concerts 2015

Once upon a time in Philippines

Walk the Moon (Live in Manila, August 2015)

Walk the Moon (Live in Manila, August 2015)

Diving deep, in-heads first Walk the Moon – I could go on and on talking about how much I love this band, I could sing you their songs and add my own choreography too, in fact I could come up with a mini-thesis on how much this band has affected me. If you know me,  my blogs usually talk about the artists I love and he concerts I go to – and this is not an exception, in fact they’re actually one of the big reasons why I am encouraged to blog. When I dive in deep for an artist, I usually come up with a concert review mixed with my own personal inputs (which is a melting pot of my feelings and tears) and I am so excited to share what happened when Walk the Moon stopped by my country for a concert tour. !!! Warning !!! This is an incredibly long post so if you’re sticking around until the last word then down it with a good drink and a Spotify playlist. I’ve known the band since Anna Sun and from that first song and first music video I knew that I fell in love with this guy leading a synchronized dance number with a group of normal people turned dancers. From there, I knew I was in deep for this band. I have followed them for 3 years – trying to make disciples out of indie music lovers and at the same time trying to converse with the band in different social media sites. Extra Thank You to ate Charm for introducing this band to me. I will forever be grateful. Since then, I have been tweeting Nic Petricca. Something clicked in me and I tweeted him about being the BAWS and apparently that became our code in Twitter. I am humbled and still see myself in shock whenever I get a reply from him because amongst all of the artists I follow, he’s the one who always surprises me with a reply when I least expect it. The tweets went way back from 2012 to the present and he has never changed despite his following increasing from 13k to 37k.

BAWS!

BAWS!

Sometime around those birth years, I also found my way to this global group where fans all over the world – stretching from Portugal, Brazil, Japan, USA and Germany – shared their love for the band. What’s so nice about being part of the group is the interaction that happens amongs the people – everybody feels like family. The global community of fans is tightly knitted, where even the moms of the boys closely interact with us fans. It’s really a big deal for fans to feel appreciated and somewhat closer to the artist that they love and the fact that we see these ultra-cool #WalktheMoms do their best to reach out and talk to the fans is a huge leap in the whole fandom. Hearing everyone’s stories always made me wonder what would a real Walk the Moon show feel like, it made me anticipate sharing my own story someday. I was captured heart and soul. But during those years, the band was only touring the US so it was all but a “one day soon” thought.

One day, you said. :)

One day, you said. 🙂

Then here comes the new album with the hit single, Shut up and Dance. I felt it in my heart (and in my hips) that this is it. This is the start of a bigger Walk the Moon. Easily, SUAD broke the music scene. I was really excited to see so many people talk about it, stream it on Spotify and break into booty shakes whenever the song goes on air. The single was followed by a phenomenal second-album, Talking is hard. Check out my album blog post about Talking is hard.

Shut up and Dance single art

Shut up and Dance single art

And to clear the air, I’m not judging you if you loved them during Shut up and dance. I know most people are annoyed when they know that people only know SUAD and pretend to fan girl like crazy but I fairly think it’s also annoying to claim greater love for the band just because you liked Anna Sun or The Liftaway first. I guess when you’re a fan – it doesn’t matter what era you took part in supporting the band, it’s a matter of sharing and being one in your goal of highlighting the success of the band.  Back to where I was – It’s so heart-warming to see Walk the Moon now gracing different shows in the US, getting a VMA nomination (Let’s pray they win it because what could top the SUAD music video, really?), getting on stage with Taylor Swift, doing a fantastic sold-out gig at RedRocks and so many more (I am claiming it) in the future. All these success grow with their hearts and remaining as sincere, as spirited and as humble as they are. So what’s not to love?

Walk the Moon with Taylor Swift (From JustJared)

Walk the Moon with Taylor Swift (From JustJared)

Early on this year, I remember seeing a tweet from ms RP (the head chief of MMI Live) about Shut Up and Dance and so I immediately pounced on with a reply saying how I wish to see the band Live soon and was greeted (shocked, fell on the floor, flailing) with a reply that I will see them soon. How do you cope after seeing that tweet? A couple of months after, MMI announced that they will be bringing Walk the Moon in Manila for a free show — not just for one show but for 5 shows.

Thank you, MMI Live!

Thank you, MMI Live!

The Ayala Malls announced the series of shows for August 19-20 covering UP Town center, Trinoma, Market Market and Glorietta and a week after announced an additional show for the Alabang Town Center for August 18. I am really thankful to Ayala for always bringing in quality artists and listening to their customers. I will always be a loyal Ayala mall goer, plus huge brownie points to me for being an Amore card holder because it gives me access to VIP concert tickets and thanks to this, I was able to score me and my friends some good spots (BARICCADE HAHA) at both Trinoma and Glorietta.

Walk the Moon Live at The Ayala Malls (Aug 18-20)

Walk the Moon Live at The Ayala Malls (Aug 18-20)

How do you prepare a heart ready to burst into pieces?

For Walk the Moon, I filed a 3-day leave at work. To make it clear, I love my work and what I do at work. In fact, I was a little sad that I missed 1 big event for that week but I had to choose Walk the Moon because this was what I have been waiting for 3 years. Come August 17, the day before, I was already restless. Working in Makati and knowing that the band would probably stay in the same area, I was extra panicky whilst working. Picture that I’m seated at the window where I can see the possible hotels the band would stay. I later on learned that the boys arrived late night August 17 and dined at a Filipino restaurant across their hotel where Nic fancied Adobo and Kevin fancied Sinigang. Also, let’s not forget that fact the Eli may or may not have devoured a crispy pata with San Miguel Super Dry.

