This is the text that started it all (background is Keidis et al doing their thing).
A good friend texted me that on the evening of the 22nd explaining the original owner, another friend of ours, was unable to go, and instead of selling his two tickets opted to give it to him instead. It took a few texts back and forth to confirm he wasn’t shitting me before I said yes.
Here’s a bunch of pics. We arrived around 1pm of Sunday, the 23rd, and the last day of the 2 day event.
the place started filling up as it got dark. By the time RHCP prepared to get onstage around 1030 it was absolutely crushing with people. We were so packed we could read each other’s texts in fact Gerald was giving me a blow by blow account of a girl’s text conversation with her mom in front of him.
I was about 30 feet away from the stage and it was really claustrophobic. Plus people were smoking left and right and I couldn’t help coughing from all that smoke.
Best I could do with my camera sorry.
Here’s the layout. We parked at the ‘VIP Parking’, but the marshals just let anyone park anywhere. Those who parked at the gen ad parking could’ve (and should’ve) parked where we were since no one seemed to check anyway.
‘Vip Admission’ and ‘VIP Table’ as described below was not true, because while apparently we had VIP bracelets (even ‘MEDIA’ bracelets), there were apparently different types of VIP because these places were reserved for them and we weren’t allowed in.
- The quality of the other bands clearly pale in comparison to the main draw, RHCP. This was clear the first time everyone learned about the Concert and about 1000x more obvious on the day itself. So if you’ve never heard of the other bands and can’t spare the time, you can essentially skip the other bands, get over there 10pm of the 23rd when they start their set, and you’ll get your P25k worth right there.I’m not knocking Lamar Kendrick and yes, even the bombastic Empire of the Sun, but who are they compared to one of the most iconic rock groups in history?
- Speaking of Empire of the Sun, did I mention they were bombastic? Because damn they are just crazy over the top out there. I’m talking sun – rays like headgear, Freddie Mercury inspired get ups for everyone, back up dancers that remind me of Daft Punk with skin suits and space suit helmets and enough smoke machine action to put an Edsa bus to shame.If they didn’t play their signature ‘Walking On A Dream’ and ‘Alive’ they’d entertain you anyway with the amount of attention to detail put in their costume and effects. The guy even burned his guitar. I mean, who does that anymore in this decade?
- The only other memorable act other than Kendrick and Empire was a small band with a guy doing electric guitar solos around 2pm. He was so good he had me totally mesmerized, and a few other people were really starting to pay attention. He hardly spoke and didn’t sing, but the place was shredded with his amazing tunes. From the playlist I think it’s Pulso. We need to keep an eye on this band because what they lack in everything else they more than make up for with their simple, pure and tremendous sound.
- The worst band was that Malaysian one, with the lead singer sprinkling a ton of unnecessary f-bombs at the start and end of his sentences. Now, I happen to be very good at swearing. I can tell if someone is faking it or not and this guy was just selling it for sure. I suppose not a lot of people bought it because their gig was the shortest. As per Gerald, these guys were ‘pang Cowboy Grill’.
- Up Dharma Down and Rocksteddy were alright albeit I may not have been paying as much attention since I didn’t get my mind blown as much as I thought despite these two very capable bands. Red Jumpsuit Apparatus whom I was unfamiliar with immediately came across as a Christian band with their not – quite – there rock sound, and it turned out I was right. Apart from rare occasions like Jars of Clay Christian or religious based bands I think don’t appeal to me, possibly because it doesn’t make sense that music would adhere to any particular sect.
- I can’t end this without mentioning how absolutely perfect the sound system was. I think there were some instruments and microphone issues but other than that you can hear absolutely clear, spectacular sound from near the stage all the way to the back about 300 meters away. This is great because the people at the back were getting hit by the sound every bit as well as the guys up front, so if you wanna enjoy this thing lying on your back on a cot looking at the stars, and skip the mosh pit up front, you can.
- Seeing Flea do his thing is stunning. This guy right in front of my eyes, I reminded myself, is the God of the Bass Guitar Himself shirtless and in person, wrecking and smashing our freaking minds out. In between songs he would freestyle like I’ve never seen, jumping and jiving like a jazz musician would with a trumpet or a piano. The spotlight would shine on him and as he strums, in my mind he’s the only other person in the whole of Clark field itself.Out from that great brain along with his heart, to the nerves of his arms, through his fingers, to that guitar and straight to our hearts we were feeling the pure soul of a true musical genius, and I would almost feel bad that a song was about to come.This was genuine stuff like what rock dreams are made of, and I hoped that the kids that surrounded me would experience what I had first experienced in the 90’s upon hearing ‘Blood Sugar Sex Magik’ and later on ‘Californication’.When a great musician rocks, It’s both complicated and simple, both fluid and solid, both a shout to thousands of fans, and a deep personal feeling for an individual. That’s the best of the best right up there kids. Don’t just bop your head. Feel it. Absorb it. Love it.
When RHCP finally came on we had already been standing and sitting on the same spot for almost five hours in 18 degree wind, smothered in smoke from cigarettes and weed. There was a surge of energy when they started, but 7 or so songs later we decided we just couldn’t handle it anymore, and it was a little too much as well for Ge’s eldest boy and first time big concert goer Lian.
We retreated to the rear and after we took a leak we decided to split early, which made terrific sense after we saw the cars parked three deep along a confusing, dark and winding path towards the exit.
Security at that same time opened the gates and a handful of kids who had been watching from the top of a Coke delivery truck were allowed in shrieking with delight. I felt happy for them and wished I could feel the same, but we were spent. After a quick dinner at a place near the Clark entrance we took off, and I got home a quarter to 4am.
At the end of the day I felt myself hoping that this Festival worked, and that the mysterious organizers cashed in on their grand spectacle of a project. We agreed that if they could do this on an annual basis they may not have to necessarily blow the budget on a hall of fame band like RHCP, or the Stones or Aerosmith or any of those guys. Just maybe guys old – but – still – touring guys like AC DC, Green Day, or 90’s anthem guys like the Goo Goo Dolls, Weezer, or Cake or that sort of thing, and maybe throw in some British old guys like Morrissey, New Order (both still tour), Depeche Mode, or the like. And maybe more hiphop names, like Pharell, or the still touring JJ Fad(!), then maybe they can pull it off again.
As for the local front, I can’t think of a festival worth its name without PNE, so they were sorely missed. Throw in Rivermaya or whatever’s left of it, Imago, Sandwich, Gloc 9, a few legends like Mike Hanopol and Yano, or The Youth or whoever represents it still, and all those tons of good – near – great bands (6Cyclemind, Calalilly, is Siakol still around?), and you’d make a worth while p8.5k ticket that people can save up for right there.
Whatever the case, this Festival worked, 90% because of RHCP. Instead of moping on Facebook that I couldn’t go just like 99% of the population, I had a mind blowing fun time reconnecting with a great great friend and I enjoyed myself watching a band and a bass player I had dreamed of watching since my 20s. If this happens again next year and if I learn of it early enough, I will surely come back with the wife.