HIGHLIGHTS: Kia Beats Day 2 (Rico Blanco)

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Fancy Place. Orchestra. Awesome Seats. And Rico Blanco. Who can ask for more?

On September 10th, Kia celebrated the 2nd day of Kia Beats Music Festival, an event made to pay tribute and justice to our legendary OPM industry; its fame, its grandeur and its excellence, certainly elevated higher by the artists that adorned that night.

This was not your normal gig;  I would often see myself in Makati or in Quezon city with the prime of the indie industry gathered in one place, drinking, singing and celebrating music. It was also my first to be here, and in my Indie Manila history, all of my firsts have always been a treat, and to top that i actually dressed for the occasion; well if you call a wearing a faded 3 buttoned black jacket over a black faded shirt dressing up. Its rare for me to go out like that in a gig tho, and in a hotter night, it’ll make me sweat like mad. But somehow this night demanded that i dress and look nice (even though I didn’t really care about my hair then), since it was Kia Theatre.

I got out of the taxi feeling a bit like a VIP because it landed dead smack in front of the Valet (yey another first), and I entered a facade of a building I haven’t set foot on. This, for me, is an upped version of Teatrino in Greenhills; white marbled floor, big wooden doors leading to the event area, a regal staircase leading to the balcony area. As I went thru the wooden doors and as I walked into the darkness, the many rays and sways of the stage lights beacon me to come closer and watch.

And here we go! I actually made it in time to see Rico Blanco‘s first set.  Yes. THE RICO BLANCO, in the flesh, looking like Adam Levine, all dressed up and awesome, on that stage. UGH.



To watch and listen to Rico Blanco perform his certified chart toppers, backed with an orchestra, was eargasmic. One’s ear couldn’t have too much sensation; his trademark voice reverberating the four walls within that space, penetrating every one that sang their hearts and throats out that night.

The night started with his most recent songs, some of them Wag Mong Aminin. Goodness, his voice still rang in my head when I typed that. I couldn’t pick the best minutes of that time. And when this all started the orchestra was just standing by. Not until Rico Blanco hit the first notes for Videoke Queen that the all the goodness of heaven that the orchestra can offer slowly penetrated every body’s senses. it was beyond hearing. Goosebumps crawled over our skins and some eyes tears of awe began to fall. It was all too much that the word “awesome” seemed so cute of a word to describe every second that their music intertwined with the brilliant artist that is Rico Blanco.  And as awestruck as we are with the orchestra, so was Rico. He remarked during the show that MMCO was “magaling” and told that “sana araw araw ganito”. We wish the same thing too.

This was a setting that kudos to the lighting director of that night too; If I held a camera that night, while lighting has always been a challenge because it won’t ever be constant, the setup was excellent, and it goes with the mood of the music. It just made the moment more grand.


Rico Blanco has always been a household name; if you are filipino, especially if you lived during the 90’s OPM band rush, you will know Rivermaya. If you know Rivermaya, even if you’d know bamboo, Rico Blanco is there. and every song that has his name on it that made it thru the hits chart,  has always been close to the hearts of many.

And such was our joy when the last two sets of that night included Kisapmata, Hinahanap Hanap Kita, Yugto, Elesi and other trademark OPM songs I sang as a kid with a guitar on a hot summer afternoon. Those were the songs that we looked for every time we grabbed a song hits mag, the chords of which we memorized and played in our guitars till we can feel the callus in our fingertips. This was a man I just saw on TV until then. The words of his songs filled that chamber, amidst the shouts of joy from the fans. The harmony of the many different strings that were plucked and bowed, piano keys struck, drums rolling and beating, the brass that carried the melody, was an awesome experience to the ear. I’ll repeat this; having a legendary artist backed up with that powerhouse of an orchestra, surely you will remember it for the rest of your life. All that, despite the difference in genre, (orchestra – classical, Rico Blanco – alternative pop rock) they blended so well that everything was seamless.


I just wish that all the other great artists that I know could be dealt that much justice and actually play with a complete orchestra. But that night had RICO BLANCO written all over it, and surely, this would go down the books,not just for the fans, but definitely for Rico as Well.