Deafening screams of more than 2,000 fans fill every corner of the KIA Theatre in Araneta Center with the highly anticipated A1 concert tour made its kick-off on October 23, 2016.
Three of the original four members of A1 — Ben Adams (lead vocals), Mark Read (keyboards), and Christian Ingebrigtsen (guitars), enjoyed performing a 2-night show as they preferred to be intimate with their fans. Second night happened at the IEC Pavilion in Cebu on October 25, 2016.
The A1 Confessions
“This is one of our favorite countries. We absolutely love it here,” Ben Adams opens during the press conference held at Novotel-Manila. With me at the event is my friend Len Armea (Editor-In-Chief of Pinoy Gazette) who’s brave enough to overcome her shyness, ready to stare eye to eye to her most favorite guy of A1, Ben, and ask a few questions to the group.
During the said press con, the British–Norwegian pop group recollects their first visit in Manila, fun meet with Filipino fans, their early years as a band, the live music onstage, the things that helped them grow as an artist, the graceful dance routines, acoustic originals and covers.
Sharing you some of the band confessions during the press con.
- A1: Evolution of Musical Artistry
Christian: Well, one is that the more you do something, the better you are at doing it and we’ve been doing this for 17 years so now we’re better at singing, better in whatever we do. In a way, we feel more proud that the way we write songs today are hopefully even better that what we did before.
Mark: Back when we first started, we were very fun, energetic, fresh, and pop. There were a lot of songs we wrote like calling cards for the fans to get to know us as a band and, who we were. When we wrote the songs “Like a Rose,” “Everytime,” and “One Last Song,” we were young guys experiencing, probably, young love and a lot of people could relate to that and a lot of those songs resonated with people. It’s so nice that those songs continue to resonate with people up until now. But as we get older, there’s more depth and context to the lyrics and we’ve tried to put ourselves a lot in those songs. If you know our recent songs in our album like [Waiting for] “Daylight,”, there’s a lot of ballad songs there that we relate from our experiences.
- A1: Greatest Career Moments/Highlights
Christian: We can’t just pick one, too many to mention as we absolutely love the Philippines. It’s not something that we say because we’re here now, it’s one of our favorite places in the world to visit. That’s when we were on stage at the Araneta Coliseum for the “Binibining Pilipinas” competition and no one had told us that in the middle of [singing] “Like a Rose,” all the finalists were parading in front us in their swimsuits and we almost forgot the words.
Another was four years ago when we returned to the Philippines for the first time in many, many years as we realized that everyone here knows our songs. Everyone has one of our songs in venues like weddings. I think that that’s one of the biggest compliments we can get as a songwriter and as an artist: when your songs mean something to someone. And that’s a great one.
- A1: Now and Then
Ben: We’ve been here many, many times before. What has changed in the band the last years? We’re like three Peter Pans, to be honest. We grow up in age, but we don’t grow up mentally. We’re sort of the exactly same people having exactly the same amount of fun. None of us are married, none of us have kids. But yeah, were pretty much the same people.
Christian: This time around, this concert is more intimate. We want to be intimate with our fans. We’ll be telling the stories of how the songs came to be and we’ll be playing them acoustic because the last time was more on full band.
Ben Adams also shared his favourite song among all their hits and picks — “Caught in the Middle” as it’s the first song they’re able to write and has turned out to be one of their biggest hits.
It feels more than just a comeback for the A1 boys as they also celebrate friendship over the years. Christian narrates, “We’ve always been really good friends, it’s the main reason for the reunion other than that people wanted to see us perform.”
They always feel amazed to listen to Filipino fans singing their songs as Mark even recalled a group of children singing a set of their songs in Cebu.
In Photos: #A1BackinPHL Press Conference
A1: Here We Come Back Tour
Beautiful lights suddenly burst on the stage as A1 pops out of the set and, opens with the song “Same Old Brand New.” They immediately recognize the cheering crowd and tell, “It feels so good to be back. This is amazing!” The chills of anticipation begin for adoring A1 crowd.
The media group is of course isn’t left behind as their favorite three song rule also starts. It’s where photographers are only allowed to photograph artists for the first three songs of a live show. While documenting those three songs, we also find lot of people who are documenting too, after more than three songs, rather than just living it.
With the ocean of cameras in front of me, I’m not really sure what to feel. As a photographer and a fan, it’s best to just put your phone down, stop filming or watching the show through the screen of your smart devices/cameras. Keep it in your pocket and just experience the maximum enjoyment watching the show.
For the lovers of A1 music, there’s nothing better than a pumped up crowd, singing through their songs and witnessing the audience adoration and the artist’s exchanges with the crowd throughout the concert. Experiencing and being part of this made us feel young again.
#A1BackinPHL concert represents A1’s gratitude to Filipino fans for their unwavering support. A1’s dictum “Mahal namin kayo,” affirms their love to theFilipino fans. The entirety of the concert, each member takes the time in between songs to thank and praise the fans. #A1BackinPHL is presented by Concert Republic.
What’s eargasmic is when the whole crowd sings with the band in unison, an absolutely incredible experience. The setlist includes the following songs:
1. Same Old Brand New
2. Be the First to Believe
3. Forever In Love
4. Summertime of Our Lives
5. Ready or Not
7. I’m In Love and I Hate It
8. No One
9. One Last Try
10. Walking in the Rain
11. Don’t Want to Lose You Again
12. Heaven by Your Side
13. Make It Good
14. Livin’ the Dream
15. When I’m Missing You
17. One Last Song
18. Caught in the Middle
19. Take On Me
20. Like A Rose
We rallied as we wait for that one last song and thank God it’s part of the repertoire. For one last time, Ben comes out of the stage holding along a red-stemmed rose for this final song, “Like a Rose.” The group follow up with “Take on Me,” a revelation of that signature highly choreographed boy band dance moves. It is definitely entertaining.
As anticipated, songs are played acoustic while they tell stories in between of how the songs came to be. They never fail to aim the Filipino hearts, young and old, with their enduring heartthrob projections and songs with their lasting romantic excitement. For real, they have proven marketability as they continue to give a deep affection to young hearts around the world.
“We have many positive experiences coming over here. We just want to thank you to all of you who continue to come and see us, you have no idea how much it touches us. It means the world to us,” ends A1. The “A1: Here We Come Back Tour” is a guaranteed exciting concert experience.
Today, A1 confessed an appreciation towards having more time of their lives, relaxed than ever, compared to the height of A1’s popularity back in the late ’90s.
“Enjoy every single second of whatever level of success you manage to get and don’t get chasing the next goal before you have appreciated your existing successes,” is A1’s best advice and recommendation to those inspiring to be like them.
Boy bands then and now have major and significant impacts and numerous contributions to our music worldwide. But maybe there’s something powerful about their looks, appeal, musical talent and pop sound that continue to drive people to be crazy about them. Any factors you can think of, including fan bases, help contribute to the success in making them cultural icons.
In Photos: #A1BackinPHL Concert
Enjoys capturing, editing, and sharing content across social media platforms alongside music photography. The birth of this blog is a testament of my credence on the power of images in conveying stories.