It’s half past one in the morning, Manila time. The whole family’s sleeping soundly, nestled comfortably in their beds. I am the last one up, as I anxiously await the Crazy 8 Sales that are about to start in my Kitty network. It certainly helps that I am not the least bit sleepy. The truth is, I’ve been running on less than four hours of sleep a day for the last three nights and I am surprised that I have not turned the least bit batty!
I think I can say outright that I can lay the responsibility for my insomnia to the Alicia Keys concert I attended last Tuesday night at SMX, Mall of Asia. I still have a big hang-over from all the partying that went on that night. If the Daughtry concert rocked my world, this one literally blew me out of my socks!
I wasn’t expecting much really. For one, the concert started really, really late, way past the announced 8 pm. Ms. Keys was onstage just a little before ten, and while the front acts (Luke Mijares and Duncan Ramos- they were good too) tried their best to tied the crowd over, the wait was already too long. Imagine the sacrifice and effort it took to get there, only to be asked to wait again, and I was almost ready to call it quits that night. From my part of the city to the Mall of Asia, what should have been a leisurely 30 to 45 minute drive turned out to be frenzied Speed Racer driving at rush hour.
Then, too, the venue seemed hastily put together. It was cramped and uncomfortable. To be fair, the concert was originally slated for an open air venue (SM MoA parking lot between building south, the sacred heart shrine and SMX) but because of the torrential rains the past days, it had to be moved indoors. I wish they had moved it to the Araneta Coliseum instead; the seats would’ve been more bearable. (Notice how I keep complaining about the seats? Ohh, my aching bones…)
Still, not considering its technical shortcomings, this was one of the best concerts I’ve been to this year. And to think that until I heard Alicia Keys in person that night, I was not even a fan. A had loaded my iPod with her albums a few weeks before so I’d have more of an empathy for the show, but I kept forgetting to listen to them. He really had to exercise his persuasive skills to convince me to come that night, and it was only the thought of some alone time with him that made me change my mind. Well, am I glad I did!
Before I share some photos taken of the event, I wanted to put this in. I found this from a thread of the concert at the Philippine Macintosh Users Group (aka PhilMUG) forum. It comes from member courtside3 (who echoed my exact sentiments):
“As has been noted, the Alicia Keys concert ranks among the best so far this year. Her performance was worth every centavo of the already reasonably priced tickets. Props to MTV Philippines for bringing her back to Manila. And the good news is that she promised to return anew.
“As booblanco pointed out, however, the SMX Convention Center was cramped. In fact, concertgoers were packed like sardines, compelled to sit in round monoblock chairs that were tied together. In all the concerts I’ve gone to, the only setup more physically restrictive was that of Daughtry’s at Eastwood City, where there wasn’t even any legroom to speak of between rows of seats (and we were in the so-called “VIP” section). It’s a good thing Keys was so good; my wife and I couldn’t help but dance to her hits, and thus ended up using the seats sparingly.
“Clearly, the SMX isn’t built to host a concert. In the “Gold Right” section, for instance, there was one big foundation that blocked the view of many a patron in the back. And because there was no progressive elevation to speak of, people in the entire “Silver” section had to stand on their seats in order to get a glimpse of the stage. And, even then, Keys must have looked like a matchstick. It’s a good thing officials had the presence of mind to set up multiple vidiwalls.
“Nonetheless, I’m glad the concert was held at the SMX. For one thing, it boasted of excellent acoustics (and it may just be because we were situated near the stage). Heck, the sound quality was, in my opinion, even better than those of concerts I’ve watched at the Araneta Coliseum.
“All told, I’d watch it again under the same circumstances. The only thing I’d really like to erase from my experience was the offending smell of cigarette smoke. Yes, some A****e (editing mine) in our part of the SMX had the gall to light up. “
And now for the pictures: (I used my Sony point and shoot, but others were carrying sophisticated DSLRs. Dang it! Why didn’t I think of that? Then again, “how do I smuggle in a fully loaded DSLR in my handbag?” would be a better question. Thinking….)