Totes cool that Eli is enjoying the local delicacies (@Brosemaiman)

Totes cool that Eli is enjoying the local delicacies (@Brosemaiman)

I’m feeling extra lucky.. make it super-kaduper very lucky.

August 18, our team was invited by the PR of the whole tour to attend the Press conference. I honestly did not expect to get invited. I am so thankful to Ayala malls and to the PR team of WTM Live in Manila for inviting and valuing us as fans, as a street-team and for giving us the chance to join and attend the media conference. I will always have a special place in my heart for the persona of a Niche.

The winning tweet! (LOL)

The winning tweet! (LOL)

An hour before the press conference, we were challenged to tweet our questions for the band and also post a picture of ourselves on how excited we were for Walk the Moon. Being the eager attendee that I am, I tweeted the above picture of myself over Twitter and won myself a P1,000 EGC from Ayala (yeyyy!) I mean look – I got exclusive invites, I get to see my favorite band and I win myself some GC? Do I really deserve this, universe? Thank you! When the press conference started, I was bleeding inside – my heart was swelling with so much happiness upon seeing Eli, Kevin, Nic and Sean live and in here, my country, my homeland – breathing the same air as I. As usual, I was too dumbfounded to take any pictures so I left all the photo taking to my friend, LG.

Embrace your weirdness, Walk the Moon 2015 WTM Presscon photo by @yujerion

Embrace your weirdness, Walk the Moon 2015
WTM Presscon photo by @yujerion

*listens intently to Nic and Eli* WTM Presscon photo by @yujerion

*listens intently to Nic and Eli*
WTM Presscon photo by @yujerion

The PR team asked us for Q’s and unexpectedly I heard my name being called as my question was read on stage. Aside from reading it loud, they also flashed a screen-cap of my tweet and flashed it on the screen. Now, all 4 boys turned their back – Nic immediately recognized my twitter handle and said out loud (in front of everyone) “Oh I know her, she’s my friend on Twitter.. She’s the Baws” and that’s when I blacked out (inside!) Click on the 10:48 mark on the presscon video to check it out. My question went “What is your signature @Walkthemoonband dance move?” and there the magic happened. I gave my question a lot of thought before tweeting it because I’d like to deter from the usual Q’s asked by the press and I wanted to make something out of it. Alas, I made Eli, Kevin and Nic do a dance demo that were all priceless

Another winning tweet! This was the question flashed on the screen.

Another winning tweet! This was the question flashed on the screen.

Kevin did a sample of the Stanky Leg.

Eli did a show stopping  Dad Dance.

Nic did a demo of his “Subtle dance” move as seen on the bridge of the Shut up and dance music video.

And Sean was saved from the demo! *whew!*

And Eli will work this body and Kevin will burn the flame ????? WTM Presscon photo by @yujerion

And Eli will work this body and Kevin will burn the flame ?????
WTM Presscon photo by @yujerion

Walk the moon was so animated in answering questions from the press, exchanging quick witted answers with the host of the day that you honestly don’t think they are stars in themselves. They were simple human beings – grounded and true to what they say and that’s what make them stand out. Thank you so much to Ayala Malls for the invite to attend this one-of-a kind experience!

Hi Guys!

Hi Guys!

But wait, Nic just called me his friend? How do you move on from that? Watch the whole Presscon video here. Dance is at the 12:00 mark. Or you can watch it below:

I thought that it would end there but because the universe was extra good to me that day (maybe it was trying to counsel me for taking a 3 day leave) we were invited to join the round table interview. I was too stunned when I was invited so basically I was unprepared to ask a question. When it was my turn, all I could do was stare at Nic’s eyes and ask him “Do you have a pre-show ritual?” of course, I knew the answer to this but if it cost me an eye contact then it was worth it. I don’t think he recognized me from there so I knew I had to make a move. When we were dismissed, all those with me in the roundtable went to Nic and Kevin and I to Eli. I talked to Eli about his killer smile and we took a selfie! (Sorry, LG, this is for you) and when everybody went out I had to rush to Nic and it happened akin to this:

Grace: *taps Nic on the shoulder* Hi I’m Grace from..

Nic: OHMYGOD, GRACEY-OH!

Grace: YES!! It’s me but.. *Nic hugs me and I cried so many tears inside of me*

Grace: *while still hugging* Nic…it’s Graceyco, CO is my surname

Nic: Oh, wow! It’s so nice to finally meet you.

Then enter Kevin who hears my username and approaches me (probably blaming me for his need to demo his signature dance move) and hugs me and talks about “Wow, Graceyco in the flesh..”. I was like, Kevin I love you, I really do but this is my first meeting with Nic and so off I go back to Nic to do a little more chit-chat and had to say goodbye because they were rushing off to go to the Alabang Town Center show.

I DEDICATE THIS PICTURE TO LG OREA WHO IS THE MAIN MAN OF ELI MAIMAN

I DEDICATE THIS PICTURE TO LG OREA WHO IS THE MAIN MAN OF ELI MAIMAN

We were also about to leave the hotel and were waiting at the elevator lobby when all 4 boys also were about to leave. TY UNIVERSE, you are so good to me once more. They were surrounded by their bouncers so I had to lay it low and act all sophisticated. I said goodbye and good luck to all of them and just as when the elevator door was about to close, Nic asked me “Are you going to the show later?” I wanted to say yes but that would be lying hahaha so I answered him no and promised that tomorrow and the next day, I promise. And then it came clear to me that wow, he actually asked me if I was going to their show later. *internal dying* Later on that night, I tweeted all three boys who did the dance demo and easily fell off my chair when a reply from Nic came in. Wow, he really called me his friend!

