The Real Thing: Phoenix Live in Manila 2014

Note:  This is a detailed look back at Phoenix’s first Manila concert held last January 21 at the World Trade Center as seen and experienced through the eyes of a fan.  If you want to read a review that simply retells the details of that night – one that expresses very little emotion – then head over to my music page, the EOS.

Almost, almost, almost the real thing.
It was a sunny April afternoon in 2013 when I saw Phoenix live for the very first time. It was an unexpected event. I didn’t know that that day was the Coachella performance. I just heard the announcement from someone a few moments before Phoenix walked on stage. Although having a decent spot seemed impossible considering the multitude of people already flooding the venue and how incredibly late I learned about the concert, I was still able to secure a nice and comfortable place – right in front of the action!

Oh yeah, I forgot to mention – it was live on Youtube.

Ever since I got to know their music several years ago, I only got to experience them live vicariously – through the reporting of an online music magazine, fan video uploads, or past recorded live sessions.  That Coachella live stream was the closest thing I got to watching Phoenix live and real time, but still that was not enough to satisfy my desire to experience their music live myself – to be one with a crowd, to let every note fill my fingertips, to be right there in bursting glory of it all… until January 21, 2014.

Victim of the Crime
Despite my intense longing to see Phoenix live, I was calm on the day of the concert, which was rather strange considering I had waited for that day to arrive for a loonng time. Well, I was a tad nervous (take note, nervous, not excited) but I was generally steady. I didn’t feel as happy and super excited as I had thought I would be. There were no butterflies in the stomach, no neon lights flowing in my blood, no confetti bursting in my head when I thought about the concert that was only hours away from happening.  Even after months leading up to the concert, I was just calm about everything.  And I didn’t know why.

I tried to determine why I felt that way.  I mean, I got more excited about a concert I had attended four months prior, and to think I was not even a big fan of that band!    And then there I was, on the day of the Phoenix concert itself feeling curiously tranquil! This had never happened to me before.  It was possible that the cause of this calmness was a combination of stress from work, the activities connected to Manila Wants Phoenix, and my not winning the M&G contest (twice!); being extremely busy and tired had probably prevented me from letting everything sink in, for the excitement to seep through.  But whatever the real reasons were, they certainly didn’t keep me from watching a band that I adored. 

Napoleon says to come over here!
It felt surreal being at the World Trade Center in Pasay City last January 21. Although I had reserved seats, I, together with my sister, who eventually became my official photographer, went to the venue about 5:30 p.m. There were already people lining up at WTC’s entrances by the time we got there, all getting ready to secure their places inside. The whole place was generally quiet. The overcast sky the whole day that day painted a gloomy picture, and it belied the events that were to be.

We went inside the venue at about 6:30, and were able to find our spots quickly.  Although our seats were far from the stage, it was not as far as I had expected them to be.  I immediately noticed the chairs for the VIP ticket holders.  They seemed out of place in the with their black and white chair covers.  They made me feel like I was going to attend a seminar rather than a concert. 

Despite Karpos Multimedia’s announcement last December that the show would start at 8:00 sharp, we had to wait for more than hour for it to begin.  I went in and out of the venue several times while waiting for the show to start to meet some members of Manila Wants Phoenix, who would later on be instrumental in allowing me to meet Christian, Branco, and D E C K unplanned!

I’m just too glad to say no, just too glad to say no….
The audience was composed of a different mix of people, but generally young; many of them wore midriffs and boots. My sister and I spotted some guys trying to imbibe a Thomas Mars aura by wearing a light blue shirt. Some women, on the other hand, flaunted their fancy dresses and high heels, which made me wonder how the hell they were going to dance, let alone move, in those killer heels. One thing was common for everyone though – the cameras. What’s a concert without those cameras/iPads/phones ruining concerts nowadays, right?

Because I didn’t own a fancy smart camera phone, my sister then offered hers, thinking I would want to capture the moments of the event; I gladly said no.  Being a fan for years and the owner of a page for Phoenix, I had already seen tons of videos, photos, and livestreams of their concerts.  I had already become familiar with their setlist (for this tour at least), the versions and mashups, some of their LED backdrops, even with some of the things that they were going to say!  What I needed that night was to experience them LIVE – to dance, to listen, and sing along.  To be in the moment.  All those years, I had only seen them through a screen, and I didn’t want to watch them through another one.  Besides, there were hundreds of people there who were nearer the stage than I was and had cameras with better resolutions than mine; I decided I’d just rely on them.

