Aftermath: #ThankYouFor30 Cebuana Lhuillier 30th Anniversary Concert – Davao
20 October 2017 – USEP Gymnasium, Davao City
This blog entry is almost a week late. Apologies for the delay; family matters and getting inflicted with the flu after the Davao trip got in the way. But I know that a few people have been waiting for me to blog this, so here it is.
First of all, let me just commend Cebuana Lhuillier and the people of Davao for the very organized handling of the crowd. I arrived at the venue at around 3:45pm thinking that I probably will be fighting tooth and nail for a good seat. Surprisingly, there was no queue yet. In fact, I was first in line at the VIP section. It seems the locals are not fond of queuing early; the ones who were at the venue way ahead of showtime were the ones from Manila and other provinces. I was afraid that there will be chaos when they had to divide our line into two to avoid crowding the gates too much, but the ushers assured us that our queue will be let in first even if one of the guards said that both lines will be let in at the same time. Some people in our queue (including myself) were like, no. freakin. way. In the end, the usher kept his promise and our queue got in ahead of the other line with no complaints whatsoever, so it’s all good.
Once inside, I was expecting people to come rushing in but nothing of that sort happened. However, there was a bit of a confusion because the usher led me to a row somewhere in the middle of the VIP section, marked as “CLIENTS”. I was about to take a seat when I saw the fan clubs making a beeline towards the front and I was like, am I missing something? So I approached another usher, showed him my ticket and asked where I should go. He replied, “kanino po galing ang ticket n’yo?” (who gave you your ticket?) Me: “kay Alden po.” (Alden gave it to me.) That’s not a joke, nor was I being feelingera. My ticket really came from Alden’s camp. He told me to follow him, and I was led towards the 9th row from the stage where I found a couple of friends from one of the FCs. They told me to sit with them.
When I checked the tags behind our seats, this is what I found:
Well, that’s Alden for you. He considers his fans as family.
Let’s cut to the chase and go straight to the actual concert. The show kicked off with a tribal dance, then some introductory videos about Cebuana Lhuillier. It’s actually the same show that they staged at Mall of Asia, but with a different artists line-up and no JaDine. First to take the stage was balladeer Mark Bautista.
Amusing side story: I was at their hotel earlier that afternoon and I didn’t realize until I saw Mark onstage that the guy whom I snubbed at the lobby was Mark Bautista. I stood beside him at the lobby for a few minutes and I was thinking, this guy looks like Mark Bautista. Apparently, it WAS Mark Bautista. Ooops. Mark sang three songs to the delight of the audience, especially when he took off his coat and his biceps took the spotlight.
After Mark came Ronnie Liang, who took the tribute segment that was assigned to Rey Valera at the MoA show.
One thing I can say about Ronnie Liang: dude sure can dish out the fan service.
I actually was taken aback when I saw this, as it was my first time to see him perform and he didn’t look like he’s the type who’d excel at audience interaction. It was a pleasant surprise.
Then came the duo of Julian Trono and Ella Cruz, kicking off with their Versace On The Floor dance routine.
They seem to have a good following in Davao based on the audience reaction when they took the stage. Then again, when I think about it, the Davao audience was basically a very responsive lot. You can’t figure out if the crowd is predominantly Alden or Sarah; the entire audience gave an equally positive response towards all the performers that night. Everyone was in high spirits the entire time.
Next up: Alden Richards.
It’s kinda weird that I’ve seen Alden so many times in the past two years, but my excitement has always been the same. I still get starstruck every single time; in fact, I saw him at the hotel lobby that same afternoon and I just ogled at him that I totally FAILED to take a decent footage. All I got was a photo of his back. At the show, he took the stage and it took a while for me to focus my camera because I was, once again, ogling at him. What the heck, really.
At one point during the boyband medley, he went down the stage and took a beeline towards the middle aisle to get closer to the audience. As expected, the crowd went wild. I felt people literally climbing over me as I was trying to steady my camera to take photos. Fortunately, the Cebuana ushers and security people were very alert and was able to take control of the crowd situation without any mishaps.
After Alden came Popstar Royalty Sarah Geronimo, kicking off her set with my favorite, Kilometro.
I don’t know if it’s because I got a better angle this time compared to the MoA show, but Sarah looked exceptionally FIERCE at the Davao show. She was a delight to photograph. I just found myself clicking away as she was performing her five songs with so much energy and attitude. I think about half of the total photos I took from the whole concert were Sarah’s. Check out the gallery below and see for yourself.
Of course, the climax of the show was the Sarah-Alden duet of Shape Of You and Salamat.
I don’t know exactly what was the ‘weather’ up there on that stage. Mark took off his coat, and so did Sarah. In the end, Alden not only took off his jacket. He even threw it away.
Hello, there, Mr. Biceps.
I had a great time at the Davao leg of the #ThankYouFor30 series. Looking back, I now regret not going to Cebu because I heard it was the best one of the three. Considering how good the other two were, I sigh to imagine what I missed. Still, it was an awesome experience seeing such amazing performers in one stage and I really am very grateful to Alden’s exceptional management team for granting me this opportunity. More to come, I hope.
And lastly, SALAMAT MULI, Cebuana Lhuillier, for putting up this wonderful show.
Alden had an impromptu mini-fanmeet after the concert. You gotta admire this guy: surely he’s tired from working practically all day, but he still took time to meet his supporters and mingled with us for a few minutes. This quality of Alden’s is the reason why I’m still here despite all the rough times. This is the reason why I’d dare go to faraway places to support him even if I’m alone. Because I know that with Alden, I’m never really alone.