*music up* You just call out my name...*music out*

*music up* You just call out my name…*music out*

August 19 was scheduled for the UP town center and Trinoma show and I attended the latter. Thank you again to Ayala malls for my VIP pass because I’m an Amore card holder (yey!) I opted to go early to prepare some things and meet up with the local fan group. Me, Lg and Roselle took our queue in first so we could secure our barricade spots and then later on took turns to facilitate the face painting amongst fans. It was so fun to see us Filipino fans bring in the tradition of Walk the Moon from the United states to here in Manila. Most people in line were game to have their faces painted by fellow fans. The energy was just electric (Says this tweet from Ayala Malls starring my big face) and I knew then that every heart, mind and soul was ready for the show.

The facepaint lives on - breaking it down Pinoy style!

The facepaint lives on – breaking it down Pinoy style!

 

Team Trinoma, put your hearts up!

Team Trinoma, put your hearts up!

 

Team Barricade with Lg, Roselle and ate of Roselle

Team Barricade with Lg, Roselle and ate of Roselle

At exactly 7:30pm, the show started with an intro from Lion King- Circle of Life. One by one all 4 of them came out and opened the show with Anna Sun. Hearing your favorite band for the first time, live, in front of you singing out their songs unravels a whole new unexplainable emotion in you. Nothing can ever topple seeing your favorite band live the first time — comparing Youtube videos, fancams and stories from people to what you actually see and hear in real life? Magical. You know how spontaneous, funny, real and honest the band is in social media? That’s reflects what they are on stage. They possess a raw energy so all-consuming that you find yourself immersed and dancing your heart out to every beat. You feel their sincerity in belting out every track, giving all that they are, letting you live their music in real life, tete-a-tete.

Now can I talk about all 4 of them while on stage?

Sean, where do I start? Is it with his mad cymbal skills or his precision and accuracy he hits a note? Maybe both because Sean is a true class in himself. I often wonder where he gets all his energy to rock out every show and at the same time take time to film a performance. All his ninja moves, we will never know. Mysterious and downright showered with pure talent.

Sean Waugaman photo by @yujerion (LG Orea)

Sean Waugaman photo by @yujerion (LG Orea)

Can I just say Eli is the most enthusiastic member I have ever encountered? The way he digests every song with his awesome guitar skills matched by his killer smile adds a whole layer of texture to the show. He rocks out ever strum paired with the movement of his lips that only he can carry. Plus he’s that one member who makes sure to make eye contact to every fan in the crowd.

Eli Maiman, Photo by @yujerion (LG Orea)

Eli Maiman, Photo by @yujerion (LG Orea)

Kevin, the darling of the crowd, sizzles with his tantalizing bass and sultry dance moves that aims to woo at all the lovers (or those who are in love with him) in the crowd. From what I have observed, 80% of the fan signs were directed to Kevin – some are hate messages which is actually a love message because the whole fandom is at a mission to fight Kevin and its beautiful, trust me.

Kevin Ray photo by @yujerion (Lg Orea)

Kevin Ray photo by @yujerion (Lg Orea)

And of course I am so biased over Nic and I could go on and on and write a 5-page description about how spectacular he is on stage but let’s keep it short and simple. Nick is the perfect epitome of an 80s rock and roll icon reborn and perfected for the new kids. Sexy dance moves? Check. Soulful voice? Check. All that perfection rolled into one sexy human being. He is PERFECSHAWN. And I know I’m speaking in behalf of everyone who saw him.

Nic Petricca Photo by @yujerion (LG Orea)

Nic Petricca Photo by @yujerion (LG Orea)

Right before Aquaman, Nick gave out the usual intro for Walk the Moon – explaining that they are from Ohio, America and he said something about before they were only talking to people on the internet and he pointed at me (thank you, barricade!!) Also during the latter part of the show, I made my own fan sign with the words “U DA BAWS” written because this has become our official nicknames as internet friends and I was really surprised to hear Nic say it loud, in front of the whole Trinoma audience. And another 10 points to Graceyco!

The Trinoma show ended with Shut up and Dance and leaving the fans clamoring for more.

Exhilarating, Beautiful and so full of spirit.

Setlist for Trinoma:

Trinoma setlist by a lucky fan (my fellow tita on the right, Henri!)

Trinoma setlist by a lucky fan (my fellow tita on the right, Henri!)

After the show,  I met my very first Walk the Moon friend in the Philippines from 2012! Back then, the global community only had roughly 100 members and she was one of the first few people who were nice and chatty with me!

Hi Beth (aka Mrs. Ray the second)

Hi Beth (aka Mrs. Ray the second)

I also got the chance to meet the band after their Trinoma show wherein we were also able to give the band our gifts as a fanbase. I feel like a bad person for skipping Sean and Eli during the meet and greet to secure my precious 5 seconds with Nic. I was able to hug Kevin briefly though but as soon as I saw Nic, we immediately hugged and I handed him my gift (which I assumed he really liked because he was like AARGGGHHHHH!!!! *keeps the gift hurriedly in his pocket.*) And of course the photo turned out this way:

My eyes say it all.

My eyes say it all.

 

WTMPH's little gift to the band. The calligraphy is hand drawn by Hanako Amihan made especially for Walk the Moon!

WTMPH’s little gift to the band. The calligraphy is hand drawn by Hanako Amihan made specially for Walk the Moon!

Your heart races as you anticipate the sweet culmination of everything ending with a goodbye.

