Eraseheads took us on a rollercoaster ride of nostalgia with Huling El Bimbo show

Written by Kevin Pableo
Photos by Danilo Factor, Kevin Pableo

It was a night of magical and greatest hits as iconic alternative rock group Eraserheads did their farewell Manila show titled Huling El Bimbo at the huge new concert venue, SMDC Festival Grounds last Thursday night. As a founder and co-owner of Manila Concert Scene, it was my dream for our brand to cover an Eraserheads show even though I’ve been to their 2008 reunion and 2009 Final Set show, and we’ve cover their 2016 impromptu reunion gig for PLDT/Smart rebranding. This time, my all time favorite group Eraserheads staged another historic show. This show just in time for our 13th anniversary week celebration as well. Eraserheads gave an early Christmas treats to their massive fans as the group reunited and performing their biggest songs on stage.

Attended by 75,000 fans from hardcore fans to casual listeners of HEADS including notable celebrities and musicians such as Vice Ganda and the whole Showtime family, couple Karylle & Yael Yuzon, Daniel Padilla, Kathryn Bernardo, Ogie Alcasid, Bianca Gonzalez, Gabbi Garcia, Khalil Ramos, Maxine Magalona, Barbie Imperial, Moonstar88, 6cyclemind, and a lot more. The show was also broadcast LIVE worldwide via IWantTFC, and nationwide through Cignal TV PPV and Smart Livestream app.

Festivity started with a DJ set by duo Diego Castillo & Diego Mapa – The Diegos, playing the biggest hits from the 90s, songs from Razorback, Yano, Wolfgang, Mastaplann, Put3ska, Gary Valenciano, to Nirvana, Blur, Daft Punk. Warming up the crowd closer to the big 90s nostalgia set of Eraserheads. Ending their set with Whole Lotta Lovin by Francis M and Laklak of Teeth.

Eraserheads set opened with an epic intro video, 2-minute countdown featuring Heads’ timeless hits in remix fashion. Eraserheads – Ely Buendia, Marcus Adoro, Buddy Zabala, and Raimund Marasigan was accompanied by the new Secret Weapon Posse: Jazz Nicolas of The Itchyworms, Mikey Amistoso of Ciudad, Audrey Dionisio of General Luna along with AHEB Musical cast as backup vocals, the show opened with Superproxy. They were also joined by siblings Elmo & Arkin Magalona, and Ely’s son Eon Buendia during this performance. During the rap part of the song, a hologram performance by the late great Francis Magalona appeared on stage, marking the first time in Philippine concert scene to feature a hologram performance just like Tupac’s performance in Coachella years before.

On the first set of the show, we saw Eraserheads playing all the songs from their biggest selling album of all time, Cutterpillow in its entirety and in order (except for the Bimbo, more of that later), celebrating the album’s anniversary month. Weeks prior to the show, Raimund hinted that the setlist will have an easter egg at the show that only Eheads fans will guess it and I think that’s the easter egg of the show. Songs such as Kamasupra, Overdrive, Poorman’s Grave, Yoko, Paru Parong Ningning, Fine Time and a lot more. Their performance sounds like from their studio album. Also, it was filled with colorful visuals and imaging lasers featuring the songs logo designed by the group’s tech crew Joey Navera on Cutterpillow album sleeve, 27 years ago. They’re quite messed up the first set including the Yoko set but eventually turned well. They’ve never played Yoko in decades prior to this show. First set closed with Ely’s acoustic performance of the song “Fill Her”

A 30-minute intermission featuring a brief DJ set by The Diegos, a surprise UP Pep Squad performance, and an action cam segment at the venue to warmed up the crowd for the second set.

On the second set, we saw a much better set of the Heads. Second set opened with Pop Machine. Heads now accompanied by AMP Orchestra conducted by maestro Mel Villena. My favorite moment was the band performing Lightyears with orchestra and it sounds sooooo great. The group did a rare performance of Saturn Return with Eon and Arkin on vocals. Buddy finally performed on the show singing his song Tama Ka which was co-written by his wife, Earnest Zabala for the album Natin99. In memories, the crowd from the Final Set show wanted Buddy to sing on that show. First time ever, Heads played their newer song Sabado at the show, which was released back in 2014 as part of a Magazine special.

Another rare performance of the band, Christmas Party from their Fruitcake album. Mr. Pure Energy, Gary Valenciano graced the song with his energetic vocals and percussion set. This was one of my favorite performances of the night. One of the emotional performance was during With A Smile as Ely said he was thankful that this song was chosen as one of inspirational songs during the pandemic era and after the song, it followed by fast paced song, Insomya. Heads played crowd favorites such as Ligaya, Maling Akala, Spoliarium, and Magasin to end the second set.

Now on their encore set, Ely tuned his guitar to snippets of More Than Words followed by another crowd favorite, Pare Ko. A loud 75,000 crowd sang along to the song, di ba? T*ngina? Followed by the song, Raims quite confused on the “script” as his setlist stated Alapaap instead of Minsan which Ely said “Kahit Kailan Talaga”, and Raimund jokingly “I quit”. Their Minsan set gave us another emotional set, remembering the peak years of Eraserheads while their Alapaap set gave the crowd jumped, savoring every moment of the show. Now down to the last song, Ang Huling El Bimbo. This song always made me cry. For the first time, Eraserheads playing this song with an orchestra LIVE on stage and never been done before. It was the best Ang Huling El Bimbo performance I saw ever. The last part of the song will always be my favorite part and made me emotional, remembering the great moments as a fan of this band. It was followed by a 5 minute grand fireworks display and a shower of confetti on the final part of the song. El Bimbo cover of Paul Mauriat and his orchestra played on the stereo and final bow to the crowd to end the show.

Despite the band didn’t perform any songs from their final album, Carbon Stereoxide, it was a great solid show. Performing a 3 & 1/2 hours set showcasing their biggest hits of all time. A show that defines reunion with our family and barkada, lots of surprises, huge production, and nostalgic feels. As Ely said on the show. “This has been an amazing journey to us, thank you for making it happen.” “It’s time to look at the future and honor the past”. I think this will be the group’s final concert ever in the country and for me, Huling El Bimbo show was a great send-off for Eraserheads but the legacy of their music will continue…

As the group to embark on a global tour this 2023. US, Canada, Singapore as being rumored countries included on the tour, more of it soon.

Great show to end our #2022ManilaConcerts season and as my last note for Eraserheads, thank you for the music and for the memories you guys gave to us in our music industry and on my personal side, thank you for inspiring me to create our brand, Manila Concert Scene. Without your comeback shows in 2008 & 2009, Manila Concert Scene wouldn’t be here.

-Superproxy (with Eon Buendia, siblings Arkin and Elmo Magalona, hologram Francis Magalona)
-Waiting For The Bus
-Fine Time
-Slo Mo
-Huwag Mo Nang Itanong
-Paru Parung Ning Ning
-Walang Nagbago
-Poorman’s Grave
-Fill Her

2nd set
-Pop Machine
-Saturn Return (with Eon Buendia and Arkin Magalona)
-Maling Akala
-Tama Ka
-With A Smile
-Christmas Party (with Gary Valenciano)

3rd set
-Pare Ko
-Ang Huling El Bimbo

Special thanks to WEU Event Management Services, Ant Savvy Creatives, DVent Productions, and Myriad Corporation.

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