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4 hours, 31 songs: Eraserheads take 75K fans on nostalgic musical journey
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4 hours, 31 songs: Eraserheads take 75K fans on nostalgic musical journey

Eraserheads Huling El Bimbo

 The mood in the mosh pit of the Eraserheads’ “Huling El Bimbo” concert last Thursday was pretty tame.  There were no intense pushing and bumping, and one attempt at crowd surfing was immediately foiled by the security team. We heard someone complain about their back aching. 

Most of the concertgoers in the section were Gen X and millennials: we overheard them talking about bands from the Guns N’ Roses era before the show started.

Ely Buendia at Huling El Bimbo | Ruth Mayo

But the crowd—75,000 strong, according to concert promoters—did not disappoint when Ely Buendia, Buddy Zabala,  Marcus Adoro and Raimund Marasigan entered the stage and hit the first few notes of “Superproxy.” They started jumping in exhilaration, bobbing their heads, obviously loving that the band that produced the anthems of their lives were once again right in front of them.  

Pretty soon, the mosh pit smelled the way it should: sweat, body odor, and the burger  and pizza everybody had earlier.  It was glorious!

“Huling El Bimbo,” the long-awaited reunion of the band, which they said would be their last concert together, was held at SMDC Festival Grounds in Pasay, produced by WEU Events Management Services and Ant Savvy Creatives. 

Joining them in the instruments were General Luna’s Audry Dionisio, Ciudad’s Mikey Amistoso and Boldstar and Itchyworms’ Jazz Nicolas.

“Let’s do this!” said Buendia, whose voice was heard from backstage before they entered the stage.

The band paid homage to late rapper Francis Magalona with “Superproxy.” In a touching moment, Magalona’s son Elmo made the introductions. A screen was set up on the left side of the stage and a hologram of FrancisM was projected.  

Arkin Magalona joined his brother Elmo onstage to perform the last lines of  the rap with their dad. Buendia’s own son, Eon, joined the performance. 

“It really looked like FrancisM was onstage with them!” Gold section concertgoer Apple Abcede said.


The Eraserheads, now all in their early 50s, kept the energy  high and followed it up with “Back2Me” and “Waiting for the Bus.” Before each song, an icon would be projected on the screen—the icons from their 1995 album, “Cutterpillow.”

Soon, concertgoers were singing along to songs from that album, and in the order they were originally arranged. “Huling El Bimbo” is a cut from that album.

They did “Fine Time,” “Kamasupra” and one of the crowd  favorites, “Overdrive.” Marasigan took the lead in the vocals for “Slo Mo” before Buendia resumed the role in “Torpedo.” On deck were “Huwag Mo Nang Itanong” and “Paru-Parong Ningning.”

But then their demeanor changed when they started singing “Walang Nagbago.” It’s a song about growing old, but still being the same person that you once were. The lines “Kung ano tayo noon/Ay ganon pa rin ngayon” hit different 27 years later.  The crowd felt it. The messages of the songs were still relevant as ever. 

Because the mood was set for nostalgia, “Poorman’s Grave” came to feel another way. The song is about a man “who had nothing” and wants to leave the world with dignity. If before, you listened to this song as someone who just wanted to know the story of this poor man, now you’re able to relate to what he’s going through, especially with the current inflation. 

Eraserheads’ Huling El Bimbo concert on Dec. 2 at the SMDC Fesival Grounds in Paranaque City / Grig C. Montegrande

Read: The Eraserheads reunion: ‘Mind-blowing—even for geezers like us’

Marasigan took control of the microphone again to sing the punk rock “’Yoko.” He growled his condemnation of the  Reserve Officers’ Training Corps as if he’s still in school. The song has become timely again.

Marasigan didn’t hesitate when he sang the lyrics “Minsan gusto ko nang sumali ng NPA/Blow them sh*t away.” The crowd didn’t hold back  either as they sang those lines with him. Their bravery was  infectious. When the song  ended, yellow confetti rained.  

One of the things worth noting about the concert was how the band stayed faithful to the original lyrics of their songs, no matter how explicit or suggestive they might be.

Gary Valenciano and Buddy Zabala at Hulinng El Bimbo | Photo by Patrick M. Mayo

Sound trip   

Buendia was the only one left onstage when the lights came back on. He thanked everyone who came and took off his jacket. The night was sweltering. The crowd chanted, “Jacket! Jacket!” He smiled and teased the sea of people before finally throwing the leather jacket to them.