I’ve waited so long there’ll be no decency, no!
It was almost 9:20pm when the lights were turned off and the sound that was similar to the beat of tribal percussion instrument floated in the air. Covered in the shadows, Phoenix casually went on stage and the crowd simply exploded with energy and ecstasy. Then, a buzzing of synths. The introduction of Entertainment, their first single off Phoenix’s latest album Bankrupt! signaled the start of Phoenixmania in Manila.

The East Asian keys of the song filled WTC and soon, Thomas Hedlund was banging the drums like a drunken monster.  A massive LED video wall projected a vibrant red background and dancing lights accompanied the six guys on stage.   This video wall and strobe lights that danced and flashed would accompany the succeeding songs all throughout the show.  These were definitely not something a person with photosensitive epilepsy would appreciate.  Otherwise, they were dazzling!

“Trying To Be Cool”

I was expecting to see some familiar backdrops that they usually used during their tour last year – the fountain at Versailles, The Hall of Mirrors, and even Everest, a metaphor for the band’s quest to conquer perfection in their music.  But none of them were present, instead Phoenix used a video of 1960s Parisian streets leading to the Arc de Triomphe de l’Étoile, the interior of Notre Dame Cathedral, ruins of – I’m assuming – some Roman pillars (when they performed Rome) and probably the most memorable of them all – Mayon Volcano.

When I saw Mayon Volcano being flashed on the screen during Chloroform, I thought, “What mountain is that?  Wait, its perfectly shaped cone looks very familiar!”  And then I asked my sister, “Mayon ba ‘yan??”  Although it was no Everest, I think it still reflected the band’s philosophy in music making, being Mayon a symbol of perfection.  It was nice to know that Phoenix tried to connect to the country that they were performing in.  It just made me wonder though if they flashed the photo of Mt Fuji when they recently played Osaka and Tokyo!

The lights and backgrounds were only a small component of the entire concert.  The meat of the concert was, of course, the setlist.  A big chunk of the setlist consisted of songs coming from Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix; in fact, 9 out of 10 songs were taken from WAP – Fences was the only one that wasn’t played.

Apart from their most popular songs, I looked forward to them playing the song that made me fall in love with them – If I Ever Feel Better.  I wanted to see these live too: Run Run Run, (I was impressed when I saw it performed live at Lollapalooza 2013.)  Don’t, Playground Love, Funky Squaredance (starting from part 2 onwards), and the full studio versions of Drakkar Noir and Countdown, but I knew that there was only an extremely slim chance that those last 5 songs would make it to the official setlist of this tour.

So imagine my surprise when they did a mash-up of If I Ever Feel Better and Funky Squaredance!  I think it would have been better of these two songs separately though and not in a medley.  (As with Funky Squaredance, it would have been great if they did Live! ThirtyDaysAgo version of the song. ) Nevertheless, I enjoyed them, along with the others: Long Distance Call, Consolation Prizes, S.O.S in Bel Air, The Real Thing, and Armistice.  But it was the performance of Sunskrupt! that completely made an impression on me.

Chloroform
I had seen Love Like A Sunset and Sunskrupt! played “live” but none of them gave me the same emotional pull when I saw it last January 21. I remember reading an article in 2009 about a Love Like a Sunset performance held somewhere in the US. I could clearly imagine the narration of the author that I got all teary-eyed just thinking about how breathtaking it must be to watch this instrumental being played.

 

When Phoenix played Sunskrupt! with all its visual accompaniments, I was just quiet the whole time, magnetized by the intensity of the moment.  When Thomas stood up to sing, and the melancholic guitars and steady drums of Love Like a Sunset part 2 entered, I suddenly remembered the magazine article.  And then I realized that the moment I longed to have was already happening.  I was in it, witnessing everything!  There was fulfillment, happiness, sadness, and nostalgia; the music carried me off to a place I had never been.  By the time Sunskrupt! ended, small pools of water had gathered in my eyes.  It was a magical moment.  Suddenly, I felt like one of the girls in the Chloroform video. 

