Bloc Party Live in Manila: the concert experience everything else will be measured against

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Last March 22 finally saw Bloc Party playing a concert in Manila: the culmination of years of wishing, hoping, and crazy dreaming of even going abroad just to see them play. I was introduced to this band back in 2007 (they’d already come out with “Silent Alarm” and “A Weekend in the City”) and they’ve been a favorite of mine ever since. Considering that “Banquet” is the only song of theirs I’ve heard on mainstream radio, I didn’t hold out much hope that they’d ever come here and play. You can only imagine the happy dance that went on once it was confirmed that they’d be playing here. I planned my March days off by late December to make sure I’d be able to watch it.

The concert was supposed to start at 8pm, with the gates opening at 6:30. Adrian wanted to be there by 5pm and I’d join him by 6. I hitched with Danes and her sister going to World Trade Center but despite our best efforts, we ended up getting there by 7pm due to traffic and someone who arrived late. Adrian also got there by 7:15 because of last-minute work issues. It turned out okay though because there were very few people already inside the venue. It was shocking, really. Adrian’s bandmate Dax had saved us a spot near the barricade up front. Our spot: the barricade, the first line of people, then us. WOW.

Up Dharma Down opened the show at around 8:20pm – almost on time! They played five songs off their latest album “Capacities”, an album I need to listen to more often. Yikes. After their set came another 45 minutes to an hour of waiting (and enduring hurting feet) for Bloc Party to finally play. The good news? THEY WERE WORTH THE WAIT.

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Words to describe the show: Frenetic. Loud. Breathtaking. Exhausting. Moshpit-starting. Sweat-inducing. My god, what a GLORIOUS CONCERT.

Kele and Matt. Since I haven’t watched any concert footage, finding out that Matt plays shirtless was a (pleasant) surprise. Not bad there, buddy. Not bad at all.
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Russell in his power stance.
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More shirtless Matt. Damn the too-tall person in front of me.
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Gordon looking like a cool dad.
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Took this using my iPhone. No zoom used here. We were THAT close. *faints*
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This photo would have been my favorite of the night if it had included all four of them. I loved the lights design!

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Curtain call! Fantastic end to an unbelievable night. Ending with “Helicopter” got my blood pumping and had me wanting to crawl out of my skin. HARGGGHH. Handed my camera over to Dax for this photo because he’s freakishly tall and thus had a greater chance of taking a good photo.
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blocparty7_setlist_smallCheck out the setlist! They played a total of 21 songs – the setlist doesn’t include “So Here We Are”, which was the first song they played for the first encore. The setlist in the photo is Russell’s – you can even see his footprint on it! πŸ˜› No, I didn’t get the setlist πŸ™ The one who got it was nice enough to let people take pictures of it/with it.

The best moments for me:

  1. “Hunting for Witches” – my second-favorite Bloc Party song. LOVE the sarcasm delivered with a straight face.
  2. “Waiting for the 7:18” – for everyone stuck in a rut and wishing they did things differently. Induced tears and borderline depression.
  3. “Banquet” – just because. Tied with “Helicopter” as my third-favorite.
  4. “The Prayer” – usually nicknamed “The Loser Song” but I look at it as a song for empowerment
  5. “So Here We Are” – because of my current state of mind. Bonus: Kele LOOKED at Adrian and NODDED at him in acknowledgement. Made his night.
  6. “This Modern Love” – just because.
  7. “Flux” – because life feels like this sometimes.
  8. “Sunday” – because quiet love speaks volumes.
  9. “Helicopter” – because it gets me all high and jumpy whenever I hear it.

I admit that I need more time with “Four” before I fully appreciate it, though I loved them starting off with “So He Begins to Lie”. This setlist would have been perfect (at least for me) if they’d included “I Still Remember”. It’s my favorite Bloc Party song and I guarantee tears would have been shed if they’d played this.

Aside from the obvious happiness involved in seeing one of your favorite bands live, there’s also extra happiness when you meet up with friends afterwards. In this case, Adrian met up with his friends. He’s offering free entrance to their next gig if you can identify the three bands represented in this photo πŸ˜€ My friends were all in the Gold section so I missed them going out.

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blocparty9_us_smallSide note: Adrian wore this shirt because Bloc Party is a British band. Go figure. I set aside money for concert merch but didn’t like any of the shirts they had for sale πŸ™ Ah well. Next time!!! πŸ˜€

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