He strummed his acoustic guitar and sang “Fill Her.” The 1:47 minute song is beautiful, but short.

“Sandali, ang bilis nito ah! Kanta kayo!” Buendia repeated the song from the start and allowed the crowd to do the singing. There was a 30-minute break.

The Diegos, Diego Castillo and Diego Mapa, who were also front acts, took over the stage. They played ‘90s covers. The UP Pep Squad also performed a full routine onstage.

When the Eraserheads returned, it was a series of sound trips as they played “Pop Machine,” “Sembreak” and “Sabado.” Buendia joked that “Sabado” is their newest single, released in 2014.

Raimund Marasigan t Huling El Bimbo | Photo by Patrick Leonard Mayo

Wag n’yo sanang kalimutan i-request kay Triggerman at kay Bobby Ante and Joe D’Mango,” Zabala said, referring to the popular radio personalities in the ‘90s.

They proceeded to sing “Ligaya” before introducing Mel Villena, who performed “Lightyears” from their 1996 Christmas album “Fruitcake.” AMP orchestra played, as Arkin and Eon returned onstage for “Saturn Return.”

Next was the anti-fake news song “Maling Akala” before Zabala sang “Tama Ka.” The song was included in the album “Natin99” which he co-wrote with his wife Earnest Mangulabnan.

Zabala impressed with his intricate bass lines throughout the night.

The romance continued when the band played “With A Smile.”


They brought the energy back up again with “Insomia” while Marasigan and Adoro were on the mic. They kicked off the Christmas celebration by performing another “Fruitcake” song, “Christmas Party” with Gary Valenciano. His son, Paolo, was the show director.

They ended the second set with “Spolarium” and “Magasin.”

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 “Pare Ko” was first song in the encore.  Marasigan didn’t join them for this song; instead he came in carrying a GoPro taking videos of the crowd and the band. When he came near Buendia, the frontman urged him to take the mic and sing a few lines of the song. The interaction lasted for under a minute, yet it was one of the highlights of the entire show.

Raimund Marasigan and Ely Buendia singing “Pare Ko” together | Ruth Navarra

“Pare Ko” has two versions. Buendia allowed the crowd to decide which one they wanted to sing—by staying silent after the words “Di ba.” 

They hit the first few notes of “Alapaap” and the crowd started singing the song. However, the singing stopped when they noticed that Buendia wasn’t joining them or making any moves to strum his guitar.

There was silence, and Dionisio, who was playing her guitar next to Marasigan, was seen discussing something with him. They apparently made a mistake.

Mock tension

“It’s time to look at our set lists,” Marasigan said mockingly. Then in an exasperated voice he continued sarcastically, “This is so professional. My set list says that song (‘Alapaap’).”

He pulled up his set list copy and showed it to the crowd. They laughed.

Kahit kailan talaga ‘no?” Buendia commented in mock annoyance.

Marcus Adoro at Huling El Bimbo | Patrick Mayo

“I quit!” Marasigan responded. But the crowd was in on the joke. The tension the band pretended to show was nonexistent that night and the crowd just laughed along.

(The Eraserheads disbanded in 2002.  Buendia was first to call it quits after texting his bandmates, “It’s time to graduate.” The reason for the breakup was largely blamed to a feud between  Buendia and Marasigan. It was later explained in a MYX documentary that it wasn’t just about that.  They outgrew each other after 13 years together.)

After that funny exchange, they resumed the show with another song about friendship, “Minsan,” and followed it up, finally, with “Alapaap.”

The finale was, of course, “Huling El Bimbo.”

The song is always special when heard live, especially when Buendia delivers the playful lyrics. It’s the way he drags a syllable of the word before pausing between “Nakakatindig” and “balahibo” as well as “Naninigas ang aking” and “katawan.” It is pure genius.

The concert lasted for over four hours. They sang 31 songs in total–songs that belonged to the fans  as much as they belonged to the band.

The Eraserheads  took both those who watched live and on livestream on a nostalgic musical journey.

The concert had a beautiful backdrop, spectacular fireworks and special effects, but what made it most memorable were still the music, the poetry,  and the intelligently chosen songs. It was the showmanship of the Eraserheads on full display. It is why they are, as they were then, unparalleled in the Philippine music scene. 

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