I just love it when I go to a gig or an event without expecting anything and end up having a great time. The Nuno Bettencourt Guitar Clinic – if we could call it that – is a very good example. And the best thing about it is: IT’S FREE! We even got compli drinks from it. hehe.
Let me put it on record first that save for the song More Than Words by his former band Extreme, I practically know nothing about Nuno Bettencourt. I do know a couple of people who are obsessed with him (one of which is KHguitarist Marc Lopez, said to be the Pinoy Nuno. The other one is Nico Africa of indie band Narda who came with a bag-full of Nuno stuff, his Washburn N4, and his girlfriend, old pal Jovan. Read their own version of the Nuno experience here). While I am interested to check out his guitar clinic coz he’s a famous musician after all – this rose from that fateful Billy Sheehan clinic which I failed to catch and turned out to be the biggest regret I have – I can live without it. However, my friend Rommie asked me if I wanna watch, so I figured, what the hell. Lemme see if he’s all what I’ve heard him to be. Plus, if I get to take pictures, it will be a welcome addition to my photo blog.
I’ll cut to the chase – it wasn’t a ‘clinic’ (coz Nuno said he’s not a doctor. hehe. Funny guy!), it was more like a gig. He brought his band Near Death Experience, and they rocked the four corners of Yupangco Building with their music. If the gear wasn’t sucky, they would’ve kicked major ass some more. What did Nuno say? “Don’t buy anything from…” and we’re all like, “…from???” Yamaha? hehehe! Seriously, the gear sucked and it kinda ruined the performance. Even I, with my untrained poseur ears, can tell. Good thing the band was really good, so they were able to pull it off, anyway. No wonder the sound check took so long (which resulted to us waiting at the super-packed lobby for about an hour and a half. Even longer for some, and shorter for, uh, some privileged ones. More on that later.). The Washburn guy was right when he apologized to us and said it’s taking so long coz Nuno was a perfectionist. He’d (Nuno) actually openly cuss onstage whenever something goes wrong. And since I was near the stage, I can see the frustration in his face whenever that happens. But since he’s a trouper – make that a sarcastic trouper – he’d just make jokes and make everything sound funny, but we can tell he’s serious.
So many things will be said about this gig in other places all over the ‘net, so I won’t go into details anymore and just let the pics talk by itself. But I must say that totally enjoyed it coz not only did they play really really well, Nuno is goddamn witty with his onstage spiels. I didn’t get bored at all (unlike the John Myung clinic where I just felt so so so bored… and he’s a bassist! I totally forgot my love for bass players during that catatonic experience). Basta, after this, I totally love Nuno. Not just him, but his entire band! They’re good musicians, not flashy, and definitely not mayabang. Imagine, they didn’t leave until everyone – and I mean EVERYONE – got something signed and/or had their photos taken with them. And some of them even lined up twice (I personally know two of them. hehe). And this, after playing for about two hours. Gosh. I’ll also never forget him for giving my friend Marissa a seat onstage when she was looking for a place to sit coz her legs were killing her. Marissa, who doesn’t even know who Nuno was, and was totally indifferent for most of the time, including while she’s onstage with the band. I told her afterwards, “Marissa, the entire room would kill just to be where you are, and what did you do? Dedma!” You gotta give it to her, though, for not being intimidated by famous people like Nuno. Well, why should she, when she doesn’t even know the guy. The only thing she knows is the song More Than Words, and she only knew that after I told her it’s the song Kwon Sang Woo sang when he serenaded Kim Tae Hee on top of a table in Stairway to Heaven (yup, it’s the same Marissa who’s a K-addict. However, she listens to bands like Anthrax and was a volunteer for radio station WXB in the 80’s, so it’s not a totally new experience to her). But for someone who was dedma about the entire thing, she actually got the tarpauline Nuno backdrop that everyone was salivating about (another thing about Marissa is that she knows exactly who to talk to about things like this. In this case, the Washburn guy) and even got it signed. Marc-KH got the other one, and that was only because he asked Sir Tom of Yupangco, who was with us in Jakarta during the Asian Beat finals. Well, at least we know Marc is obsessed with Nuno. Marissa doesn’t even know what to do with the tarp (Marissa, one word for you: EBAY).
Here are the pics:
Rockstars in attendance –
Kevin and Jan Roy (Sancho was also there… somewhere.)
Marc Lopez of KinkyHooters (and some other young guitarists)
The Rivermaya guys
“Where have you been??”
Their only acoustic number, which kinda sounded like something Loquy would play (I wonder what Kev and Sancho were thinking during this number).
Cutie Nuno by the speakers. :)
Funky-dresser bass player whose name is Joe Pesci (or at least something that sounds like Joe Pesci).
Nuno seems to be hitting on Marissa… who doesn’t seem to care…
Nasa stage na nga, dedma pa rin!
This guy should thank his friend for embarassing himself by telling Nuno, “he is your idol!” Otherwise, I don’t think Nuno will ever allow him to touch his guitar.