Sunskrupt! may be the most memorable part for me but these were also special:

1 When Thomas exclaimed “Oh my God!” in reaction to the audience’s singing and loudness during Lisztomania. The whole show was actually loud.  I remember not hearing anything else during Entertainment (reprise) because the music was just blasting away my eardrums.

2 Thomas’ crowdsurfing.
I felt scared for him when I saw how the people reacted to his presence. I thought he was going to drown in the crowd! I felt terrible for him afterwards. Lamog!

manilaphoenix

3 The confetti blast

I read several days before the concert that a rain of confetti could be expected from a Phoenix concert, but I didn’t believe it because the only shows I had seen where it rained confetti were at Primavera Sound (they actually used fake money, not just plain confetti) and at the Aragon Ballroom. I didn’t think they would pull a stunt like that in Manila.  But surprise, surprise, they did!

True, True and everlasting, it didn’t last that long
The Phoenix concert was comparable to their albums; it was short. It might have contained 21 songs, but nine of them were done in a medley. I would have preferred to hear more from It’s Never Been Like That or Bankrupt! but I guess with Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix having more mass appeal, they probably decided to play more from it. Well, then they would just have to add more songs the next time they drop by the country!

I hope during their second visit, these things would also be taken into consideration by the next concert producers.

1 Remove the chairs!
Apart from them looking awkward, they also didn’t give people more room to move. Yes, having the chairs were convenient, especially since we had to wait for almost 1 ½ hours, but they were also an impediment to movement.

2 Follow the schedule. Please don’t make the audience wait for too long again.

3 Lower ticket price.
Many Phoenix fans may be sosyal but a lot aren’t, too.  A number of people were not able to watch the band because the tickets were expensive (roughly $126 for the VIP, and $87 for the Gold section), way higher than in other countries: Phoenix’s Scotland 2014 gig was only £17.50 (P1300) and one of their Australian shows this coming March only costs AUD95 (P3800)! I think it wouldn’t hurt if the concert producers would lower down the price even a bit.

4 If possible, ban iPads and other tablets with huge screens! 

Hook up with me. Meet me at the rally. backstage exit.
Even before the announcement of Phoenix’s concert in Manila, my gut feel already told me in the earlier part of 2013 that Phoenix were going to visit Manila in the earlier part of 2014, and that I would even be able to meet them. How the hell I would be able to meet them, I didn’t know. I just knew it was going to happen. So, when Karpos had a Meet&Greet contest last December, I didn’t hesitate to join. However, luck was not on my side and I lost… two times.

What I didn’t know was that my loss was actually a blessing in disguise, for in the end I would be able to meet, have photos taken and get their autographs (the photo of the Manila Wants Phoenix paper below was made possible with the gracious assistance of a Karpos representative).  I would no longer go into details but my own version of meet and greet happened about an hour after the concert.   Christian Mazzalai came back on stage, and he was the first member I was able to talk to – such a down-to-earth and friendly guy!  Walang ere!  He even hung out with the fans for about 15 or 20 minutes!  After my encounter with him, the others and I got to catch Deck, Branco, and for some, Thomas before they finally left WTC. 

I have some photos with them but I’d like to keep them private, but these I can share. 

from those Parisian boys with brotherly love to Manila ♥

from those Parisian boys with brotherly love to Manila ♥

 

The Real Thing
Almost a month after the concert, here am I still unable to absorb everything that had transpired. When I look back at photos and videos, I simply cannot believe that it happened. Was I really there? Everything was real yet unreal at the same time.

I might not have gotten extremely thrilled as I had wanted myself to be, but everytime I remember the details of the concert and my meeting with them, they never fail to paint a smile on my face and heart like Phoenix have always done to me all these years. And that is something you cannot fake.

 

Concert photos are courtesy of Phoenix, Kris Rocha, Karpos Multimedia, Jeeves de Veyra, Magic Liwanag,Carla Barretto, YouTube users easteleventhstreet (for the screen shots of Rome & Sunskrupt!), Del Robles (for the screen shots of If I Ever Feel Better + Funky Squaredance) and Filippo L’Astorina (for the Brixton Academy 2014 show).

Special thanks to Karpos Multimedia Inc. for bringing Phoenix to Manila and for facilitating Manila Wants Phoenix‘s special request, and a personal one as well.  

