Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Phoenix Live in Manila

Words by Kix Suarez
Photos by Kris Rocha

A day before the concert itself, the press were invited to meet Phoenix. The room was giddy, almost like how a first timer would feel at a soiree. It was two things, really. Either they were excited or stricken in disbelief that in a few minutes, they’d be face to face with the band that made ‘Oh my God, you know this song too???’ a staple when trying to hit on an indie dude or dudette and Phoenix comes blasting off the speakers at a club. (Most probably it was this weird mix of both.)

Fresh from the airport with only a few minutes to get settled in to their suite, they come down to be greeted by shrieks, applause, giggles and camera flicks. As soon as they took their seats, the band from Versailles started answering the barrage of questions thrown at them by the press (but first and foremost, fans of the band.)

In the midst of the press con, a young fellow approached the microphone and asked the band something that was of interest to everyone in the room. ‘Why only now?’ he asks. Why only now, did you, the guys of Phoenix, decide to come to Manila? The room quiets down as Thomas Mars clears his throat and simply replies with a reasoning that was reminiscent of his wife, Sofia Coppola’s brand of dramatic brevity.  ‘Because we’ve been practicing (for more than 12 years) for this show.’

The room explodes in to giggles, trying to keep cool but in truth dying inside to see them play already the following day.

Concert day arrives and as early as 4:30-5:00 in the afternoon, lines started to form at the World Trade Center. It was a convention of Oxfords, Slim Cut jeans and Doc Marten boots and brogues for men while the girls rocked their leather jackets (thanks to the cool climate), flower crowns or let down their rainbow colored hair.

Everyone was wondering who would open for the band but no one was mentioned in any of the promotional material posted and shared online, on tv or radio. It was just the band and that was it. (No need for small talk, let’s just get down to business.) As everyone settled in to their places, a drink in hand or their go-Pros ready for some crazy documentation, the lights dim and as they’d say Phoenix arises from the ashes.

Thomas Mars, Deck D’Arcy, Christian Mazzalai, and Laurent Brancowitz take the stage to a sold out crowd screaming and chanting their band’s name. Phoenix proceeds to open with their most current single Entertainment and the dancing commences.

It was not a rave but it should have well been. Even the band couldn’t believe their eyes. Manila World Trade Center was turned in to a disco as lovers and friends sang and jived to every word of Phoenix’s most popular hits such as Lasso, Lisztomania, Long Distance Call, Too Young, Girlfriend, The Real Thing, Trying to Be Cool, Drakkar Noir, Chloroform, Run Run Run, Sunskrupt! Consolation Prizes, Love Like a Sunset, SOS in Bel Air, Armistice and 1901!

Thomas Mars then screams, ‘Manila, do you want more?’ You bet they did. He asks one more time, ‘Manila, do you want more?’ In unison, the crowd screams as if they were about to meet their Maker. Yes. They wanted more.

It ends though, like all good things do but Manila didn’t agree. They didn’t wait since ‘99 for just that. The crowd held their ground and refused to leave. Manila wanted more. It’s been a long time coming and Phoenix was more than happy to get back on stage to give Manila one of the most memorable encores in ages.

They start out quietly with Countdown, getting off the stage and nearer to their fans. As the mood was set, they then perform If I Ever Feel Better. The crowd bops their head and sings as Rome comes on. Finally, as the French would say The Pièce de résistance. Thomas Mars, crowd surfs the whole entire World Trade Center to the song they opened with, Entertainment.

Now it all makes sense. The question raised a day before the concert, ‘Why only now?’ was answered – Not with words but with a concert Manila won’t be forgetting anytime soon.

This wouldn’t have been possible if it weren’t for the awesome folks at Karpos. Karpos Multimedia Inc. has definitely set the bar high for concerts this year. We definitely can’t wait for this year’s Wanderland Festival.

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