DISCLAIMER: This is a lengthy post, mostly written for my benefit than yours. I might have rambled a little bit (or, you know, a lot) because it’s so hard to write about a band that you’ve been a fan of almost all your life.
I’ve never seen an international act performing in a concert before. The closest I got was when that kid from the Mexican telenovela “Luz Clarita” went to the Philippines and my dad made us watch from the Gen Ad area of the then Araneta Coliseum. I was a kid, and I was happy singing along while watching from the huge ass screen.
Years later, numerous bands and singers came to the country for concerts, and even though I was interested with them, I never actually bought a ticket. One, I was a student and didn’t have the money for it, and two, my dad would think it’s a waste of time. So you can say I never really paid much attention to these kinds of things.
But it was a different story when I learned that my favorite band (it sounds corny, but yes, MY FAVORITE BAND OF ALL TIME) was coming to the country as part of their world tour. My friend Denise texted me the info last December, and I nearly fainted. “Seryoso ka ba?” I asked, my insides screaming. “Wag kang mag-joke tangina.” But she was dead serious and I immediately contacted my twin, Mimmy, who has been a fan for as long as I’ve been. We knew that this was that one great event we were waiting for; Hanson had already gone to the Philippines twice, and we had missed both concerts. We felt like bad fans, like we let them down because we weren’t even aware that they came to the country. I myself broke down and cried when I heard that they were here in 2004; I couldn’t believe I was so out of the loop. I didn’t have the right to be called a fan! Anyway, this time around (pun intended, haha) we had to go the concert no matter what and get the best seats possible, even if we had to go through hell just to score tickets.
When the news spread that Hanson was coming to Manila and Cebu (thanks to Dayly Entertainment’s religious updating of their page), a lot of my elementary and high school batchmates contacted me saying that I was the first person they thought of when they heard of the band’s concert. I was secretly happy they remembered—like it was in itself an affirmation of the love I had for the trio.
December came and I lost my job, and I was panicking that I wouldn’t get enough money to get good seats, since I’d be spending my last pay getting gifts for my loved ones. Plus, I wasn’t a member of Hanson’s fan club yet, so I didn’t have access to the members’ pre-sale of tickets. Good thing my dad always gives us money as his Christmas gift, and I used that to get VIP tickets. Yessir, I couldn’t settle for just Patron seats. Mimmy and I decided to get VIP spots, smack at the center of the Smart-Araneta coliseum, a few feet from the stage.
But it didn’t stop there. When Hanson announced that they were holding their very first Members Only Event at the Coliseum, Mim and I scrambled to become members, scraping whatever money we had left. Hell, we weren’t going to miss the chance to be serenaded FIRST and to take group photos with the band. It was a good thing, too, because we weren’t able to go to the autograph signing at SM North Edsa’s The Block, mainly because we were already broke by that time. Haha.
As the weeks passed and the date neared, Mim and I were a bundle of nerves and excitement. When the week of their arrival came, we launched into battle mode and carefully planned what outfit we were going to wear. Of course I didn’t want to look shabby in the picture with the guys behind me!
Fastforward to their arrival (I was nearly in tears, and my heart was hammering against my chest like crazy), Bandila guesting and autograph signing, the day of the MOE and concert finally arrived.
When the band came out and said hello to the small crowd of members I was left speechless. I stood immobile, my mouth slack. There I was looking at the face of my crush, my first love, Taylor. Not in front of a screen but in the flesh, standing a few feet away from me. I didn’t know how to feel—it was like a clash of happiness, relief, excitement. After all these years of appreciation and utter devotion to the band, I finally had the chance to see and listen to them live. It was surreal.
When the time for group photos came, I couldn’t move. Inside I was thinking, “Are you fucking crazy? Photos with Taylor behind me, are you freakin’ serious?” And I guess it was that momentary hesitation that cost me. The girls in front of me already crowded around Tay (figures) and I approached Ike instead, and he smiled and put his hand behind my bare back. “Smile and look at the lady in gray,” he whispered. I died, really, and nearly jumped ship. Ike was so nice and he even shook my hand after the photos and I felt guilty about not appreciating him all that much throughout the years. Ike, man, I have newfound respect for you.
Leaving the Coliseum after the MOE, Mim, Johanne and I were breathless. We couldn’t stop gushing and reliving all of the band’s actions. When the time for the actual concert came, I told myself that I wasn’t going to be nervous and speechless again. But who was I kidding? When they entered and played the first notes of Waiting for This, I nearly broke down. I had been waiting for this, 15 long years to be exact.
The band was nothing but amazing. They didn’t have any fancy gimmick, just pure electricity. I got into this band because their first album was catchy and upbeat bubblegum pop, but I’ve heard their music evolve, and in every album there was certain purity to each soulful melody, and the passion overflowed in each song. Hanson had always been about the music, and their Manila concert showcased just that.
I’m not going into the details of their music, because I’ve never been good at giving proper reviews. I am going to say that I was glad that the Coliseum was filled with fans who weren’t just there because they remembered Hanson from their “Mmmbop” days. No, I was with fans who knew the lyrics to their This Time Around, Underneath, The Walk and Shout It Out album, and it was riveting to be singing (screaming) your lungs out along with other people who knew what Hanson’s music was all about. Who cares if we weren’t able to join the crowd standing in front of the barricade? Our seats were actually at a good vantage point—we stood up on our chairs, rocked out to “Where’s the Love,” “Crazy Beautiful,” “Can’t Stop,” “Penny and Me,” and “If Only,” and took in the melancholy music of “A Song to Sing” and “With You in Your Dreams.” In fact, when those two songs played I finally cried. It had finally sunk in; I had fulfilled a dream and I was awake for the whole ride.
Taylor said, “I’ll make a promise. We’ll be here in another 15 years if you promise to be here, as well.” Well, you can be assured that I’ll do good on that promise. It doesn’t matter how many years you ask of me, I’ll be here, the ever fangirl, just singing along and bringing your music into my soul.