Netizens raved about Rivermaya’s live performance on ABS-CBN’s ‘ASAP Natin ’To’ program on Jan. 13 — a teaser of the band’s coming concert on Feb. 17 at the SMDC Festival Grounds in Parañaque, featuring its classic lineup of lead singer Bamboo, guitarist Rico Blanco, bassist Nathan Azarcon, and drummer Mark Escueta.
Some of the reactions, posted as comments on musician Kowboy Santos’ Facebook page: “Tindi!” “Grabe yung prod.” “Lupit.” “Saraaap.” “Sulit ang studio audience.”
Off the bat, the limited number of people in the studio (some of whom are Rivermaya fans invited to watch), as well as thousands of online viewers, felt the air turn electric as Escueta and Azarcon let loose the rumbling intro rhythm to the band’s old hit “Elesi” (from its 1997 album Atomic Bomb), as Blanco cranked it up and Bamboo leapt to start his signature boxer/rapper dance moves.
It didn’t seem like a throwback routine, no matter if everyone familiar with the track sang along to the lyrics. There was a refreshing spontaneity in the quartet’s collective energy, which swirled into a resounding climax when Bamboo shouted out the chorus: “’Pagkat ngayong gabi ako ang MAHIWAGANG E-LE…SI!”
It’s been ages since this classic lineup last played together. Bamboo was the first to leave in 1998, followed by Azarcon (temporarily in 2001), and then Blanco in 2007. Rivermaya has soldiered on with multiple personnel changes, before settling down with a lean trio lineup composed of Escueta, Azarcon, and Mike Elgar.
On the heels of the 2022 edition of the Eraserheads reunion gig came the online comment, “Rivermaya naman!”
Live Nation Philippines boss Rhiza Pascua worked on it, probably in the vicinity of P50 million (or more, production and promotional costs included), and so it’s finally happening.
Can Rivermaya fill up the open-air venue, the same one where the Eraserheads played, which is said to be big enough for 50,000 people?
With dozens of hit singles and a fan base from the 1990s who can surely afford to score tickets (the priciest is at P14,750 and the cheapest at P2,550), Rivermaya can at least rest assured of a decent crowd turnout.
But from its sonically stunning TV teaser alone, there’s no reason to miss the whole show.
Image credits: Mark Escueta/Facebook