I’ve been a fan of Stars since they released Nightsongs, their début album. Well not really a big fan during that time but I liked them enough to order the CD online and import it from Le Grand Magistery. From the début album to Heart, Set Yourself On Fire, In Our Bedroom After The War, The Five Ghosts, and The North the band’s progression to musical maturity and thematic albums become evident. From someone who merely appreciates the band, I’ve become a big fan to the point that I’ve been praying for them to come to Manila, pestering them on Twitter to come here, and urging organizers to sponsor their concert. The efforts were fruitful, not that I’m saying it’s a sole effort, the realization of a Stars concert in Manila is a collective effort of the organizers and Manila fans.
I bought my ticket as soon as I got word from Joff Cruz of KindAssault that the tickets are available. I rushed to Gweilos in Makati and bought mine. Someone beat me to ticket #1 but #3 ain’t so bad. I finally got a ticket but it was still months before the concert so the waiting was torture.
Then a week before the concert, I was almost bedridden with acid reflux and a really bad flu. I kept on praying that I’ll be well enough to go to the concert. Thankfully I recovered, not fully, but enough to go to the concert.
On February 16, 2013, Jovan and I met up at 5:30 PM so we’ll be near the stage. We were hungry though so we ate for an hour. When we got to the line, a lot were already in front of us. Around 6:45 PM, JR appeared and we ate malunggay shingaling as we waited for the doors to open.
While in line, we said hi to friends and acquaintances. I also got some of the items I pledged via PledgeMusic to help the band with this tour (the items weren’t what I pledged though but I ironed it out with the tour manager. Thanks, Tom!). It was 7 PM when we were finally ushered in and we rushed to the front of the stage. Well, tried to but there were so many in front of us and I got claustrophobic. I told Jovan and JR that I’ll just remain at the sides to avoid the suffocating crowd.
OuterHope and Ciudad opened the concert. So I was in the sidelines which happened to be right outside the dressing rooms. Sometimes the Stars members watched the crowd or the opening acts. At first I was shy to approach them but I finally did when I saw Chris Seligman signing shirts and CDs of some fans who approached him. I gathered my courage and took out my Five Ghosts boxed set and asked him to sign one of the cards. I also asked if I could have my photo taken with him which thankfully he obliged.
The opening acts finally over, they played the following songs non-stop!
- The Theory of Relativity
- A Song is a Weapon
- Ageless Beauty
- The North
- We Don’t Want Your Body
- Midnight Coward
- Your Ex-Lover is Dead
- Do You Want to Die Together?
- Soft Revolution
- Lights Changing Colour
- Dead Hearts
- Elevator Love Letter
- Hold On When You Get Love and Let Go When You Give It
- Take Me to the Riot
- My Favourite Book
- One More Night (Your Ex-Lover Remains Dead)
- On Peak Hill
- Set Yourself on Fire
- Calendar Girl
- The 400
It wasn’t a perfect performance as often live ones go. Sometimes the mics didn’t work, or a beat or two is off, or a pitch isn’t perfect. That didn’t matter because everything – the dancing, the singing, the band – was electric. I noticed that Torq often felt overwhelmed with the love Manila fans showed the band and he often placed his right hand over his heart. I even thought he was about to cry…and maybe he did! The Manila crowd is really something else and this made the band promise that they will come back soon. Even they admitted they haven’t performed a set as long as Manila’s for a long time. 25 frigging songs! Their set list for The North tour is 22 songs long. I checked the set list for their Singapore leg which came after Manila and they only played 23 songs.
Right after the concert, we immediately waited outside the dressing room. Luckily for me, Jovan is friends with Mickey of Ciudad and she asked him to have my box set signed. I crossed my fingers that the band would…and they did!
Then the surprise. There indeed was a meet and greet with the fans! We heard rumors that there was none of that in the other legs of the tour so we were amazed. We were very tired though, we stood the whole time of the concert and while lining up. So we sat on the steps of the concert venue, asking ourselves if we have the energy to meet and greet them. We sat for a long time and when we looked up, the line was already short so we decided that we might as well.
I decided to their the members’ photos using my new pink Fuji Instax cam then have them sign the bottom of the photos. When the band saw the camera, the said it was so cute and different. Amy loved our photo so much that she asked that I send it to her online (I already did). Others commented on my blue hair which was nice of them. I’m sure they were so exhausted by that time but they still smiled and posed with the fans, they are just so nice.
That night I was among stars and I will never forget it. Till the next Stars Live In Manila!