NYA\NJ is back after over a year of hiatus and what’s better is to have a comeback with covering a night I didn’t saw coming. It was the first of the two nights of my favorite artist/performer/singer and 11-time Grammy winner Bruno Mars performing in Manila for the Asian leg of the “24K Magic World Tour!”
The proud Hooligan inside me cannot hide the excitement for it was the night I was able to see all of his performances which I first saw on TV during the awarding ceremonies he participated from and on YouTube. I cannot believe I will be able to witness his undeniably insane talent in-person during this night, along with 15,000 others.
Sure, I was sad and lonely when I wasn’t able to attend his first major concert here dubbed as the “Moonshine Jungle Tour” last 2014. My broke as hell and happy-go-lucky junior high school budgeting technique was to blame for all of that. But this year is different. Luckily, I was able to save a fortunate amount of cash to buy a 2nd hand ticket, thanks to my niece for referring me to her schoolmate. That was after participating to all ticket raffle promos from major concert sponsors/capitalists and other entities; as well as a huge number of times I refreshed the page of SM Tickets just to wait until it opens a vacant seat for the General Admission and/or Upper Box areas; and the hunt for affordable enough tickets from folks who will fail to attend the concert during those days, except for ticket scalpers who should be in prison right now because they buy tickets in bulk and resell them for two to three times the original price. I failed from all of those attempts to win or purchase a reasonably-priced ticket, except for the one abovementioned.
But this is it. Thursday, 3rd day of May, year 2018. It started when I rode a loaded bus to Pasay and connected my trip to Manila with a UV Express Van to Lawton, unloaded in Kalaw and walked through Robinson’s Place Manila where we met my niece’s schoolmate whom I bought my GA ticket from. Other details should be in private but I have nothing but huge thanks for this day as it served as my graduation gift, which includes meeting my nieces for the first time in months and seeing Bruno perform right after. As for my niece, she should be sleeping during that day after her graveyard shift from the call center and she was also accompanied by her sister who should be having her OJT that day. Oh God, I’m such a terrible tito for making them do that, right? We went straight to the SM Mall of Asia to eat lunch at Mang Inasal, which now have their meal prices insanely higher than the last time I ate. I had four cups of rice which was enough for me to get energized until I get home later that night. I also saw some faces ready for the concert with their worn merchandise, especially one from the official group chat of the Filipino Hooligans, which increased my concert hype while we’re taking our lunch.
But after a brief window-shopping from the Nokia NewSeum and a few clothing and shoe brands which we are all fond of for now because all of us still aren’t rich, the time has come for me to enter the arena and hug them goodbye. I proceeded towards the venue of the first major concert I will be able to attend, the Mall of Asia Arena.
Since it was my first time walking into the outskirts of them arena, I felt lost for quite a bit. Gladly, there were signs which I followed through and I went to several floors filled with sponsored gimmicks and insanely expensive world tour merchandise. Suddenly, I needed to use the stairs to go up two floors from the Upper Box area until I reach the General Admission area. There I waited for several minutes before we were able to enter the audience area itself. There I met a concert friend who was from the group chat for those Gen Ad concert attendees on that day and guess what, she works at the hotel & casino where Bruno stayed (For privacy purposes, I won’t reveal her name nor the place where she works nor her position) . We waited for at least an hour before the Jabbawockeez came out and another fifteen minutes for the main event.
The venue went full as the man of the hour began his concert with “Finesse” and the legendary choreography that debuted from the 60th Grammy Awards. He sang most of his tracks from the “24K Magic” album, with some hits coming from “Unorthodox Jukebox” and “Doo-wops and Hooligans.” We spent the whole one and a half hour standing, jumping, and screaming while singing all of his hits. And since he is an undeniably all-out performer, we also witnessed how incredibly great of a dancer Bruno is from his songs “Runaway Baby,” “Perm,” and “Uptown Funk.” All of us went gaga as we scream when he sang “Miss na Kita, Mahal” after an explosive guitar performance as he nailed “Calling All My Lovelies;” and “Mahal Kita” during “That’s What I Like.”
Though “Straight Up and Down” was absent from the set list but was included during the Live at the Apollo special, we couldn’t help but effortlessly join the energetic vibe. What’s fun is for the first time, I get to experience the feeling while listening to the audience singing and it was amazing & phenomenal.
Here is the full set list of the 24K Magic World Tour Manila for you to relive the moment:
Take a look at what happened and how electrified we were during that one special night at the Mall of Asia Arena (I apologize in advance because the clips were as wasted as we were during his concert.):
Though I was disappointed when some people started departing the venue after he sang “Just The Way You Are” and the curtains started going down, we stayed on our seat while we join a number of fans shouting “WE WANT MORE!” as everything goes dark except for the opened exit door. I mean, the main lights at the arena weren’t switched on yet. After a few seconds, Bruno talked and we went wild. That’s when he sang “Uptown Funk” to close down what was one heck of a show. I’ve also read a post from a VIP Standing concert attendee who showed his dismay for the people who recorded the concert with their phones and blocked their view. That’s when they clearly violated his line “Put your phone down let’s get it, forget your Instagram and your Twitter.” from the song “Perm,” which he also performed during the night. Also, during “Uptown Funk,” just a few people, including us, shouted “Get the stretch!” after he shouted “Julio!” mainly because more people are busy recording the whole concert.
Bruno shared the same sentiment on Twitter as he is about to perform in Singapore. This was taken as he was doing #AskTheDragon with his online fans:
Nah it’s not that serious. But the truth is why would I want to sing to a bunch of screens when I much rather be singing to u. 😎ya feel me? https://t.co/nppXLHdWSk
— Bruno Mars (@BrunoMars) May 7, 2018
Though the concert fan project of Bruno Mars PH weren’t followed by the crowd during the concert, I will never forget this moment. It was indeed one of the best plot twists in my life so far and I would like to thank everyone who made this night possible, especially Peter Gene Bayot Hernandez. You really are indeed a rock-solid musical artist and performer. We, the Hooligans wish you more success and more enticing & heart-wrenching music in the future; and I guess, see you in the next four years, maybe? I hope to gather enough budget for a better seat. Oh, and by the way, hopefully, I can bring with me someone I would cherish for the rest of my life (aside from my family).
It was a night filled with mad vocals, mad moves, and mad participation despite certain circumstances from other audiences. From the bottom of our hearts, we thank you, Bruno, for getting back here and we’re looking forward to more uplifting music, choreography, and another series of worldwide tour. As most of your dear Filipino fans noticed, you’re noticeably struggling with your voice due to the number of stops you’ve had from your tour. But we understand. And guess what, you still pulled it off anyway because you always slay! Right now, we are more concerned with your health and you deserve a much-needed rest after roaming around the world to share your magnificent craft.