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‘Nostalgic, but unexpected’ finish for Eraserheads’ reunion concert

- Nathalie Tomada -

The legendary Eraserheads, touted as the biggest rock icons of the 90s, finally reunited for a one-night-only concert last Saturday, August 30. I wasn’t at the concert, but according to news reports, the band opened with a bang with songs “Alapaap” and “Ligaya” as well as matching fireworks.

But by past 11pm, the online community was already abuzz with personal accounts of how the highly-anticipated concert in Taguig in Metro Manila was cut short because its lead singer-songwriter Ely Buendia was rushed to the hospital due to “overfatigue.” 

They were supposed to perform 30 songs, but ended up delivering 15 numbers only (with nary a spiel). During the last song of the first set, “Lightyears,” Ely was described as sitting already on stage, then seemed to wobble as he took off his guitar for a short break before the next set. After a supposed 20 minute lull (that stretched to 30 then 45 minutes), a sister of the lead vocalist emerged on stage—joined by the rest of the band members, Raimund Marasigan, Buddy Zabala and Marcus Adoro—to regretfully announced its abrupt finish due to Ely’s condition that was caused by “a lot of emotional stress lately.” It was reported that Ely’s mother died from cardiac arrest just two days ago.

A representative from MTV Philippines, the concert’s new organizer (after the tobacco company Philip Morris reportedly backed out due to legal concerns), also said in an online interview that Ely suffered a “slight attack.” As of presstime, the singer is reportedly in stable condition at the Philippine Heart Center.

I checked out some online video snippets of the concert and for anybody, who has found resonance in their songs while facing teen life or young adulthood in the 90’s, you can’t help but feel senti (“sentimental”) over the reunion. Emotions, as expected, ran high, as many were caught wiping away tears, while the rest were singing their hearts out. According to crowd estimates on Pep.ph, the audience numbered to over 60,000 people considering that the selling of tickets started only last Thursday. It was poised to become the most successful concert experience headlined by a Filipino artist in years.

But, we all know/read/heard what happened next. One blogger noted that the concert ended the way the band did nearly a decade ago—unceremoniously. While another said that all the issues it courted prior to its happening, particularly the sponsorship problems, should have been taken as “bad omens” that signaled it wasn’t going to turn out well.

Upon the announcement, there were a few callous ones who shouted for refund and jeered (one blogger pointed out that these were “emo-looking” attendees who were probably too young to get the meaning of this reunion concert). But many reportedly lingered long before silently making their way out of the venue. It might have ended on a sad and unexpected note, but in the spirit of reunion, all was not lost. After all, even for a short time, the Eraserheads, fondly called E-heads, gave their fans that long-awaited chance to relive many memories that struck a chord with the iconic band’s songs.

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