Saturday, June 2

The Grove at Anaheim

When i was still in the Philippines i always assumed i would spend a great deal of my time going to Big concerts of my favorite bands once we moved to the US. It seemed like a lot of fun to do, at least basing on what i have seen on MTV anyway. But once i attended and got a taste of that stadium-filled Metallica show in Manila in the summer of 92, although it was an awesome experience, i knew then that i was not the concert-going type of guy. Well, at least not to the ultra-popular bands that herd-in the crowds in the thousands. It's just a little too busy for me i guess. I like a lot of these bands but apparently not enough to be subjected to such dreadful concert conditions. I may convince myself to wait around for a couple of hours for an act like Billy Joel or The Clash in a relatively small venue, but i doubt i would ever walk the grounds of another stadium again...

Last Friday i had a chance to attend a Filipino concert at the Grove in Anaheim with a long time Friend. This band, although highly acclaimed and a future hall of fame, is not typically an act i would bother going out to see (even though i own a couple of their albums), but with the promise of a free entry and excellent seats, i couldn't find a good reason to pass. I'll spare you the long and stupefying story behind the acquisition of the tickets to this show but let me just say-- they were the front and center type of seats. IF it were a pair of Laker Tickers at the Staples Center, it's basically Jack Nicholson's seat and the one next to it... Anyway it seemed like the show attracted the who's who of the Orange County Filipino community, at least according to my good friend and her friends... I almost felt embarrassed though walking to our spot because it felt like all eyes were on us begrudging our good fortune. I mean how could they not, they looked like they spent a great deal of time sprucing up for the show only to sit several rows behind me in my carpenter clothes... Who the hell wears sports coats and dresses at concerts anyway? (Stupid Filipinos i swear...)

Fashion faux pas' aside, the show i must say was quite, i wanna say, at some levels, confusing... This particular band i actually saw in a small venue back in the Philippines before they became really famous, so i sort of knew what to expect. What i didn't expect (although somehow an accepted practice in the Filipino Music Industry) is the collaboration between the opening act and the mainstay. Somehow they managed to interpolate three separate medleys throughout the show that was a complete waste of time. I can't really think of a good reason why a band like 'Side A' who has been around for over two decades and posses a multitude of hits, would feel the need to sing American songs seemingly as fillers. You see i have their "Best of" double CD that contains over 4 hours of 30, count them, THIRTY Big Hits that we in the audience would have rather liked to hear than stuff like 'We are the Champions', 'Amazing', and 'Borderline'. I guess i wasn't the only that disliked the English songs because a guy a several rows to my left was Heckling the band, Demanding to hear OPM (original Filipino music). I joined in his protest when the Band whipped out "Bohemian Rhapsody" which they completely butchered (at least vocally), though i think my heckling dulled in Comparison to his, he was kinda shameless lol. I understand and appreciate that American Music is a trendy thing to do in the Philippines and is much a part of Pop Culture as American TV, but we tend to think a little differently here in the US. Filipinos here are not so susceptible to Filipino Bands emulating legendary American acts. We wouldn't expect to see a band like "Side A" perform Michael Jackson's "Thriller" (and they did, God that was annoying) because as Filipinos living in the United States, we long for Filipino music and we expect our own acts to sing, well, our own kind of music.

My friend who sort of lives for Filipino concerts even quipped that the show felt sort of Karaoke-ishh. I would have to agree with her on this one, I mean who wants to watch a Filipino Band sing Madonna? Famous or not, who cares its mind-numbingly stupid! Moreover aren't bands that perform both original and cover-songs have some kind of a preliminary meeting to discuss and perhaps vote on a list of songs to perform on a given tour? I wonder how they came up with such a star-studded list? What ingenuity!!! One thing that immediately struck me as peculiar about this particular list of songs is that we have come to know most of them by heart because of their commercial success. Which Really begs the question; why them? I guess some dimwit member of the group came up with the "Thriller" idea and somehow managed to convince the rest of the group that it was a good idea. Like we haven't heard them enough on Radio and TV... "Yes, we believe the folks in Los Angeles are dying to hear us perform a Michael Jackson song"... Try to imagine a fobbish "heee heeee". Come on!!!

I wouldn't say the show was a total mess because you can presume most of the folks in the Audience are probably not as critical as i am. Or at least would care less about their choice of songs. I think to most of them the show was a great success, whereas I expected something different. I thought i would see 'Side A' perform many of what we consider as Filipino Timeless Classics. Instead what i got was a concoction of American covers and original Filipino songs that left a bad taste in my mouth.


At 9:27 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

funny stuff! this would be equivalent to Shakira, a horrible singer by the way, going to the Phillippines and half her song list consists of the PI national anthem, songs about ginataan, songs about longaniza, and songs about rice. I'd like to see her shake her hips out of that one. What the hell was the band thinking?!?!

the missing kpt player

At 10:03 AM, Blogger Marc Gabay said...

Indeed brother, indeed...


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