It was the musical event of the year and everyone anticipated the goodnews: the one-night-only reunion concert of the most successful and arguably themost influential band the Philippine music scene has produced, the Eraserheads.
The former schoolmates at the University of the Philippines in Diliman, Ely Buendia, Raimund Marasigan, Buddy Zabala, andMarcus Adoro formed their band in 1989 with a name culled from a surreal DavidLynch movie titled Eraserhead (1977). Their first album was actually a bootcopy of the demo tape they tried to sell to recording companies, who allturned it down because it was not "pop enough." They remastered the demo tape andsold it, initially just in UP, with the album titled as Pop U.
In 1992, Eheads released their debut mainstream album Ultraelectromangnetic Pop (in referenceto their favorite anime Voltes V) and the album was the first to be officiallygiven a Diamond Award, generating over 10 ten-times platinum sales, which atthat time was 30 thousand pieces.
The band went on to release six more original albums: Circus, Cutterpillow,Fruitcake (with an extended single version), Bananatype extended single,Sticker Happy, Aloha Milky Way, and Carbon Stereoxide; two compilations—Natin99 and Eraserheads: The Singles.
In 2002, the group disbanded to the supriseand dismay of their countless fans. Ely was the first to leave the bandbecause he felt he was not supported by his three friends after a dispute withthe Eheads' road manager in 2002.
A post album was released in 2003, Please Transpose, as the four memberswent to on to go solo and form their own groups.
THE REUNION CONCERT. Middle of this year, the much talked about reunion concert was finally and officially announced.It was to be free of charge to be staged on August 30 at the Cultural Center ofthe Philippines open grounds, with the Global City Open Field at The Fort as analternative venue. It was initially reported that a big tobacco corporationwould shoulder all the costs. Rumors ran rampant on how much they were paid forthis reunion concert—from P2.5 million each to a whopping P10 million per band member of the Eheads.
On August 22, the concert was immediately scrapped as the powerfullobbyists for the anti-tobacco campaign put pressure on the tobacco corporationto pull out its sponsorship, but it was the band members themselves who savedthe concert. Raimund officially announced in his blogsite that theconcert will push through as scheduled.
Two days before the concert, August 28, Ely's mother died, but the organizers assured selected members of the press that the event would push through. And a few days before the concert, the development was that the concert would not be open for public. In short, tickets will be sold.
Fans did not mind though as tickets for the only two sections sold to thepublic—P1,300 for Patron and P800 for General Admission—went flying the momentit was sold through Ticket World.
At 6 p.m. last night, the main streets around The Fort were closed due totraffic and parking conditions. The open ground erased the record held by theBeyonce concert early this year.
It was divided into four sections with no seats, the 30,000-capacitygeneral admission, the 20,000-capacity patron, the 8,000-capacity by invitationonly VIP section and the 5,000-capacity Super VIP. It was filled to the rimwith more than 10,000 people just outside the closed venue willing to justlisten to the band sing their songs.
Among the celebrities spotted by PEP (Philippine Entertainment Portal) inthe VIP section were sisters Alessandra and Assunta de Rossi, Luis Alandy,Phoemela Barranda, Dennis Trillo, Michelle Madrigal, Luke Jickain, Bianca Lapus, and Bubbles Paraiso. Karen delos Reyes and director LyleSacris were in the SVIP area. In the Patron area, we saw Ako Si Kim Samsoon castmember Marcus Madrigal, among others.
AN UNEXPECTED FINISH. The concert started almost immediately at 8:30 p.m. against the ticket timeat 8 p.m., a rarity in any local event. With no front act and no introductionat all save for the announcement of their band, the Eheads opened the first setwith "Alapaap" finished by fireworks to the delight of the over 60,000audience.
With no spiels at all and hardly a break, the band proceeded to singfourteen more songs—"Ligaya," "Sembreak," "Hey Jay," "Harana," "Fruitcake," "Toyang,""Kailan," "Shake Your Head," "Torpedo," "With A Smile," "Huwag Mo Nang Itanong,"plus three other songs—before it was announced that there will be a 20-minutebreak before the second set.
It was a performance of a lifetime as Ely sang all the 15 songs with histhree former bandmates backing him up. There was hardly anything emotional forthe members though as they just continued playing one hit after another, eventhough the crowds of both VIP and Patron were shouting "group hug!" after everysong.
The timer started at 9:35 p.m. but no one returned at 10 p.m., fiveminutes past the allocated 20-minute break. At 10:10 p.m., Marcus, Raimund, andBuddy returned onstage with a lady who was introduced by Marcus as Lally, Ely's sister
Lally became the bearer of news: "Thank you for supporting the reunion concert of Eraserheads. We,however, regret to inform you that due to my brother's poor health, the emotionaland physical stress that he's been experiencing, we apologize for cutting theconcert short. My brother Ely had to be rushed to the hospital for medicalattention. Again, we apologize and thank you all for coming here tonight."
Next to speak was the concert producer, who confirmed that Ely wasimmediately rushed to the hospital during the break and asking for prayers andunderstanding from the audience.
There was no commotion, no shouting, and no hissing from the audience asthey all quietly and sadly left the venue after the announcement.
Ely was brought to Makati Medical Center. It was earlier thought that he wouldundergo a bypass operation but a source told PEP that no such thing happened; Ely just experienced stress and fatigue.
A report reached PEP (Philippine Entertainment Portal) past midnight that the vocalist of the famous '90s band would be transferred to Philippine Heart Center.
To date, no further notice was made on whether another Eraserheads reunion concert would be slated again or not.