So, it's been more than a week now.
The coolest day of my life, that is. One week has already passed!
See, I've always been a big fan of Bamboo. This goes all the way back to '96, when I first heard "Kisapmata" on the radio. Up until that point, I never really cared much for Pinoy music. Maybe it was my age or something, but amazingly, Ace Of Base simply appealed to me more. Yeah...
But all that changed once I heard Rivermaya's "Kisapmata". Being exposed to Pinoy music was like opening a gift that had been sitting on the shelf for months. The next thing I know, I was hooked on music by Side A, the Eraserheads, South Border, and the like.
Above all that, though, I remained a big fan of Rivermaya.
Back in the age of cassette tapes, the only way to acquire these tapes was to physically hunt them down and purchase them from the store. This might not seem all that hard, but when the nearest record store from your house is four (!!!) freakin' hours away, you really don't have much of a choice. So, really, since I was only maybe 9 or 10 at that time, I could only go out when my parents did. And at that period, they had just moved to Davao, so there was no way for me to buy the albums. Looking back now, I truly pity myself... It got to the point where I resorted to imagining what the album cover looks like! Countless days where spent on me waiting for the songs to be played on the radio, then pressing "Record" as soon as the DJ stopped yapping. Yeah, it was pretty desperate, but without MP3s and the internet, I didn't really have a choice. So, basically, I had a collection of songs that either: (a) had some random dude introducing the song or (b) started during the 2nd line of the song. Nice.
So, really, it wasn't really surprising that when I finally arrived in the "land of no traffic", Davao City, I immediately went to the mall and purchased their first two albums. Great. Now whenever we would accompany my dad on one of his trips to Gen. Santos or Cagayan de Oro, we would blast Rivermaya non-stop! Especially fun considering it was a noisy (at that time) album and the pick-up we rode on was full of 40 and 50-somethings. Good times, indeed.
And all this brings me back to why I wrote this piece.
When he made his comeback, I was really unsure of how I felt about his music. I never really liked "inspirational" songs. To me, they always sounded too "preachy". So when they released "Noypi", I was probably the Filipino who felt unmoved by the cut. And man, when I think about it now, I feel so f*cking stupid. Not feeling probably the only great modern song that empowers and applauds the filipino spirit? Shit. I really deserved all the stupidity I felt, and then some.
Eventually though, with Kricket's insistence that I appreciate the new Bamboo's music, I finally did. The more I listened, the more I felt the emotions. It was nothing like how I saw it before. This was like looking at an object from a fresh perspective, with a new renewed sense of purpose. Merely hearing the music didn't do it justice. It was more than that, and thankfully, I understood it now. And right then and there, it was over. I was once again hooked on the band. Only now, it was more than just music to me. Now it was art.
So imagine my surprise when Kricket told me she could score free tickets to Bamboo's concert! Through some weird way, she knew the drummer (Vic Mercado) and a friend of Nathan Azarcon (the bassist).
And when the band hit Davao for a small concert way back in February, we were there. In another pleasant surprise worthy of lots of hugs and kisses (YEAH!), Kricket somehow managed to have us stay at Nathan and Vic's hotel room before their concert.
A quick refresher, just to clarify the magnitude of this event...
So, really, do I need to even describe how I felt when I met a member of the Philippines' greatest band EVER!?!? But it doesn't even end there. Meeting them in person is icing on the cake already, but talking to them and hanging out with them for hours? That's chocolate-syrup-on-the-icing-on-the-cake-sprinkled-with-macadamia-nuts good. Crazy.
So, by the end of the night, me and Kreng managed to score some autographs, we managed to walk to the stage with Nathan and rocked out to every Bamboo hit. Perfect.
Like all good things, though, there must be an encore. And on August 16, 2008, the encore occurred.
It was unfortunate that Kricket couldn't bless me with her presence then, but it was a good night all the same. This one, I have to give it up to Buddy once more.
Similar to the last time, I was once again granted backstage passes (pinch me). Seeing how the band prepared was crazy, and at that time I felt like the dude from Almost Famous, awestruck yet trying to act all cool.
So, with a glass of J&B in my hand (thanks, Bud!), we lost ourselves in the music once more. Don't think I exaggerate, because let's face it, every one of us has done this before. And it feels so gooood.
Honestly, by then, I was waiting for the "catch". There was just too much good happening that I half-expected something out of the blue to bring me back to reality. Maybe I spill a drink on my jacket, or I unexpectedly stumble while jumping... Anything.
But really, it was as if everybody knew it was my birthday and they were helping me celebrate it. As if the free tix aren't enough, I was invited to hang out with Nathan and Ira Cruz after the gig. Damn. So yeah, I guess you could say I PARTIED WITH ROCK STARS!!! It was great chillin' with these guys, which were only made better since they were all so down-to-earth and natural. Absolutely no posturing from these dudes.
After a few more drinks and numerous photo requests, it was time to call it a night. My head was throbbing, my body was dead-tired, and I had to wake up early the next day, but I wouldn't have it any other way. Stuff like this only happens once (or twice, in my case) in a lifetime, and you just have to go all-out.
A week later, I still can't get over this. The craziness that occurred is still fresh in my mind, clear as crystal. On my way to work, I still blast "Probinsyana" full volume, non-stop. My voice is still hoarse, the result of shouting along to the songs still being felt. I still tell these tales to anyone who shows even a faint hint of interest. And despite this... No, scratch that... Because of it, I feel good.
I FEEL F*CKING GOOD.