In the aftermath of the last Eraserheads concert ever, I take time to write how the Eraserheads and their songs were a memorable part of my college days. Plus a few musings on the Eraserheads Final Set last Saturday.
I remember my brother telling me a story of his first encounter with the Eraserheads. The event I’m about to share happened before the Eraserheads gained popularity upon releasing their first album Ultraelectromagneticpop.
In June 1990, the Eraserheads performed at the Freshman orientation program. The freshmen didn’t know them. The eheads had a cult following in UP, but not much beyond that.
After singing their allotted three songs, they continued to play a 4th and 5th song. They were singing originals – nothing familiar to these freshmen. The audience started to boo, the Eraserheads were asked to step down and give way to the next band in line.
Little did the audience know that just one year later, the Eraserheads would start breaking all records and make history as the most successful band in the country’s history.
A college friend, Nats, was a housemate of two of the eheads in Teacher’s Village. She used to tell us how there would be teenage girls who would walk past the front of their house, hoping to have a “sighting” of the eheads.
One time, we dropped by for Nats for a trip to my hometown. When we got to their house, lo and behold, it was Buddy Zabala helping Nats with her bag. I was starstruck, but didn’t want to show it. So we waved goodbye to Buddy and he waved back. As soon as we drove off, I told Nats:
“Gusto ko sanang sabihin kay Buddy (sing with me): “Mag-da-drive kami hanggang Baguio!!!!”
The Eraserheads Final Set
I missed the “first” last concert of the eheads. When I heard what had happened to Ely in the first concert, I made a promise to myself that I shall watch their “second” last concert.
And I was there last Saturday. When the concert began, it was touching watching the video of the eraserheads, showing clips of how they started and what they had to do to reach these heights.
In one clip, Raimund shared (loosely quoted):
Hindi naman “sa isang idlap lang andyan na ang Eraserheads”.
Ginapang namin ang Eraserheads.
Dugo’t pawis ang binigay namin para sa Eraserheads.
One of the highlights of the concert: Marcus’ reggae rendition of “Hwag mo nang itanong”
Katulad ng buhay natin sa mahabang pilang mabagal at walang kachuchuran
Hahahaha! :D Ang kwela mo, Marcus! It was so funny, as if nangangantiyaw: “’Di ko sasabihin!”
Raimund’s presence on stage was so strong even though he was at the back and behind the drumset. He exuded energy and passion for the music, for the band, for the fans. I watched him on screen and felt his music. Ang sarap panuurin.
After the concert, Raimund’s SUV drove by SM Hypermart. He opened the window, stuck out his head and torso to wave to the fans. You know he loves his fans. Ang galing mo, Raimund!
Buddy was the one who was always smiling. After Raimund and Marcus took their turn singing lead for their songs, I wanted to hear Buddy sing lead too! Why didn’t he? Oh well, his smile and his second voice was enough. We know he’ll be playing his guitar for a long time to come. He loves the music and it’s in his eyes. He was enjoying the concert.
Was it Buddy who called back the audience, called back Ely and Marcus after Huling El Bimbo?
Ely’s sadness was … sad. When he started to give away memorabilia (and the others didn’t), I felt how ready Ely was to retire from the eheads. He looked tired. He looked like he was giving his final farewell.
When Ely started burning of the sticker happy piano – it felt like a cremation. It was moving. It was sad. You could feel the end, the finite-ness of the moment. This Eraserheads concert is never going to happen again.
Ely gave his salute to the audience and presented, for the last time, “The Eraserheads!”
The group-hug was wonderful. Karla labeled one of her photos “Almost a group hug” (borrowed here from Karla).
You know, to me it WAS a group hug. After all is said and done, at least for that moment, they were friends. It was beautiful.
Bitin ba kayo? Kami rin!
The “three for the road” songs were beautiful too. The last three songs were un-rehearsed. You knew it wasn’t just an act. They truly really wanted to sing more, if only for just one more night and for just three more songs. It was so spontaneous. They loved the music and couldn’t let go just like that.
And I do too. I love your music, The Eraserheads! Thank you for capturing in lyrics and in melody what I had felt and lived during our college and post-college days!
Your music is an indelible part of our lives.
walang pangamba, ligaya!