A Not So Ordinary Night*

It was an ordinary night when I got home from work last October 10.  It was a tiring day, and as a way to wind down, I decided to watch some videos of a band whose music had been inside my head the whole day that day – The Killers.  It’s been 2 weeks after their show here in Manila, but my post-concert high still hadn’t worn off!

I didn’t have any intention of opening any other tabs except for YouTube because I had lots of things to do that night, and I didn’t want to get too distracted. Eventually though, I decided to check my Facebook account since I was already logged on to the internet.  Might as well check it.  It wouldn’t take me long, anyway.

The usual posts were there – food, coffee shops, pets, babies, and a whole slew of useless information.  I switched to another account instead, wherein there I saw a startling post – there was a rumor that Phoenix were finally going to visit the Philippines! Suddenly, The Killers’ music sounded so distant, as if someone had turned the volume so low that I could no longer hear it.  It faded in the whirl that was beginning to form in my head.

I then paused the video, and searched the internet for some confirmation, but I could not find any. My heart was racing, and my mind was wondering – Where the hell did these people hear this rumor? And why am I not aware of it? I quickly contacted someone who might have the answer. This person works in the concert production industry, so I asked whether he knew anything about it. Luckily, he replied promptly and verified it. Mother of all surprises, it was not a rumor after all!

He then directed me to the source of the news. I headed over to the source’s website, and there it was – a rainbow and an announcement that something “cool” was coming our way.  How come I didn’t get this on my news feed?!?

At exactly 20:00, I refreshed the site.  And then, boom!

come here, karpos multimedia peeps, let me give you a big hug!

I couldn’t believe it! I let out a scream when I saw the poster. It was too good to be true! I couldn’t help staring at the photo. Tears of joy gathered around my eyes not only because of excitement, but also relief (and to a tiny small degree, accomplishment, I guess :D ).  I stayed there on the net, digging some other news that I could find and spreading it as well.

The internet was all abuzz – fans of the band were elated and threads of conversation spread like wild-fire.  However, since I still had some work to do that night, I forced myself to leave the noisy pockets of those social media sites to have some dinner first, so I could do the things I should do.  As soon as I closed them, all the clatter of the fans dissolved into the silent background of my house.  I was alone, and the world wherein I was just moments earlier could no longer penetrate outside my laptop.

I resumed listening to The Killers. This time, Spaceman played.

I ate my late dinner with an excited heart, mind filled with the Phoenix concert, and a head bobbing to the extremely bouncy tune of Spaceman, a song which is ironically about suicide.   Yes, it was a strange mix!

What I thought would be a productive night turned out to be the complete opposite.  And what I thought would be an ordinary night unexpectedly turned out to be not so ordinary after all.

For more details on the concert, visit Karpos Multimedia Inc.’s FB page and Official Website

p.s.  Thanks Karpos for bringing Phoenix to Manila.  And thank you for proving my gut feel correct!

 

I originally posted this entry on October 13, 2013 but for some reason, I felt that it still wasn’t its time to be seen, so I hid it almost a week after I had published it.  But now, I think it is time.  

After Yolanda: The International Community Responds to Philippines’ Call for Help

The Philippines is no stranger to natural disasters. Being an archipelagic country and a part of the Ring of Fire, the country has endured earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, lahar flows, landslides, flooding, crazy monsoon rains, and typhoons. Among these natural calamities, typhoons are the Philippines’ most frequent visitor. The country gets an average of 20-22 of them in one year. Some don’t make landfalls, while some are vicious and leave a trail of destruction and death behind – bitter souvenirs for the Filipinos to remember for a long time.

You can say that Filipinos are used to typhoons. We have suffered at their hands repeatedly. In fact, there have been a number of times when these merciless guests have made us drop to our knees and made us wonder if we’d ever be able to get back up again. But we did. Because there was no other choice but to stand up and move on.

