Monday, June 20, 2011

Miley Cyrus Performs in Manila

My kids used to watch Hannah Montana on the Disney Channel. Sometimes, I get to watch too and I found that I like the storylines. There’s a mix of comedy and drama with nice values thrown in. In a nutshell, the show is something I’d recommend to teens and tweens. 

A couple of times, I also got to see and hear bits and pieces of the Hannah Montana movie while one of the kids was watching and I was doing chores around the house. What caught my attention was the song Miley Cyrus sang near the end of the film. The Climb has such powerful lyrics and a beautiful melody, it ended up in my iPod soon after.

When asked me if I’d like to cover Miley’s concert in Manila, I readily agreed. I was sure one of my boys would like to tag along. Since it was a Friday and my eldest had no classes, he was the one who got to accompany me.

My son and I arrived at the Mall of Asia around 7 p.m. I first met with Iris, the winner of the silver tickets that orangemagazinetv gave away, before we had a quick dinner at a nearby fast food restaurant. By the time we arrived at the MOA concert grounds, the crowds lining up at the gates were already pretty thick. So was the throng of people milling about who, I suppose, were there to catch glimpses of celebrities who would also be watching the show as well as to listen to Miley sing even from beyond the high walls of the concert area.

I was annoyed when the guard manning the gate I entered told me to throw away the concert poster I had in my bag and which was given to me as a souvenir.  The guard insisted that nobody with any kind of poster will be allowed entry. He pointed to a pile of trash indicating I was to leave the poster there. I really couldn't see the point why it's not allowed :( I wouldn't feel as bad if I was given a reasonable explanation. I told him to wait and proceeded to the edge of the fences. 

I spotted an elderly couple who looked like they’ve just dropped off their kids at the concert grounds. The mom was craning her neck to see the long lines. I asked if her kids are Miley fans. Confused at the question, she looked at me and nodded. I handed her the poster and told her to give it to them after the concert is over. (Much later, I saw a girl who got inside with her poster intact. Argh!)

I got back in line and was finally allowed to proceed to the main entrance for gold ticket holders. I breathed a sigh of relief upon seeing chairs in the gold ticket section. I thought, at least I wouldn’t have to stand the whole length of the concert. 

Sam Concepcion and Elmo Magalona entertained the audience while people continued arriving. As they said goodbye, the anticipation for Miley’s appearance continued to rise. She came on stage a few minutes shy of 9:00 p.m. Thousands of screaming fans got up on their feet (in our section, people stood on their chairs!) to welcome their idol. I was just a bit surprised to see a now very grown up Miley who was sporting several revealing outfits – far from the Hannah Montana image that I still have in my mind.

Anyhow, Miley got the audience electrified as she sang Liberty Walk followed by Party in the USA. It felt amusing to be surrounded by very young people singing in unison to the chorus. 

There were three giant screens in front -- two smaller ones on both sides of the stage and a huge one at the center. Unfortunately, they usually showed MTV clips on the biggest screen, not the live action on stage which made it impossible to even catch one good shot of Miley. 

From my vantage point, she was less than an inch tall. That was how far we were from the stage! And since the organizers prohibited bringing SLRs, people just tried to capture shots of Miley shown on the screens using our digicams. Expectedly, none of my shots were any good. They were either blurred or totally dark. That was frustrating.

So I just tried to enjoy the music and feel the palpable energy of the crowd. I just felt sorry for the other ticket holders in the standing sections because most of them might not be able to see well what with the people in the section in front of them standing up on top of their seats.

Expectedly, hundreds, if not thousands, of people sang along when Miley sang The Climb. That was supposed to be the finale song. But the crowds chanted her name for an encore and she came back on stage in a red outfit to perform three more songs. What I appreciate a lot about her that night was that despite her obvious discomfort from the unaccustomed heat, she gamely and professionally went on with the show. And that, for me, is the mark of a true performer and an incredible music artist.

*Miley Cyrus’ Corazon Gitano tour was brought to Manila by Futuretainment Inc. and Music Management International

** To see photos during Miley Cyrus' press con, head on over to's Facebook page

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