Slave to the blue-eyed musicBy Monique
Yes, because if I weren’t an utter slave to the amazing music that James Morrison has been wielding for the past several years, I wouldn’t even have the interest to try my luck in a Twitter promo that I apparently stood a chance in winning:
That’s the kind of news you never expect but still has the power to turn around your entire day (and week!) just when you need it the most. What could be better than seeing a singer-songwriter-guitarist extraordinaire live for free in Patron seats with one of your best buddies? This isn’t something anyone in his sane mind would pass up, finals week or not; hence, I claimed the tickets within an hour of reading that wonderful tweet.
I was giddy the entire night that I couldn’t concentrate on studying for my Legal Medicine finals the next day and instead kept James Morrison’s songs on loop in my iPad to heighten the excitement. Listening to his songs that night gave me an extra feeling of kilig, knowing that he’d soon be crooning some of those just a few meters away from me.
What’s even cooler was that my really good friend Carlo agreed to go with me on such short notice! I’m used to going to concerts alone, but bringing a friend along apparently makes the experience even better.
Renowned OPM band Moonstar 88 served as the front act that night. They went right for the kill with their timeless hits like “Migraine,” “Panalangin,” and “Torete.” They also played a few songs from their latest album, which I may have to watch out for (my playlist needs a slew of new OPM songs, after all!).
And then, there he was. Araneta just exploded with energy and cheers once the man we were all waiting for just breezed onstage and wasted no time hyping the crowd with his first song of the night, “Beautiful Life.” Being clad in a leather jacket didn’t hurt his rugged charm, too.
He mellowed down a bit by singing “This Boy” next, followed by one of his newest songs, “In My Dreams,” which I also immediately loved when I started listening to his new album. His setlist was actually like a constant tug-of-war between the frenzy of his upbeat songs (e.g. “Slave to the Music,” “Nothing Ever Hurt Like You”) and the fuzzy, warm feeling that’s ever-present in his acoustic tunes (e.g. “I Won’t Let You Go,” “Person I Should Have Been,” “Say Something Now”). The eclectic mix of his songs sustained the energy that kept us mesmerized with his performance and his very presence onstage.
Most of the reviews you’ll read about his concert would describe the experience as “soulful.” It may sound cliche after a while, but you really can’t describe it any other way. Even James Morrison himself acceded to that description, saying that as long as his music speaks about his own stories and emotions and as long as it continues to reach out to and move more people, then his music will continue being soulful. But as heartfelt and soulful and warm as his concert might have been, allow me to add another word to that roster of praises: it was hair-raising. I couldn’t count the times my friend had to tell me that he was getting goosebumps from the vibes inside Araneta, and I also couldn’t count the times I’ve experienced it myself! Special mention of course to his wonderful duet with his backup singer Beverlei Brown for “Up” and his acoustic rendition of “Broken Strings” that had the entire crowd singing as one (and where I also experienced the most intense of goosebumps!).
Then again, it wouldn’t be possible to have fun throughout the concert if the main man weren’t enjoying himself, too! It was so easy to see that James Morrison was having the time of his life up there, and that sent out infectious good vibes to all his fans that night.
He granted us his first-ever hit, “You Gave Me Something” before taking a break and returning for a three-song encore of “The Awakening,” “Under the Influence,” and finally, “Wonderful World.”
His world tour wrapped up by calling up his entire crew onstage and together giving a final bow amidst the cheers and uproar of the lucky fans that night.
Remembering the sensory overload I had that night still brings a big smile to my face. He definitely gave us something: though we might not always see it that way, he showed us how wonderful life could be, thanks in large part to his equally wonderful music.
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