Super Typhoon Yolanda's track

Super Typhoon Yolanda’s track

Very recently, however, one typhoon surpassed all the other typhoons that we’ve had before. Its international code name was Haiyan, the 24th typhoon to hit the country, and unfortunately, it’s not going to be the last one for the year. Known locally as Yolanda, this typhoon is said to be the greatest typhoon in the world that has ever made landfall in recorded history. It immediately entered the Philippine Area of Responsibility (PAR) at Storm Signal #4, the highest storm warning, on November 8 and completely left the PAR a couple of days after, leaving behind flattened buildings and houses, crushed telecommunication and transportation systems, and wrecked power grids. Yolanda has killed thousands and left hundreds of thousands more wounded, hungry, thirsty, and homeless. In total, it has affected millions of people. Visayas, the central part of the Philippines, which actually suffered a strong earthquake last October, has been utterly devastated.

infrared image of Yolanda's eye

infrared image of Yolanda’s eye c/o NASA

There are no words to describe how horrible this tragedy is. Everytime I listen to the news and see these reports and images of the aftermath, I am merely speechless. I CANNOT IMAGINE what the survivors are going through. I know the data, the facts, the figures, but they are overwhelming; my mind cannot comprehend the immensity of the destruction. It was “just a storm” and yet it looked like Visayas has been pounded by tsunamis. It is quite shocking. Seeing the survivors’ plight and hearing the people’s stories simply break my heart.

Many other hearts got broken, too not only here in the Philippines but also in other parts of the world. Many tragedies that have struck the Philippines have prompted other countries to offer assistance before, but I don’t think I have seen anything of this scale and magnitude. If there’s anything good to mention amidst this tremendous calamity, it would be that the help coming from the international community is equally so.

Below is the list of countries that have generously given their resources to help the victims of Super Typhoon Yolanda as of November 16, 2013.

(For the full document please view this Philippine Government Matrix. The document is updated often.)

The amount is indeed staggering! That list only documents the aid coming from governments and big international organizations; however, there are still numerous private organizations that are helping as well, whose assistance are yet to be officially recognized.  Countless ordinary citizens whose names will not even likely enter official public records anymore are pooling their donations and rendering their service to help people whom they don’t even know.

As a Filipina, I am deeply touched and grateful to know that the whole world is behind my country, that millions of people care. It’s amazing to see that many countries from different corners of the world have been mobilized for a single reason. A huge misfortune may be upon the Philippines right now, but the kindness and generosity shown by the world at least give us a glimmer of hope.

(credit goes to the owner of the image)

(credit goes to the owner of the image)

In a Facebook post by the Philippine Red Cross last week appealing for volunteers and donations, it included this line: “It takes a nation to rebuild a nation.” Clearly, the appeal primarily targeted the Filipinos. But now, looking at the amount of support other nations have given to the Philippines, it seems like sometimes, it would take a slew of nations to rebuild just one.

[TO BE CONTINUED]

Ways To Help the Victims of Super Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) [updated as of 11/12]

It takes a nation to rebuild a nation.

In light of the recent tragedy that devastated the Visayan Region of the Philippines this weekend due to Super Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan), here are some things that people can do to help and agencies to which they can go to donate and render their volunteer services.

I will add some more in the next few days.  I hope this helps…  I really do. – 11/11/13

*11.12.13*

Here are a couple of links that comprehensively list the various agencies, NGOs, (local and international) and media channels where you can forward your donations to.

1) wheninmanila.com

2) www.rappler.com

other important info:

*Note on the first photo:

if interested to volunteer for the philippine red cross, you’ll have to fill up this form first.  for more details, please go to their offial website.

*Note on the second photo:

If you are looking for a family or friend, use #TracingPH #RescuePH or fill up http://goo.gl/dAGNSi

Welfare Desks including RFL and tracing services are established in the affected areas. National Societies abroad that are approached by families without news of their loved ones can contact the PRC Social Services Department

Email: sos@redcross.org.ph, zenaida.beltejar@redcross.org.ph
Mobile: 09175328500, 09473844497
Landline: 5270000 loc. 126, 5270867

Twitter: @philredcross @justcallmelloyd @lynvgarcia
Email: lyn.garcia@redcross.org.ph, kenneth.dimalibot@redcross.org.ph, opcen@redcross.org.ph —

*Note on the third photo: 

For monetary donations, you may deposit them to:

Dakila – Philippine Collective for Modern Heroism, Inc.
Banco de Oro
Loyola Heights Berkeley Residences Branch
Savings Account No. 003570047800
Swift no. BNORPHMM

*Note on the fourth photo:  

https://www.facebook.com/tindogtacloban

.

and last but not the least, i’d also like to express my gratitude to all the countries that have expressed and given their sympathy and support to the philippines.  it’s great to see the world moving for a cause.  it’s just unfortunate that that cause has to be this tragedy.

anyway, i found this image floating around the web and i think it simply captures the philippines’ gratefulness and appreciation to the assistance being given by the entire international community.  we are deeply moved.  

thank you

(credit goes to the owner)

Mr. DJ, Can I Make a Request?

