EDITOR: Clara Benin shocked the entire music scene when she posted about her biggest headlining show as her last. Everyone clamored for tickets. The result: the originally planned one-night-only show became two nights. Correspondent and photographer Dan Labayo was at the second night of the sold out show and shares his dream-come-true encounter with the charming singer-songwriter.
It was surreal. I recall listening to her before, I never imagined I can come close, and I didn’t really imagine this day would come. But it did.
She got my heart since I heard Easy – quite funny, since I’m a guy, and the song was girly-themed. But it still got me. from then I discovered Be My Thrill and Tila and then she owned whatever’s left of my heart that’s resisting.
This is the 2nd night of Stages Sessions Presents: Coming Home: A Clara Benin Concert, and the place was full, yet very intimate. The place was dark and the only place illuminated is the stage. If I was sitting among the crowd it’ll certainly feel like it’s just me and the artist on stage during that night.
The stage was decorated with books, chairs and lampshades. The night was spent with music and spoken word, with every spoken word performance opening every set, to set the mood. And it was perfect; as you get immersed in the words, you then get music that goes along with it. That’s a one-two punch right there, right in the feels.
As this was the first concert headlined by Clara, many an artist adorned the stage to play and sing along with her; we have Coeli San Luis start the night with her awesome music, and play along with Clara in some songs. We had Curtismith drop rhymes when Clara sang Be my Thrill.
We had Johnoy Danao duet along with her as they sang The Perfect Day and Volcano.
And to top of the night with her last set, her favorite jam partner and her father, Joey Benin as they play Momentary, a new song composed by Clara for that night.
My heart is still all over the place as I write this story, and I am still lost for words. Any word just wouldn’t cut it. I thought I would have no problem doing my piece for this assignment, but I couldn’t find the right sentence or any great phrase to express how much I was dazed, how much I was awed, how much I was lost in the moment.
I guess let me take a line from one of her songs so you can have an idea where I was and how much it felt:
Tila humihinto ang aking panahon;
Walang naririnig kundi huni ng ibon, Umaawit, Dinadala ng ihip ng hangin.
Tila gumaganda ng lalo mga rosas, Sabay, sabay silang sumasayaw, Sa hampas ng hangin.
Dumadampi at bumubulong sayo;
Naririnig mo ba ang bulong ng puso ko?
Listening to Clara’s music always and will always be the type of music that will take me away to a place where I can just close my eyes and FEEL. It’s not just her voice, it’s not just her instrument, it’s all of her. And this event just was so effective in staging what her music felt like. It didn’t just do it justice, it didn’t just compliment it, it’s way beyond perfect.
Like what the title of the event Coming Home suggested, this was her first and LAST concert to date, as she will take a hiatus from performing live. Quoting from what she wrote from her website:
I believe that my entire music career came to be because I dedicated it to honoring God and loving people. There’s a time to work, a time to play, and a time to rest. Which brings me to why I am writing this. After much deliberation and consultation with my manager, my dad, and some close friends from the music industry, I have decided that the best thing for me to do in this season is to go home and take a break from the live music scene for an indefinite time. By taking a break, I will be able to pursue my other interests, build new dreams, and be able to regenerate.
– Clara Benin
She actually quoted from a bible verse; that one came from Ecclesiastes 3:1:
There is a time for everything,and a season for every activity under the heavens.
I just finished reading this from her website, and I shifted my repeat one in my Spotify to Closure as I was reading it, while I am trying to finish writing. Difficult as it was to start, it’s all the more difficult to end, because really, more words just started coming to me. But we could all relate to what she just said. There’s always a time to hit pause. We all need that. Take note guys, the word here, is PAUSE. It doesn’t necessarily mean stop. As I believe her music will always keep on playing, although we would be saying goodbye to her for awhile. No sorry, it’s not goodbye, it’s definitely see you soon.
As the songs goes don’t fade away, don’t fade away, my heart prayed silently that the break will give her the rest she needs and find herself anew. And of course, that wish to see her soon again, after it all.
Cheers to you and your music Clara, and see you soon; for the meantime your music will be in our hearts, while our eyes would always long to see you again. This night will remain affixed in our minds and souls, as we dream to see you on stage again, being as awesome as you always are, and will always be.
Click HERE for more of the images from that night.