August 20. The culmination of everything and the day where we all celebrate the wonderful Talking is Hard – Philippine stop tour. That day, me and Lg also went early to Glorietta just because I wanted to secure another spot at the barricade. We lined up early (around 2pm) and then took turns again later on to do the face paints of the people in line. We met so many new friends that day including a Filipino-American fan who was lucky enough to catch Walk the Moon during their Houston show. She did our extra-unique face-paints that day.

Team Glorietta, Facepaint team rocking it!

Team Glorietta, Facepaint team rocking it!

 

Hello new friends!

Hello new friends!

The set for Glorietta was extra electric and the energy from the band was too overwhelming. I could not believe that they actually came from another show from another mall an hour before. The show opened once again with Anna Sun and I could literally feel my heart vibrate as the show progressed with every song, telling me that yes this is it – this is what you have been waiting for so many years and here they are belting out your emotions, thumping their way to your heart, creeping in to your soul and making you live their music. I will never forget this. Really, hearing Walk the Moon through your earphones is one thing but actually seeing them perform up there makes you think on how Walk the Moon is the real deal.

WTM @ Glorietta photo by @yujerion

So close, bring me in so close. WTM at Glorietta photo by @yujerion

WTM @ Glorietta photo by @yujerion

Kill it, Eli! WTM at Glorietta photo by @yujerion

Your turn, Manila! WTM at Glorietta photo by @yujerion

Your turn, Manila!
WTM at Glorietta photo by @yujerion

Walk the Moon performed a total of 45 songs here in the Philippines with 102 pictures for the Meet and Greet. I am so giddy at the thought that they were able to share so much and give so much to this Philippine stop. Scurrying from one mall to another within an hour to do a set after set, how could you not love their enthusiastic souls willing to stretch their selves to accommodate all 5 shows for their Filipino fans?

Walk the Moon has a long journey ahead of them and I’m glad to be able to share in their joy as they continuously work their way up to success.

Looking back, re-watching and recollecting the story of Walk the Moon – like many of the artists we see – they started out playing at their own basements then got booked at small-town gigs, was given the opportunity to perform for school dances, were eventually asked to open for artists, then were invited to perform during half time on game performances then onwards to slaying American talk shows and now successfully headlining their own tour with sold-out shows.

Walk the Moon, Sold out " RedRocks!

Walk the Moon, Sold out ” RedRocks!

Dreams grew bigger and stages grew wider. But what you saw from 2010 is still very much what you see in 2015. You see a Nicholas brimming with a smile so big it engulfs the world because you feel that he’s in love with what they do. You see a Sean emanating with so much raw passion in what he does as he belts out every show. You see a Kevin who is so intoxicating as he delivers and showcases his talent every time the world is watching and you see an Eli with his unmatched energy as he gives back to the people who believe in them- You see a band who truly enjoys what they do and the way they are is a testimony that this is a band who is capable of sharing a music so real that it will affect you and shake you up for years and years and years knowing that one day you’ll look back at that feeling of falling in love with them for the first time is capable of lasting a lifetime.

SHUT UP AND PLEASE KNOW YOU'VE WON ME OVER AND OVER AGAIN WITH WHAT YOU DO.

SHUT UP AND PLEASE KNOW YOU’VE WON ME OVER AND OVER AGAIN WITH WHAT YOU DO.

Walk the Moon is that band that validates the feeling of t despite meeting different artists, working with artists, working for the artist – being a fan and an admirer will always be the greatest thing that could ever happen to someone when shared with people who matter. The euphoric state of happiness is just immeasurable. Across miles, colors and cultures – Walk the Moon will always have an enthusiastic fan in me. The whole experience, the celebration of being a fan is already beyond me and I will always be grateful.

Dearest, walk the Moon, Once upon a time in Philippines, you captured our hearts and the memories will always live on. Until we see each other again – Sean, Eli, Kevin and Nic!

Hold up, a little piece of my heart is set aside for this person..

Circa 2012 - 2013

Circa 2012 – 2013

A shout-out to the Baws, the friend (??) and the sensational  – Nicholas Petricca. I’ve never met an artist who is sincere and so transparent in showing his love for his fans. You are the reason why I will always look back and think that I’ve made the right decision to name my blog as it is. Thank you for appreciating your fans and what we do. It means the world for us, for me to see the artists we love put into heart what we are. It was so surreal to see you in real life.

B A W S!

B A W S!

Bonus content or something akin to that…

Fun Fact #1 — I won myself an extra ticket and meet and greet for the Glorietta show because I joined a contest from MMI. If you want to see my winning entry and try not to judge me too much.

Fun Fact #2 — Also days before the show, we had a group chat going on at WalktheMoonPH where we assigned people to bring this and that. I was assigned to lead the facepaints while another group was assigned to bring wet wipes – to wash off the paint. From that day on, we were officially called the #WalktheTitas (Tita in modern lingo and interpretations refers to an aunt — who possess a quality of an older lady who looks at the small mommy stuff for people.) I was so happy to have finally met my fellow Tita, Henri and rock the concert with her. I was also quite amused at how every friend from the group calls me Tita Grace in real life. Hootowls from Owl City call me the Mother Owl and Spirit animals in Walk the Moon call me Tita. Wow, I couldn’t get any younger than this, Can I?

Official Walk the Titas! (Roch, Abby, Henri and Me!)

Official Walk the Titas!
(Roch, Abby, Henri and Me!)

Fun Fact # 3 — We were patiently waiting for the boys to finish the Meet&Greet session at Glorietta at the barricade area and when they were finished, we tried calling them out to say our goodbye’s. LG was able to call Eli by shouting that Eli is his favorite member thus resulting to this series of selfies!

Eli and Lg

Eli and LG are OTP goals!

 

Hi Guys!!

Hi Guys!!

