nasa langit na/Gusto mo bang sumama?

Who wouldn’t?

Finally...

Finally...

For six years we had waited for this one. When the countdown flashed 10 minutes, the general reaction wasn’t “10 minutes more?” It was “10 minutes left!” I mean, for anyone who has waited for Ely Buendia, Raimund Marasigan, Marcus Adoro and Buddy Zabala to play on the same stage, 10 minutes is like the time it takes to to pause between inhaling and exhaling.

After suffering through all those years with the pain of feeling our brains turn to mush and leaking out of our ears because of all the sixcycleminds, spongecolas and hales of this world, this was it: Eraserheads, reunited.

ely and marcus

ely and marcus

The reunion concert had taken quite a hit from moralists, who felt that their fan-ness wouldn’t be able to transcend the fact that the group had agreed to get together for wads of cash bundled into four equal parts by a tobacco company. They were still not friends. They had not patched up the differences that led to the breakup of the country’s best rock band. They were making a pitch for smoking.

Killjoy phlegmspits. Didn’t even bother to check that said tobacco company surrendered concert rights to MTV.

Put it this way: The four of them could have trooped to the Global City open field carrying pitchforks instead of guitars and engaged themselves in a death match with their songs as background music in an event that aimed to raise money for the Keep GMA in Power Foundation and the UP Cum Laude and I would have still gone.

See here: All it mattered was that they got together. And just a few notes into Alapaap, Eraserheads knew one thing: Through the clouds and even through hell, we would have gone with them if they as much as nodded us off to the direction they were taking.

Buddy

Buddy

They got to the stage at 8:27 p.m. They played 15 songs, including such iconic hits as Ligaya, With a Smile, Fruitcake and Wag kang Matakot, a song which overemphasized the fact that NOBODY does it better and please. get. that. idiots who plan to sell their versions of E-Heads hits in the future.

Oh sure. Marcus missed a few riffs during solos and Ely couldn’t simply belt out notes with a vocal range that had shrunk after all this time. But you know what? With the crowd singing along every single moment during the concert, nobody cared.

Wag kang matakot/Di mo ba alam nandito lang ako/Sa iyong tabi/Di kita pababayaan kailan man

The crowd filled in every time Ely had to catch his breath. And, in retrospect, he did seem to try and catch it a lot during the high notes.

If anybody was looking closely, that might have foreshadowed what was to follow.

The first sign that trouble was brewing backstage was when the band plunged into what was supposed to be a 20-minute break. Again, the huge black backdrop flashed giant numbers reading 20:00. But shortly after it flashed, it disappeared behind a kaleidoscopic display of lights.

And then, more than 20 minutes had elapsed. Suddenly, questions cropped up in the mind. Was there any meaning to the fact that Ely had belted out–

“I look forward tomorrow/But can’t leave yesterday behind/How it feels so strange/To have grown and change/Now it’s not the same”

–just before the break? I look forward to tomorrow? Had Ely mock-genuflected just before surrendering his guitar to a stage hand right before the break? And why were Marcus, Raimund and Buddy climbing back to the stage without their instruments? And who was the girl with Buddy? Why was she holding a piece of paper?

raimund

raimund

Turns out, Ely had suffered mild chest pains and yielded to fatigue. He had to be rushed to the hospital, the girl, who was introduced as Ely’s sister, made the announcement. Together with organizers, band members offered their apologies to the thousands who had scrounged the city for tickets and then waded through traffic and then sang with them through 15 songs for having to cut the concert short.

Organizers braced for the worst. Jeers, perhaps. An angry mob demanding for refund. They had a litany of excuses ready to quell whatever uprising the crowd would morph into.

announcement being read

announcement being read

 

trouble brewing?

trouble brewing?

 

Instead, they got an appreciative, grateful silence. You guys are saying sorry? C’mon. A few notes into Alapaap and I already had my fill. Oh sure. Now we will never know how Ely would have introduced such hits as Pare Ko, Magasin and Ang Huling El Bimbo, three of the bands biggest hits penciled into The Second Set That Never Was. Right before the band went into Shake Yer Head, Ely shook his head wildly, letting his hair loose and sending his shades off unto the stage floor.

The Heads must’ve had something ready for those three hits, right?

When they did With A Smile, the Heads added a twist of melancholy into it, slowing down the tempo a wee bit and adding a little keyboards to the mix. Surely, they must have had something special planned for the longing-filled Para sa Masa, right?

And as the UP Cum Laude said, how would the E-Heads have dug into Minsan? Would they have finally given in to persistent egging by the crowd for a group hug? Would any of them wax emotional at the song that traced the beginnings of their friendship and whose lines seemed prophetic when one looks at the path that the band took?

raimund says sorry to fans

raimund says sorry to fans

We will never know. But the not knowing did not merit any apologies, Raimund, Marcus and Buddy. Ely’s mother had just died, two (three?) days before the reunion concert. From the emotional toll that had taken on him, to the daily grind of band practices and just the overwhelming euphoria of the night, things were just pretty too much for Ely’s fragile heart.

