03/18/2016

Vanilla in Manila

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For 5 Seconds of Summer’s Filipino fans, the five-year wait to see them live was totally worth the trouble.


What separates a boy band from a real band? A quick Google search comes up with this definition for a boy band: a pop group composed of attractive young men whose music and image are designed to appeal primarily to a young teenage audience.

As it turns out, 5 Seconds of Summer isn’t technically a boy band by definition. As their fans (better known as the 5SOS fam) already know, while it’s true that they all sing, they also write their own songs and play their own instruments.

The Australian band — consisting of Luke Hemmings on lead vocals and guitar, Calum Hood on bass, Ashton Irwin on drums and Michael Clifford on guitar and keyboard — closed the Asia leg of their “Sounds Live Feels Live” world tour in Manila last March 12 with a sold-out show sponsored by Visa.

There was no denying that the band’s fan base consists of mostly teenage girls (and the reluctant boyfriend and closet/open guy fan sprinkled into the mix) judging from last Saturday’s attendance, but that just made the whole experience more fun.

Walking into the SM Mall of Asia Arena was a bit like walking straight into the dashboard of a typical Tumblr girl. Like true fangirls, concert-goers came decked out in the band’s signature style, which means that there was a whole lot of flannel, ripped skinny jeans (thankfully, not lying on the floor), and black T-shirts and Converse. There was also the occasional wedding dress, superhero costume, and penguin onesie, and a whole lot of headbands with the band members’ faces on them.

It’s always great seeing fans connect with songs by their idols and showing it by screaming out the lyrics or outright spazzing as they’re performed live. And in this area, the 5SOS fam surely didn’t disappoint.

While the usual hits like Hey Everybody, She Looks So Perfect and Don’t Stop got everyone up and dancing, it was when Michael started singing the on-the-spot composition, Vanilla in Manila, that the crowd went absolutely wild.

During Amnesia, fans raised their phones with screens shining blue, red and yellow lights, along with signs that said, “We thought you’d never come.”

All four members acknowledged this, taking turns speaking to apologize for the five-year wait. Calum was sincere in saying, “Ever since day one, we’ve heard from you. Ever since we were on YouTube, we’ve heard from the Philippines, so it’s great for this band to finally be here.”

The concert ended with a quick snapshot, and all four of them tackling each other on the way out. As the lights slowly turned back on, fans were left dazed — some lying on the floor and others in tears.

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