“Good, old-fashioned ways keep hearts sweet, heads sane, hands busy.”
- Louisa May Alcott -

“mr. dj, can i make a request / puede ba ‘yung love song ko / mr. dj, para sa ‘kin ito / sana ay ok sa’yo / hihintayin ko na patugtugin mo / thank you ulit sa’yo.”

Me:  Hi, Lambert!
DJ:   Hi. Who is this?
Me:  It’s Del.
DJ:   What can I do for you, Belle?
Me:  (Great! Someone got my name wrong again. What’s new?) Can I make a request?
DJ:   Yeah, sure. What is it?
Me:  Shot at the Night by The Killers.*
DJ:   Ok, you got it.

“Saying ‘Hi’ to Belle, who’s tuned in right now. Your song is coming up in a few minutes,” said the DJ I had talked to on the phone moments earlier.  True to his word, he put on the song that I had asked him to play.  The soft beats of the song’s intro gently floated in the air and brought delight to my ears.

I have actually listened to this song and have even seen its video dozens of times, but because I don’t get to hear it being played on the radio often, I want to support it and get it on the airwaves by requesting for it. I think it’s a very good song and it deserves to be heard.  Besides, nothing still beats hearing a nice song on the radio after a hard day’s work.

After playing the song, the DJ then encouraged other people to make requests either by:

1)   Posting on the radio station’s FB or Twitter page
2)   Calling him up

I could have easily made my request online, but I decided to choose the good old-fashioned way of calling up the radio station.  We may already be in the age of modern technology, but there’s still something fun in requesting for a song that would simply make your day through the telephone:

You dial the station’s number and wait.

A busy tone.

You dial again, and if luck is on your side, the DJ picks up the phone on the first ring and talks to you. You’re not on-air, but you feel shy and nervous, and you wonder how much more shy or nervous you would be if you were even put on-air for everyone to hear!

Why would anyone make song requests and even prefer to call up a radio station when one can easily listen to music through various apps and rape the play button of YouTube?  I don’t know about you, but I enjoy it, just like I like doing other “old-fashioned” things: writing on journals; sending letters or cards by post; preferring CDs to MP3s, paper books over e-books; listening to regular radio instead of internet radio, among many other things.

I don’t shun technology; in fact, I have blogs, I often use my e-mails, I have tons of MP3s, and I have listened to radio stations from other corners of the world, but I just find doing these and other things the “old-fashioned” style once in a while, appealing. They carry a more personal touch, more charm, compared to the distant approach of modern technology.  I embrace technology, just not too much.

Am I too sentimental?  Maybe.  Nostalgic?  Perhaps.  What I do know is that the old school in me just likes kicking the butt of modern technology every now and then.

 

 

* Yes, I know.  It’s been more than a month since The Killers Manila concert and I am still on a post-concert euphoria.  What can I do?  I don’t get over concerts easily!

 

For more music related posts, visit the edge of sound.

Don’t Do It

“Grrrr. Trying to finish lyrics. Sorry my album is taking forever,” posted Swedish singer-songwriter, Lykke Li on her Facebook account last September 22.  She then followed it with a quote from writer Charles Bukowski to justify her statement.

I read the quote and I found it applicable to my situation because at that time, I was also suffering from the inability to put down my thoughts on paper.  I will share this quote to you, my transient visitor, because you might benefit from its wisdom, and apply it not only on situations wherein you are unable to articulate your thoughts and emotions, but also on life in general.

