When I decided to go to the ASEAN Pop Concert in Bonifacio High Street, I admit that I only intended to watch Franco, one of my favorite OPM bands. But I was in for a treat because at the end of the night, I was filled with a deeper purpose.
Held last night was a music event that marked the culmination of Association of Southeast Asian Nations' (ASEAN's) 50th Year Celebration. The concert had already started when my officemates and I arrived at the Amphitheater in Bonifacio High Street Central.
The Juans, “not your typical boy band,” they say, were already in the middle of their set. I’m aware that these newcomers to the music industry are talented in their own right as each of them plays their own instrument and everyone sings as well, a supposed step ahead of their contemporaries. But my respect for them increased ten times over when I saw and heard them perform live because they sounded as good as they are on record. These guys are not to be underestimated. Given how young they are, they’re sure to make bigger waves in the music industry.
Next in line were pop stars representing each ASEAN country, such as Afiq Wafi from Brunei Darussalam, Kong Sothearith from Cambodia and Aizyah Aziz from Singapore. I wasn’t all that interested at first because I didn’t know any of the performers, except for our own Christian Bautista.
ASEAN Pop Artists.
But I listened to all of them and although I didn’t understand the words in their songs (they all sang in their native languages), I found a deeper appreciation for the performers, the countries they represent and music in general. I realized how rhythm, tone and emotions of songs could bridge people of different nations even though words are incomprehensible. It even made more sense that all the ASEAN pop stars sang the official ASEAN Song of Unity together.
Then finally, Franco came on. Just like every live performance that I watched of them, it was electric. Of course, I’m speaking from a fangirl’s point of view. But more than the joy of watching Franco live onstage, I was happier with the fact that a lot of people in the crowd were singing and jamming along.
Just when I thought that Filipinos are too pre-occupied with foreign acts, here I see a crowd of people bobbing their heads to the beat and applauding after every song. OPM is still alive after all, I whispered to myself.
Other sought-after and rising local bands also performed that night, including Up Dharma Down, Itchyworms, 6 Cyclemind, The Nightingales, Thyro and Yumi, Baihana and the cast of Rak of Aegis.
The organizers of the ASEAN 50 Celebration did good. My appreciation for music has taken deeper root. I slept happy last night.