BTW, I also got a couple of video clips (including the entire More Than Words number) even if we were told video-taping the event is prohibited. Don’t you just love those digicams with video clip feature? hehe. However, out of respect to that rule (duh, respect after breaking it. wahehe.), I won’t be posting them here. (aw, cut that crap. I’m not posting it coz it’s a huge file, it will take up space and bandwith, plus I was caught on tape singing on top of my lungs during More Than Words. That’s too embarassing to post on the ‘net.)
Pics from the autograph signing (I still can’t get over the fact that these guys gave EVERYONE a chance to have their moment with them!):
The drummer striking a pose for me…
Rommie with the band
Marissa with the band (yup, she pretty much cares about them by this time)
The bandstalker with the band
The bandstalker with Nuno.
Photo op with the Nuno tarp.
NOW, FOR THE REAL HIGHLIGHT…
I have my own personal Nuno moment that I bet no one can top (well, the only two who can top this are Marissa and Rommie coz they were there, too). We met him at the most unexpected place in the world: IN THE LADIES’ ROOM. You’re probably thinking, what, Nuno is actually a girl? Nope. Here’s the story:
We three were in the bathroom fixing ourselves (coz being stuck in the crowded lobby for about 2 hours made us look half-human) when suddenly, the bald road manager took a peek at the ladies’ room. We thought he was lost or somethin’, but he said he just needed some toilet paper (side comment: these guys are CLEAN!). Then a few moments later, the Washburn guy came with Nuno himself. Apparenly, the roadie was sort of the ‘advance party’. I asked them if they needed toilet paper, too (by that time, the roll was almost out), but instead, they asked – politely, if I may stress – if Nuno can use the bathroom for a few minutes coz the men’s room is crowded (this is one of those rare moments when there’s actually a line at the men’s room while the ladies’ room is almost deserted). From what we saw, Nuno looked kinda sick. Actually, he did say during the gig that he’s not feeling well because of the weather. But Rommie, the witch with a capital B that she is, not to mention dense, said something along the lines of “could you wait till I’m finished”. Now normally, if a celebrity asked you for a favor, you’d stop anything just to give way to that celebrity. Especially if you know and like that celebrity. In Rommie’s case, she was the one who asked us to attend the guitar clinic with her, so it’s not like she’s like Marissa who’s dedma about Nuno the entire time. So for her to say that to Nuno was kinda hilarious. So anyway, Nuno and the Washburn guy begged us to give way, so Rommie gave way, but not before asking Nuno if we could take a pic with him in exchange for using the bathroom (hah, nice thinking, sis!). He agreed – I just don’t know if he agreed coz we’re taking the bathroom hostage and he needs it pretty badly. At the time, someone was still in one of the cubicles. It turned out to be BrutalGrace of Pulp, who later on asked if she could join with the photo op. I said sure, but she left before Nuno got out. I dunno why. We, however, patiently waited even if the Washburn guy said it could take a while coz, well, Marissa still needed to use the bathroom to change shirts. The guy was probably thinking, wow, these girls JUST.WOULDN’T.LEAVE. But hey, it’s not like we’re groupies, noh! We were really there for the bathroom, not for the rockstar! Marissa couldn’t care less coz she doesn’t know Nuno! And Rommie who even asked Nuno to wait till she’s finished? Well, in her words: “eh ano kung rockstar sya, Nuno Bettencourt lang sya noh! Ang mga nakakahalubilo ko, si Sting lang naman!” Folks, she’s not lying. She really did rub elbows with the likes of Sting, Phil Collins and Pearl Jam when she was still with Warner, Phils. And me, well, I know who he is but as I said, I can live without him. I just needed something to put on this blog. :) But anyway, Nuno gladly obliged for a photo op, and later on he showed how gracious and down to earth he is during the autograph signing, so now we love him. As I’ve always said, no matter how excellent an artist is, if he’s a total ass, he’s nothing to me. Nuno is an excellent guitarist, he’s famous, and he’s nice. That’s a gazillion pogi points in my book.
The bathroom scene:
NOW, FOR THE UGLY PART…
What did I just say? No matter how excellent an artist is, if he’s a total ass, he’s nothing to me?
To those ‘rockstars’ who made ‘singit’ while everyone else waited for HOURS in the crowded lobby for the Yupangco doors to open: guys, what’s up with that?? You just lost my respect. Come to think of it, you probably lost EVERYONE’s respect in that room. You know who you are.
On the other hand, these guys: Sancho, Mike and Angelo Villegas, and the always lovable Kevin Roy just earned several notches of respect in my book. They patiently waited in line when they could’ve used their ‘rockstar status’ to get ahead of the pack. When the ‘rakstar singiteros’ did their thing, several people in the crowd sniggered, and Kevin – being the most noticeable guy there – was asked several times (I was one of those who asked) why he wasn’t out in front like the rest of the rockstars. He said, why should he when Sancho and the Villegas brothers were also lining up properly like everyone else? I swear, this guy never ceases to amaze me. Because of that, I shall therefore declare my undying devotion to Kevin Roy. Dude, you are THE MAN.