But see, here’s what we got: Over an hour’s worth of a moment we had given up on.

Sorry? No. Thanks. Every hair-raising minute after the opening sequence was one minute more than what we bargained for.
 
In the end, a unified crowd fell into a minute’s silence and whispered a prayer for Ely’s health.

We could have gasped collectively at the announcement. But then we would have sucked out all the air out of the open field. We could have groaned, complained. But for what?

A rain check?

The thing with magic is that every time a trick is repeated, a layer of mystery is peeled off. Tickets for Reunion Concert Part II? There will never be one. Not because Ely obviously can’t go the whole grind anymore. Not because no one is willing to fork in for talent fee anymore.

But once you find the coin at the back of the other hand, the magic’s gone.

So thank you, Raimund. Thanks, Marcus. Thanks, Buddy.

We know you feel sorry. But you should have been there when the lights had gone out on the empty stage; when all that was left were faint echoes of the songs that endeared you guys to us.

the lights slowly fade away...

the lights slowly fade away...

When the singular crowd broke up into tiny dispersing units, no one was wincing over the financial toll the abbreviated concert took on a beat-up wallet. Everybody was chattering, reminiscing, as if they had watched the full version of the Eraserheads Reunion Concert.

random fans still (sticker?) happy no matter what

random fans still (sticker?) happy no matter what

And hey, Ely Buendia, thanks.

idol

idol

* * *

I remember when I was a kid, a magician during a school fair quieted a clamor from a bunch of us by saying he would perform one last trick.

He held up a deck of cards and showed it to us kids. 52 different cards. From the deck, he fished out the ace of spades. He passed it around and told us to put it back into the middle of the deck.

He then passed the deck to each of us—I think we were seven or eight—and told us to shuffle it once. We did.

He placed the deck face down on the table as we eagerly awaited the pledge.

“I want you to tap the top of the deck once,” he said.

We did.

Then came the turn.

“Can one of you come forward?” I did.

“When I say ‘ace’ I want you to lift the top card and throw it in the air,” he said. I nodded.

“Ace!”

I picked the top card threw it in the air. The magician caught in inbetween both palms and held it out in front of us.

“Guess what this card is?”

“Ace of spades!” we gleefully answered, suspense building up in our hearts.

But when he unveiled the card, it was the three of clubs.

We stood there stunned, wanting an explanation. He handed out the deck. We searched but we couldn’t find the ace of spades.

“Magic,” he said, but it wasn’t the prestige we were hoping for.

Still, we clapped. He had shown us several magic tricks, after all. And then the fair grounds closed and we went home.

* * *

I was having dinner at home that night, going over the events in my mind and a little bummed out that the magic trick didn’t turn out the way I hoped it would.

Until my mom, checking on the laundry, told me she found an ace of spades in my shirt pocket.

It’s hard to explain the childish giddiness that overcame me way back then.

But Saturday night, Aug. 30 2008? It kinda felt that way.

* * *

Never refer to it as half a concert. It was everything the Eraserheads could give. Bitin, sure. But you’ll never know with these guys. They might crop up with a new album. And while they won’t be able to conjure the magic that filled the Reunion Concert, they still might surprise you one day with a short gig or two.

After all, what was it that Ely once told us?

Eraserheads rule!

Eraserheads rule!

 

At kung sakaling mapadaan/baka ikaw ay aking tawagan/dahil minsan tayo ay naging/tunay na magkaibigan

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(some photos, the good ones, taken by Jim Guiao Punzalan. More photos and posts coming, as soon as we upload photos and videos from the other cameras. We brought along three cameras for the concert.)

jim guiao with the UP cum laude. kahit mahirap sumakay, go pa rin!

jim guiao with the UP cum laude. kahit mahirap sumakay, go pa rin!

pauwi, with bodyguards

pauwi, with bodyguards

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Responses

  1. Well said, as usual, Francis.

    I agree that each song was already more than enough for those of us who never even expected that August 30, 2008 would ever come.

    While I agree that once the magic trick is revealed, it will never be the same again, I still hold out hope that another level of magic may yet be achieved by te fab four.

    In the meantime, we have the memories of 8.30.08 to keep us going.

  2. Ayoko na ng part 2. Pero kung meron, pupunta pa rin ako. Pero I might not feel the same way again.

    The magic for me last Sat was when the stage went up and revealed the four. Ayun. Tapos na ang gabi. That was it.

