IN September this year, the Eraserheads members posted a logo of a reversed letter “E” on their social media platforms. The post sparked a viral conversation revolving around the band’s possible reunion. Three months later, fan’s hopes are coming true with the holding of The Eraserheads: Huling El Bimbo concert on Dec. 22, 8:30 p.m. at the SMDC Festival Grounds at Parañaque City.
Band members Ely Buendia (lead vocals and rhythm guitar), Buddy Zabala (bass guitar and backing vocals), Raimund Marasigan (drummer and backing vocals), and Marcus Adoro (lead guitar and backing vocals) will perform together that night for the first time in eight years.
“I thought I would be sick of the journey by now, so far it still has been full of surprises,” lead vocalist Ely Buendia said of the reunion with the band, at a press conference at the Dolphy Theater in Quezon City on Dec. 7.
TheEraserheads were formed when the band members were students at the University of the Philippines-Diliman. The band rose to fame in the 1990s with a series of hit songs such as “Ang Huling El Bimbo,” “Magasin,” “Ligaya,” “Pare Ko,” “Alapaap,” and “With a Smile.” The group disbanded in 2002.
In 2008, they reunited for one-night concert, but Buendia — who had been suffering from heart problems for some time — collapsed during the show and the performance was halted midway. The reunion concert pushed through in 2009. Occasional appearances by the band were held in 2012 and 2014.
“The past 30 years has been full of many detours for each of us. I think the stuff that we’ve learned the past 30 years on our own, we will bring in on Dec. 22…,” bass guitarist Buddy Zabala said during the press conference. “I think we’ve matured as musicians. I think we’ve matured as performers.”
ORCHESTRA, HOLOGRAM, AND GARY VThe concert repertoire will include their greatest hits plus never-performed before songs which were recorded for their previous albums. They will be backed by an 18-piece orchestra, and be joined onstage for certain songs by the late Francis Magalona via hologram, and “Mr. Pure Energy” Gary Valenciano.
“One thing that I was nervous about coming into the project was working with the E-heads, I wasn’t sure what that dynamic would be like,” concert director Paolo Valenciano (the son of Gary Valenciano) said.
“I’ve worked with divas in the past and a lot of them have given me headaches — I won’t name names,” said the director. “I thought [that] I would be working with a bunch of rockstars that would be giving me a hard time wanting this and that, but surprisingly it’s been very easy working with the band.”
The concert sold out in early October, and then additional tickets and a new General Admissions seated section was announced later in the same month. On Nov. 9, it was announced that the venue had been expanded to accommodate more audience members.
“Para sa manonood (For those watching), get a very good night’s sleep. Get there on time. Get your phones charged. Paghandaan niyo (Prepare for it),” lead guitarist Marcus Adoro advised concert goers.
“We want it to be a good show. We fight for things that we think would make it a good show,” drummer Raimund Marasigan said.
Mr. Marasigan said that the band has requested more portable toilets, places to buy food and drinks, designated places for seniors, and a room for children.
“We asked for things like streaming services… We asked for more space in SMDC so there is more space opening, [and] more tickets so we can get more people in to catch the show,” Mr. Marasigan said.
The Eraserheads: Huling El Bimbo will be livestreamed on iWantTFC for $29.99 (https://app.iwanttfc.com/HulingElBimboConcert2022) with the link available to view within 48 hours for viewers outside the Philippines. Smart Communications, Inc. is also offering live pay-per-view access via the new Smart LiveStream App for P650 (smart.com.ph/livestream). The concert is alsoavailable on pay-per-view on Cignal TV for P650 (https://cignal.tv/article/2966/eraserheads-huling-el-bimbo-ppv).
Despite the band’s individual detours in the past years, performing live for the fans is never exhausting.
“Hindi nakakapagod pero napapagod kami (It is not tiring, but we get tired too) because we are not as young as we used to be,” Mr. Marasigan said about the energy and screaming when playing live. “But we can’t help it. When you play rock and roll, it cannot just be 20% it has to be 110%.”
“We wanted to make sure that the fans are happy… and then, at the same time, there are songs they have not done ever that — I’ve seen them at rehearsals — it makes them happy,” director Mr. Valenciano said.
“It really is going to be a night to remember for music fans and E-heads fans,” he said.
Concert promoter Francis Lumen said that there plans to bring the concert on tour overseas for the Filipino audience abroad. A documentary on the making of the reunion concert is also in production. — Michelle Anne P. Soliman