Ponder on this:

” Don’t do it. unless it comes out of your soul like a rocket, unless being still would drive you to madness or suicide or murder, don’t do it. unless the sun inside you is burning your gut, don’t do it. when it is truly time, and if you have been chosen, it will do it by itself and it will keep on doing it until you die or it dies in you. there is no other way. and there never was. “

- Charles Bukowski

Acquaintanceship and Rediscoveries

Despite my attempts to get back to writing, here I am unable to articulate my thoughts still. My ideas for the list of topics I have wanted to tackle for months now remain unreleased and merely continue to swirl with my memories and bits of my brain. That’s it! I wave my white flag! I am just going to let my thoughts be for a little while if that’s what they want. I’ll let them acquaint themselves with other concepts and words they haven’t met yet. Maybe if I stop bugging them to come out, they will be richer. I just hope they decide to hang out with me again soon afterwards.

While waiting for new circles of friendships to be born, I’ve decided to set aside that stupid topic list for a while and simply force myself to write about something entirely unplanned instead (no matter how dry it might turn out): something about my life. There isn’t anything going on in my life right now that is as spectacular as fireworks. The only thing that is within the vicinity of “slightly interesting” is my journey through old pieces of music.

I’ve been listening to a lot of Phoenix since Bankrupt! came out, and since I also manage an FB page for the band, I research many things about them to post on the page. I see and read about them almost every day and I’ve already reached my saturation level! I need to take a break from them. So I browsed through my humble music collection and chose to play music I rarely play nowadays. I thought it would be a good way to not only rinse Phoenix off my palette but also get some inspiration for writing.

Some of the albums I’ve dusted off are:

Two other albums join the list and they are:

which are actually enjoying more attention than the others. Why the special treatment? Because I want to absorb their music before they visit the Philippines exactly 3 days from now!

I am not a big fan of the band; in fact, Hot Fuss and Sam’s Town are not even mine. They’re my sister’s. I know the music in these two albums even before now, and I am familiar with all of their singles and a few music videos they’ve released, but I don’t know anything about the band itself except for Brandon Flowers! I like their music and I’ve danced along to it, but my interest in them is obviously not enough to say that I am a loyal follower. That is why when I learned that they’re coming back to Manila* a couple of months ago to finally perform here, I didn’t get all too hyped up.

I did have the desire to see them because – as ridiculous as this may sound – I wanted to see their stage design! I remember watching their live performance of Human on MTV Europe Awards 2008 and I was greatly amused with it. I told myself that if ever The Killers visited Manila, I would watch them because of their music, and to a slightly bigger degree, their set design. That silly reason, however, dramatically changed when I revisited the streets of Sam’s Town and Hot Fuss.

Hearing those two albums again after a long time awakened me. How come I never appreciated their music this much before?? [This is one question I always ask whenever I rediscover music, but I know I shouldn’t anymore because I do know the answer **] Now, I am able to hear the finer details of their sound and carefully dissect their lyrics. Listening to the band’s old music now makes me appreciate their latest material even more. Not to mention, it makes me extremely excited about the concert. I no longer care about what their stage & light design would be so long as I experience their music live. I have actually become more excited than I had expected myself to be! I am not that familiar with their non-single tracks, but I still have a few more days until I fully digest them especially the one on Battle Born… Which reminds me, shit, I still don’t have my tickets yet!!!***

My goal to unblock my mind has led me to a quick journey down musical past. I am not sure if this “forced writing” would be effective in easing the thoughts out of my brain, but it’s a (re)start. Listening to those albums above has also given me ideas on what to write about in the future and even how to write them. The music of the “oldies,” plus the upcoming concert of The Killers I hope will create tiny sparks of inspiration, which will turn into decent fires.

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* The Killers had a scheduled concert in Manila in 2010 but cancelled it with the rest of the other Asian dates due to some “unforeseen circumstances.” Later on, they went on a hiatus. It’s only now that I’ve learned that the reason behind this cancellation was the death of Brandon Flowers’ mother.

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*** I joined a contest to win a pair of VIP tickets and the radio station has not announced the winners yet! The concert’s 3 days away! I need to know if I won or not now so I could scramble to buy one if I didn’t! Ugh. The wait is KILLing me.

This entry is also posted on my music blog, The Edge of Sound.  Visit EOS to read more music related articles.

P.S.  I’ve written The Killers concert review in The Edge of Sound.  Check it out!  And, for those who may be wondering if I won the tickets… Unfortunately, I didn’t win the radio contest so I had to buy them.  They were well worth it, anyway! ~ Sept. 29, 2013