And I was able to call on Nic who was able to recognize me from the sea of faces and went out of his way to give me a hug. I simply have no words, none at all.

Bye nic, thank you!! Ikaw lang sapat na, Chos! haha!

Bye nic, thank you!! Ikaw lang sapat na, Chos! haha!

Fun Fact # 4 — When the Glorietta show was done, a guitar pick fell off near our spot. One of the bouncers, kuya Lorenzo, know me from 2012 during my internship at MCA and I was surprised to feel a quick tap on my arm and the next thing I know, the pick was in my hand.

And a couple of extra Thank you’s to the wonderful people blessed to be with me:

Niche – You are it bhe, there was a point when I had to contemplate, who do I love more – Nic or Niche? Thank you for being so kind and for believing in us and in what we do! Thank you to you and Ayala malls!

Yay!

Yay!

LG —  Well this is not really new  but I’d also like to share my love to my forever concert buddy since 2011 and the person who was with me with WTMPH – making Facebook content, tweeting like crazy, shopping gifts, taking in all my stress when I was extra panicky during the line at Glorietta, saving me when I was too shy to speak-up to the tour people, painting my face at the Trinoma show and for being the most awesome Spirit animal ever! FTF ~with love always, graceyco

Beautiful Times

Hana, Lg and Colwin - my awesomest friends in this planet!

Hana, Lg and Colwin – my awesomest friends in this planet!

Whenever I talk about Owl City or write about him, I always end up delaying everything because the moment I think about him – the music – the band and the people – a wave of memories haunt me and begs me to be written. So two weeks after May 8, my thoughts are finally ready to be shared.

I remember my last Owl City concert last August 2013 – me and my friend Reine went all the way to Hong Kong just to watch Owl City live. I vividly recall the energy of the band that night and how every song reverberated through my deepest emotions. Every time I watch Owl City live, I always end up overwhelmed and awestruck at how amazing the band delivers on stage. It was truly magical and memorable. However, as much as I had a good time, I knew it would never be the same without my fellow Filipino fans. No offense to my friends in Hong Kong because the people were really ecstatic that night but it’s just that it feels different when I’m not with my fellow Pinoy fans.

After that 2013 concert and the last album, The Midsummer Station – Owl City has become quiet. Adam himself confirmed that he has been busy making music. Late 2014, Owl City released an EP entitled Ultraviolet headlined by the single, Beautiful Times. The whole fandom was in a frenzy and I loved how everything became so alive again. I admit that I was one of those people who truly felt devastated when Owl City missed to tour the Philippines last 2012 for the Midsummer Station tour. I know, I am such a bad example but as much as I want to be that exemplary leader of a fan base, I felt bad not being included in the tour. But we had to look at the brighter side of things, we had to work our way harder, resounding that noise that will bring Owl City back in Manila.

This 2015, Owl City Philippines (OCPH) celebrates its 5th anniversary as the first and only Owl City community in the Philippines. Through the years, I’ve seen how the community has grown and is home to the fans of Owl City in the Philippines. I always stress out how unique I think the fandom is. From what I see, the defining character of an Owl City fan is dedicated, patient and resilient.

#Happy5thOwlCityPH

#Happy5thOwlCityPH

Last February 2015 – I was on my way to Cagayan de Oro waiting at NAIA 3 – 7:00am that day, checking out my Facebook feed and reading this uncanny post from fellow Owl City fan turned friend, Minell “OWL CITY IS COMING BACK TO MANILA.” I could not bring myself to believe that it was legit – it was not everyday that you see such news about a concert when no tour was currently present for the band. I double checked- triple checked and quadruple checked Owl City’s Facebook page and to my shocked surprise, it was real. After 4 long years, Owl City is coming back to Manila and it’s for Free!

Concert announcement from Owl City's Facebook Page

Concert announcement from Owl City’s Facebook Page

My status right after I read the post above

My status right after I read the post above

I panicked and called each of my friends to deliver and herald the good news. I called Colwin – no answer, still sleeping I guess. I called up Lg- no answer, probably asleep too. I called Dowe – was at work and can’t take calls. I called up Mommy Rae – just got out of the shower (oops) so there was no outlet but a Facebook post and a chat to Minell that basically consisted of “OMG OMG OMG? OMG LIKE OMG?!!” I remember meeting my manager at my current work in the airport that day and fan-girling to her. In that moment, I had to run her through my alternate life as an Owl City fan for her to understand why I was acting hysterical and hyper. I even asked her on that day if I can file a personal leave on May 8 for the show. (She said YES by the way!)

It was really exciting to see the whole fan community up and about. It was very heartwarming to see the Filipino concert/music/hootowl community all giddy with excitement for May 8. Everyone was anticipating the show, inviting everyone to go. Articles were up early, just after the week the announcement was made.

As OCPH, we held usual Sunday meetings where we would talk and plan about our gimmicks for the concert. Originally we planned to do a beach ball party during Good Time but due to venue set-up it was understandable that we weren’t allowed to do so. We opted to do our traditional light sticks giveaway. We had to raise enough money to fund 250 lightsticks for the concert-goers and at the same time distribute fan signs for the band to see. It was really rewarding to see the people happy whenever we approached them and gave out these little tokens because in mind, our goal was really to make this 2015 concert a truly memorable one for the band and for the fans.

Free Lightsticks from OCPH!

Free Lightsticks from OCPH!

