And just like that, it’s the ‘90s once again.
An overwhelming 75,000-strong crowd filled the entire SMDC Festival Concert Grounds in Paranaque City Thursday 22 December as music of iconic OPM band Eraserheads thundered over frenzied fans who waited more than a decade to see the guys one last time during the “Huling El Bimbo” concert.
The historic reunion of original members Ely Buendia (lead vocals) Raimond Marasigan (drums), Buddy Zabala (bass guitar) and Marcus Adoro (lead guitarist) transported fans back in time as their nostalgic generational mega hits played all through the night.
The concert that started at 8:30 pm lasted for over three and a half hours.
As it is the reunion of the country’s best loved alternative rock band, the set design had to be just as equally monumental. Fittingly, the stage was enveloped with massive LED screens that featured graphics for each song.
Towering above it all was a massive inverted letter “E” that glowed colorfully.
It was just one for the books.
Opening the concert’s first set were DJ pairs The Diegos who performed a good dose of yester jams.
And thereafter, all four of the Eraserheads were up on one stage once again and for a starter, opened a rocker performance of “Superproxy” which featured Elmo Magalona and Eon Buendia. But what killed it was the hologram appearance of the late Master Rapper Francis M who recorded the hit duet with the band.
After that, nostalgia feels was through the roof as Ely mumbled, “It’s been a long time, we’ve been to different places, seen different faces but now it’s time, we’re going back to you.”
And fans answered this with deafening screams.
Then they made a quick succession of songs “Back2Me,” “Waiting for the Bus,” “Fine Time,” and “Kamasupra.”
As they further progressed to their iconic old school jams, fans were going wild.
Performing many of their songs from their 1995 album “Cutterpillow,” fans screamed every word especially when the band went in for the road trip classic “Overdrive.”
Marasigan would take over the vocals from time to time for songs “Slo-Mo” and “Paru-parung NingNing.”
Fans roared again when the band played “Torpedo” but they were in for a treat yet again during the song “Huwag Mo Nang Itanong.” It was in the middle of this performance that Ely took off his shades and showed his face.
Also Included in the first set were “Poorman’s Grave” and “Yoko.”
Ely concluded the first set with a solo of the song “Fill Her” still from the album.
Besides The Diegos returning, fans were surprised by a powerhouse performance from the University of the Philippines (UP) Pep Squad.
It was, in a lot of ways, a tribute to UP, their alma mater, as Eraserheads would not have been where they are today had they not crossed paths on campus back in their college years.
Serving some real sentimental blast, the second set opened with photos, videos and even old recordings of Eraserheads. This was followed by songs “Bogchi Hokbu” and “Pop Machine.”
Teasing the crowds even more, Ely said “Hello again, welcome to ‘Huling El Bimbo.’ Did you enjoy the first set? Intro pa lang ‘yun.”
Then came ‘90s millennial favorites “Sembreak,” “Sabado” and ”Ligaya.” Right after, Ely’s son Eon and Arkin, another one of Francis M’s sons joined in for the song “Saturn Return.”
Zabala, too, had had his spotlight when he took over for the song “Tama Ka” which he said was “Medyo special [ito] kasi sinulat ng aking now partner in life, mas na-enjoy [ang song] lately.” The bass guitarist was referring to his now wife Earnest Mangulabnan-Zabala.
Ely took it back and thanked the fans for their undying support for the group through the decades.
“It’s great to be back here on stage, with all of you. You’ve inspired us in the darkest times of the pandemic… inspired us to come back. This is for all of you,” he said as music to the Eraserheads classic ballad “With A Smile” set in.
And at its onset, the crowds screamed, raised lights and swayed hands and heads as the song went “let me hear you sayin’… doo doo doo doo.”
Things then took turn as fire blasted on stage to welcome Gary Valenciano and with his ever pure energy, gave the ‘Heads fans a blast.
The second set ended with the controversial song “Spolarium” which featured a haunting guitar solo by Adoro and “Magasin.”
And now it’s time for the real deal.
After a short break, Ely owned the stage briefly and started fiddling music with his guitar. Thereafter, he tuned the notes of “Pare Ko” and the crowd exploded.
As fans were screaming, all the other three joined in.
Among all Eraserheads’ hits, “Pare Ko” was that one song that became the national anthem of a generation. It was such a huge hit it catapulted the group to skyrocketing fame in the early ‘90s.
Amazingly, it too became the bullet that carried the boys from the walls of the legendary defunct Club Dredd until their very final concert gig three decades later.
What’s more, it was also branded as the rebel song of youth because of its iconic cuss lines.
After Ely, Marasigan sang the song’s second verse.
“This has been an amazing journey for us. Thank you for making it happen. It’s time to look at the future, we’re done with the past. Look at your friends and say ‘I love you’,” said Ely, joking that everyone also say “peace be with you,” Ely said.
After playing the hit “Alapaap, they concluded their 30-year journey as Eraserheads with the song “Ang Huling El Bimbo.”
At this point, Ely encouraged everyone to sing along with them.
Indeed a magical moment, fireworks lit up the sky as the song came to its end.
And what would be the most emotional moment for the band’s loyal fans, the four hugged each other and gave their final bow as Eraserheads.
However, many still noticed that other hits such as “Huwag Kang Matakot,” “Para Sa Masa,” “Maselang Bahaghari,” “Fruitcake,” “Tindahan ni Aling Nena” and “Julie Tearjerky” among still many others weren’t included in the 31-song line-up.
Because of the impact left by their music supremacy to their fans for over three decades, many are still hoping that by some miracle, fate would lead the four guys back together and make music once again as Eraserheads.