    After Alapaap, everything else was just gravy. High pa rin ako hangang ngayon :)

  3. Ger! We were at svip too. judging from the angle of your ely shot, we were probably close to each other. We were in front buddy. sayang di tayo nagkita. but you’re right, alapaap pa lang, solb na.

    saya!

    let’s rally around ely again!!!

    atty. ted! sayang din, we didn’t run into each other. Great night! I do wish that there will be another gig somewhere down the road. kahit wala na yung original magic. i just want to see them on the same stage again. Alapaap pa rin ako, as gerry terms it.

    off topic sir. if someone wanted to take the lae, what advice would you give? :)

  4. waaaaahhhh!

    guess where tumuloy sila raymund, buddy and marcus after di natuloy ng concert … sa SAGUIJO! at don nila tinuloy ang concert! imagine that! we were that close, babs!

    i was blog surfing when i came across this

    it’s heartbreaking. :((

  5. *utterseverycursewordanditstranslationinfivedifferentlanguagesandtwonativedialects*

    CHABS!!! TATLO’T KALAHATING TAMBLING LANG TAYO FROM SAGUIJO LAST NIGHT!!!!

    ARGGGGHHHHH!!!!!

    broken hearted too.

    **utterseverycursewordanditstranslationinfivedifferentlanguagesandtwonativedialects**

  6. at kelangan pa ba kasing sabihin ni raymund na warm up lang yun???

    ok na tayo eh. bakit kailangan ko pang malaman na sa 2nd at 3rd set nila ibibigay lahat???

    bakeeeeetttttt???

    *wails*

  7. Luckily for us, we scored tickets sa Patron. Talagang ubusan ang labanan eh. Pero ayos lang kahit malayo kami, enjoy pa rin sobra!

    At mantakin mo bang me mga epal pa ring sumigaw ng “boo” at “refund” sa di kalayuan? Sarap gulpihin.

  8. By the way, I stumbled on these sa youtube. Kuha siya sa Saguijo. Kinanta nila ‘yung El Bimbo. Pakingshet, inggit ako!!! Pero di ba, andun pa rin ang magic? Grabe, ibang klase talaga. Nakakabangag sila!

    Eto part one:


    Part two:

  9. Eraser heads will not be erased in my HEAD!!!!!!!!>>>yan lng masasabi Q mga pre…in my dreams nalang cguro cla maging KA BANDA ULIT….all songs are very MEANINGFUL…

  10. CHABS!!! TATLO’T KALAHATING TAMBLING LANG TAYO FROM SAGUIJO LAST NIGHT!!!!

    sorry naman, yung unang basa ko eh KAMBING. tatlong kambing wtf. haha. anyway. yes yes dama ko ang (sings) “ligayaaaaaa” (/end sing) nang gabing yon! at abangan nyo di lang kayo ang may makabagbag damdaming pikchurs!!! just wait for my less than stellar photos of teh nights from our very strategic position that is the patron areaaaaa!!! huwaaaaa! ang liit ng eheads 1 x 1 whole body nyeta. zoom kung zoom haha. pero ok lang. it was a lovely night, where all the stars are bright and all the planets are aligned, except for pluto, which is not a planet anymore (sabaw). inggit pa rin ako sa inyong nasa vip. booo. haha joke lang. :D dapat magka-eheads night naman tayo minsan parang beatles ulit! bahay mo cois! (haha nang-imbita tama ba yon) :D

  11. at in ferness … alav the reference to The Prestige :)

  12. Tel>> Mga ogags nalang siguro yung mga taong yun. Pag si lennon at george harrison ba eh nabuhay ulit at tumugtog ang Beatles ng Let It Be at sinabi ni Lord oops tama na yan at binawi ulit ang dalawa eh sasabihin ng manunuod booo? Walang sense of musical history ang mga yun. Gumimik lang. That’t it. Mga pakshet sila. Hehehehe. Hindi ako galit, pramis.

    Makoy>> Agree! At kahit sa panaginip lang mapanuod ang Heads, wala pa rin binatbat ang mga ibang bands sa kanila! Pero maganda din ang radioactive sago project. hehehehe. At ang dream kitchen na kung may time kayo sa sept. 5, punta kayo sa san miguel avenue para sa kick off concert ng oktoberheads. hindi lang dahil tutugtog ang third eye blind pero kasama sa lineup ang dream kitchen. (hanep sa plug. sana ilibre ako ng gitarista ng bandang yun)

    Tita Rissa>> “it was a lovely night, where all the stars are bright and all the planets are aligned, except for pluto, which is not a planet anymore” hahaha! sabaw nga. halatang galing e-heads concert. o diba, naparesearch pa ako sa imdb para lang malaman ulit ang three parts of a magic trick. :)

    upload na ng pics!!! panakaw ah?

  13. They played Wag kang Matakot? Sayang sayang sayang. Now I wish I went haha. And Kiko. Nice one, this post is.

  14. KAT!!!>>> Hehehe. Yup, they did. This was the one song where the crowd singing along seemed apt. Like, go ahead E-Heads, we’re here? Or something like that. Hope everything’s okay in your part of the world :)

  15. […] As you all know by now, the Eraserheads have listened to the pleas of the multitude and are going to reunite for one more gig to make up for that abbreviated reunion concert in August last year. […]


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