Aside from that – the community exhausted several efforts in different media. Our most successful campaign was the one we did over at Twitter spearheaded by Colwin. We were able to acquire an organic reach of 1.1k retweets and almost 3k favorites (keyword is ORGANIC.) Not bad for something not paid and an account with only 4k followers, right? We also did several campaigns at Facebook headed by Trish and Jhon. Overall, it was really amazing to see the whole staff team work harmoniously towards one goal. The staff team for the year is a blend of old and new and it just proves that no matter what era of an Owl City fan you belong to, as long as you love Owl City, you will always end up as good friends.

The tweet that went viral!

The tweet that went viral!

Best staff group ever!

Best staff group ever!

Prior to the concert, me and Colwin spent late nights preparing the light sticks and other miscellaneous sneaky things. What I love most about meeting with the OCPH Staff is how efficient we are in dividing our time- our planning usually go on for 20 minutes but our random discussion/gushing about Owl City go on for about 2 hours. As much as we try to be truly professional working staff people, we always go back to our roots of being the crazy fans that we are.

Forever Sunday meetings with LG and Colwin! 2 minutes planning, 2 hours non-stop talking about OC.

Forever Sunday meetings with LG and Colwin! 2 minutes planning, 2 hours non-stop talking about OC.

Concert day and we arrived early at the venue. I was with Hana, Colwin and Lg that day and as soon as the car hit the Bonifacio Global City road, I felt my chest expanding. I told myself to be perfectly calm because this is my 4th time to catch Owl City in concert – at least that’s what I thought I would feel. A barrage of emotions hit me hard in the face when I finally realized that I will never feel used to this band. Every time and every chance I get to spend with Owl City will always be an enchanting experience – it will always feel magical and surreal. I was a mess, a good mess melting inside composed of a very happy and giddy face greeting the familiar faces at Bonifacio High Street.

Hello wonderful people of the Philippines who love Owl City!

Hello wonderful people of the Philippines who love Owl City!

One thing I sort of owe to Owl City is the mini success and (fame HAHAHAHAHAHA) I’ve experienced for being known as Ms. Owl City to the professionals and mother owl to the community. I feel like a politician running for candidacy waving left and right – or I may be exaggerating. HAHAHA But seriously, only the community treats me like this and it honestly it does feel a little awesome to be acknowledged for what you do.

Hours before the concert, we were given the chance to meet Adam as Owl City Ph. I will forever be thankful for the very appreciative, supportive and trusting Owl City Management for their great love for the whole community. My heart is overflowing with so much gratefulness and admiration. I’m not going to elaborately explain how we met Adam but I just call us very lucky and I guess, well well appreciated. It truly makes me happy.

To give a little insider on what happened during the time we met Adam – I told everyone to stay quiet, composed and calm. Let’s all act like professionals, I said. We were ushered to a small room and caught off guard when Adam came out to meet us in less than 10 seconds after we entered. No prelude or anything – he just came out and adorned that charming smile we all longed to see in real life. Since we were instructed (by myself) to not squeal or anything, all of us just went “Hiiiii” and I am telling you that was the most awkward Hi in the history of Hi’s ever. Basically, the whole session with Adam was short notice so we did not prepare anything.

When the tour coordinator introduced us to Adam, there was dead air. We were all too starstrucked to say anything so being the mother owl that I am, I had to talk and deliver an impromptu 1 minute- straight English – no uhm’s and likes-speech. I too myself was surprised that I was able to say such message without any practice or anything. Everything I told Adam came from the random thoughts of my mind and heart and I was pretty sure he was listening intently.

HAHA, WHAT'S SO FUNNY ADAM?!!

HAHA, WHAT’S SO FUNNY ADAM?!

Hana trying to explain her Owl City tattoo and LG imagining he has an OC tattoo?

Hana trying to explain her Owl City tattoo and LG imagining he has an OC tattoo?

Mommy rae casually touching Adam's arm and Amber being well..Amber :D

Mommy rae casually touching Adam’s arm and Amber being well..Amber 😀

I thanked him for being the inspiration behind our hard work and I also mentioned the recent 5th year anniversary of the whole community. I also mentioned how thankful we all are for him going back to the Philippines. I also gave a brief rundown on what are our collective efforts as a fan community. Adam in return gave out his message to the community and to the whole Filipino fan community. He was very happy to finally return and he is greatly thankful for what the Filpino fans are doing. He even asked us who handles our Twitter account! Grabe, nakakataba ng puso.

Group pic with Adam

Group pic with Adam

We had to say good bye because Adam had to prepare for sound-check and the show. We walked off the area with silly faces and kilig na kilig smiles. It was truly what you call “achieve na achieve!”

Yeyyyy!

Yeyyyy!

What I noticed about this 2015 meet and greet from the 2011 and 2013 meet and greet was the fact that Adam now is more serious and keen but all the while retaining that shy and soft-spoken attitude that we have all come to love since day 1. I once read this article from GMA News that says:

When I met Young, he was soft-spoken and meek; I got the impression of someone who’s still very much appreciative, maybe even disbelieving, of all the successes he’s notched over the last few years. Here’s hoping he never loses that charm, sense of wonder, and yeah, whimsy, in the years to come. BM, GMA News

Picture grabbed from @InquirerEx

Picture grabbed from @InquirerE

I could not agree more. This 2015 Adam Young version is definitely still that humble 2010 version and definitely better! (*I was so touched by this precious moment of Adam leaving the amphitheater – bringing his own bag, shoes and water bottles. So so so so humble!)

After that meet and greet session -we saw the band busy preparing during sound-checked and tried to call their attention but I blame the heat, the noise and the crazy energy because they did not notice us then. It was okay though, it was enough to see Breanne, Jasper, Gabe and Rob excited for the show.

Look at how perfect this woman is! Breanne Duren prepping for the show!

Look at how perfect this woman is! Breanne Duren prepping for the show!

OCPH funded and distributed free lightsticks for the first 250 people whom we saw while waiting. We also gave out fan sign that say “MANILA <3’s you.” Along with that, OCPH also gave out instructions to concert-goers how to rock it out when Good time is played. Everyone was all smiles and thankful for these little freebies and it warms our heart to see our fellow fans happy and appreciative.

Staff giving out FREE lightsticks to people in line!

Staff giving out FREE lightsticks to people in line!

One of our ticket contest winners

One of our ticket contest winners

Hand-drawn by our resident artist extraordinaire, Hanako!

Hand-drawn by our resident artist extraordinaire, Hanako!

Hours before they let the audience in the ticketed area, I was able to catch up and meet old and new faces from the community. Meeting up all the amazing people that day made me realize that this community is my anchor. The happiness that I feel whenever surrounded by them clearly makes me feel aflutter and really thankful.

Hello Friends!

Hello Friends!

More of the awesome Owl City fans patiently waiting!

More of the awesome Owl City fans patiently waiting!

We were seated at the front and were patiently waiting for the concert to start. I was like a giddy little kid- internally screaming-when I saw how huge the crowd was for that night. I know, the concert is for FREE but the special seats which required a 2k purchase at any BHS store also sold-out fast. According to Bonifacio High Street and their awesome aerial shot of the concert, there was an estimated number of 5,000 attendees. That crowd is as big as the capacity of an 80% filled Smart Araneta Coliseum!

Aloha my happy Southeast Asian friends!

Aloha my happy Southeast Asian friends!

The show was opened by a local DJ who dropped some beats. While raving to the Dj, Krispy Kreme and Jamba Juice also gave out complimentary donuts and drinks for all the ticket holders. Hooray to Bonifacio High Street and MMI Live, Awesome show and awesome sponsors!

Free Krispy Kreme for the first 800 ticket holders!

Free Krispy Kreme for the first 800 ticket holders!

And then the show started with the band members coming out one by one. When Adam finally came out, the amphitheater was filled with howls, cheers and an excited noise of anticipation.

Jasper opening the show with his mad skills! (Photo by LG)

Jasper opening the show with his mad skills! (Photo by LG)

Rob Morgan, the new bassist for the touring band! (photo by Lg)

Rob Morgan, the new bassist for the touring band! (photo by Lg)

Breanne Duren, the pretty soul that adds beauty to every OC show!

Breanne Duren, the pretty soul that adds beauty to every OC show!

With 22 tracks on the set paired with the infectious energy of the band, everybody was all screams and lyric shouting. As much as the crowd was very loud, the collective singing was also very harmonious. It’s so breathtaking to hear your fellow Pinoy fans sing that non-single-mainstream Owl City track by heart. Gets me and tears me up every time.

The year is 2015, Owl City is so back. Wake me if you’re out there!

Adaaaaam. (photo by Lg)

Adaaaaam.

Now I'm gonna be up all night!

Now I’m gonna be up all night!

Will you show me the way, tonight?

Will you show me the way, tonight?

Some highlights of the night during the set were:

  • The way the band opened the show with this song called Panoramic from the movie Book of Eli, masterfully remixed by Adam Young.
  • The way Adam formally started the set with a heart seizure inducing “WAKE ME IF YOU’RE OUT THERE.” Ahh what a classic opener!
  • The way Breanne was all smiles and giddy by looking at how awesome the crowd was that night. Breanne is such a darling – I can’t imagine watching an Owl City concert without her graceful presence.
  • Jasper killing those guitar leads with his snazzy style. I swear, Jasper is a legend! I’ve observed that he is really careful, precise and perfect on stage!
  • Of course there’s Gabe Hagen (whom I was able to meet last 2013) still rocking the drums
  • There’s Rob Morgan, the new touring band member whom everybody loved! (And also v.v.v cute!)
  • Adam sang Kamikaze – which was a personal “rak na itu” favorite of me and LG
  • When Adam sang Beautiful times and during the second verse of the song, not so many were familiar with the lyrics but I was so I had to scream and mouth it out loud and I think Adam noticed me so he pointed is mic at me and asked me to sing. Yes, I am so claiming it because I stood up and sang the part “A dead fire rose and rose higher, like a vampire, up from the graveyard!” Check the video cut here.
  • When Adam and I had like 10x eye contact during that night? Thank you first-row powers!
  • When most of the audience sang “Take me above your light” too early during the Heallo Seattle bridge. This already happened last 2011 and once more this 2015. You are a very sneaky crowd, Manila!
  • When everybody danced off in their seats, waved and flailed and were all literally at the edge of our seats because we were not allowed to stand.
  • When Sky Diver was being sung and I did not know the exact lyrics of the song but Adam was looking at me — I had to pretend cough and look down just to save myself HAHAHAHA
  • When everybody just fell silent during Adam’s solo cover of the mash up of 99 red balloons.
  • And of course when finally we were allowed to stand, rave and party to the closing song Good Time.
The only shot I took that night. LITERALLY.

The only shot I took that night. LITERALLY.

So that is sort of a summary of what happened during the show. Words are not enough to describe how amazing the set was but we were all left literally and metaphorically breathless. The show wrapped up with a resonating noise of cheers and a reassurance to Owl City that he is really well loved and received in our country, by his “craziest fans” as he once said. It was what I would a call a great come back.

Look at that amazing crowd! Photo grabbed from Jasper Lucena / MMI Live

Look at that amazing crowd! Photo grabbed from Jasper Lucena / MMI Live

Minutes after the concert, Owl City did a meet and greet session with some lucky fans who won through an Instagram contest hosted by BGC and BHS. My friend and fellow staff member Denn Levy is evidently and ridiculously happy.

Pat, Denn, Per and Kymmer with Adam!

Pat, Denn, Per and Kymmer with Adam!

One big group hug for the group and the night was perfect. Indeed, good job not to us but to the whole community of fans who flocked and supported the show. As what they often say, the best surprises always come unexpected.

DOESN'T MATTER WHEN, DOESN'T MATTER WHERE!

DOESN’T MATTER WHEN, DOESN’T MATTER WHERE!

The next morning, I woke up with a very strong case of PCD, sore-throat and a bad punch of body bruises. It was all still worth it – especially waking up to the news that Owl City #finally tweeted @owlcityph. I only had 4 hours of sleep that night but I have never been so awake in forever. My heart was pounding fast and my head was spinning. THIS IS TOO MUCH. My heart and soul was not ready for this but alas, maybe we deserved this -okay take out the maybe and modesty aside please- we deserve this.

*faints*

*faints*

But of course, the unexpected surprises did not end there. There were also a couple of appreciation tweets and posts from Owl City and the touring band about the show.

Rob Morgan appreciation IG post!

Rob Morgan appreciation IG post!

Breanne emanates Joy in her post about Manila!

Breanne emanates Joy in her post about Manila!

Adam posts about the Manila concert with so much love!

Adam posts about the Manila concert with so much love!

And some of those appreciation tweets, replies and comments were also personally directed to me. I could not believe how everything went into full throttle domino effect. I was so so so so lucky and so so so quotang-quota!

Y U SO KIND BREANNE

Y U SO KIND BREANNE

Thanks a lot Jasper!! :)

Thanks a lot Jasper!! 🙂

When I read my post entitled Beautiful from the 2011 concert and my other post for the 2013 concert at Hong Kong, I have come to realize also some changes in the way I looked at things back then and now. I’d like to compare this parallel to how Owl City also transformed from 2010 all the way to the present- when you ask the fans and spectators, you usually receive a mixed feedback on how they receive the gradual changes in Adam’s music. But my personal opinion on this is always – to keep up, we must move forward. If we hear the same things all over again, if we experience the same events all over again – where’s the sense of growth in that? From being that fan who stalked Owl City at New World Hotel in his first concert in Manila in 2010 to being that fan who respectfully sat down the whole concert for the love of being a responsible fan leader- indeed I can say that wisdom and maturity are players of the game. Sometimes, you have to sacrifice other opportunities to make way for greater things. I don’t think I would be where I am right now if I pursued that attitude of a fan who stalked and stalked and just waited for a miracle. However choosing to be that fan to actually work hard for something gave me so many wonderful things and little did I know that it was just the beginning (this isn’t the end *ba dum tss*)

Me and Colwin with Adam ATBAB era, 2011.

Me and Colwin with Adam ATBAB era, 2011.

Colwin, Adam and Me (2015)

Colwin, Adam and Me (2015)

There’s just so much to be thankful for. I feel fortunate to be able to form friendships and good relationships with the OC community in and out of the country. Through this, I have met so many people along the way who are personally influential and inspiring to my growth as a person. My love for Owl City is always parallel for my love for OCPH. Years from now, I can imagine myself telling my kids (wow mommy na mommy owl) about how wonderful life was because of Owl City. Think it’s too much? I think it’s not because when I look back and assess what has happened over the past 5 years – I smile with a big heart knowing that so many good things has already been shared to us and our community. We’ve had our fair share of bad times too – some even very crazy but we got through it knowing that greater things are coming ahead. Amazing how this whole Owl City life of mine has become a mantra for my own life.

Me and the only shoti of my life!

Me and the only shoti of my life!

Ferlie teen ferls since 2011!

Ferlie teen ferls since 2011!

I will also like to add this portion where I’d like to thank the wonderful people who has been so instrumental in my life as an Owl City fan – Colwin, for always being the number 1 go to person of OwlCityPH. He is the brainchild of all things marketing and he is also the bestest and most supportive Owl City friend you’ll ever have. LG also for being my most favorite person in forever, period. And then our awesome staff team who has been working so hard – Hana, Trish, Jhon, Ajay, Minell, David, Roselle, Denn, Maria and Dowe. These people are seriously the most fun and humble people in forever.

IMG_0750 IMG_0701 IMG_0702 IMG_0730

Also you never forget the people who bridged you in your success story – from the people of MCA (old and new) and the very generous team of MMI.

Me and Colwin with MCA Music (Universal Music PH)

Me and Colwin with MCA Music (Universal Music PH)

My sincerest appreciation goes out to the most wonderful management of Owl City. MY LOVE FOR YOU GUYS IS THIS BIG.

Then to the resounding cheers of all Owl City fans in the Philippines. Many say thank you to Owl City PH for being the nest but really where would OCPH be without you? Your messages and great support is really appreciated. Rest-assured that our team is constantly working and coming up with awesome activities for everyone to enjoy. We hope that you continue supporting Owl City as an artist in and out of the country’s success.

And lastly of course to my number 1 inspiration, motivation and love of my life- Adam Young. I may not say this often –wait I actually do– THANK YOU SO MUCH. All that I have written in this seemingly long post is all about how you inspired me to be my best self. From the 2010 stalker fan to the 2015 very responsible-non-stalker-I-swear-fan self, I LOVE YOU.

Music up: Tell me again was it love at 3rd sight? :)

Music up: Tell me again was it love at 3rd sight? 🙂

Oh, these are beautiful times indeed. Looking forward to our next adventure!

P.s. LG also caught Good Time using my camera and there’s a surprise at 0:26. Bless your soul!