June 21, 2012 marked that day that one of Manila’s favorite sister acts, Jayesslee, would be playing on Philippine turf. The cover duo of YouTube stardom proved to have quite a following in our country as fans young and old filed into the venue at Robinsons Forum. As the crowd began settling into their seats, they found themselves well entertained by video montages of the meet and greet which was held the previous day. Many were soon stifling giggles as clips of Janice and Sonia’s antics played on the big screens.
After much anticipation (and a hearty laughing fit or two), the sisters finally took to the stage, already eliciting deafening cheers and applause that was not proportional to the relatively small crowd. The girls wasted no time picking up their instruments and launching into a rendition of Simple Plan’s “Jetlag”. Following their big opening number were OneRepublic’s “Secrets” and Jason Mraz’s “I Won’t Give Up”.
At this point it became clear that Jayesslee was not the type of act that went rushing through their set list. We noted how both Janice and Sonia took the time to explain the stories behind the songs they would sing, and why they were special to them. There was also plenty of time for jokes, stories and banter, which couldn’t be described in any other word but adorable. The twins were a breath of fresh air with their funny comments and complete lack of fear of letting go and being silly. Janice couldn’t help poking fun at how much (or rather, how little) they had seen of Manila, exclaiming “I love the traffic!”. The two also learned their fair share of Tagalog slang— a favorite of theirs was clearly “Bongga!”
In sharp contrast to their sunny personas, Jayesslee also took a moment to share the story of their mother, who lost her battle with cancer when the sisters were quite young. Many in the crowd were soon moved to tears as they opened up about hardship, moving on, and finding God. “A feeling a peace just washed over us,” said Sonia “we asked this ‘God’ to show himself to us… and he did.” Their story was punctuated with a soulful Korean hymn, which was a favorite of their mother in her final days.
Sooner than we would have liked, the girls capped off their set with one of their most popular covers, “Dare You to Move”. Even before Sonia strummed the final chord, everyone in the crowd was up on their feet to give them a resounding send-off as they said their goodbyes. The audience was definitely not ready to see them go just yet, and Jayesslee happily obliged to their calls for more. Janice and Sonia made their final choice a lighthearted one, getting everyone to sing along to Jessie J’s hit, “Price Tag”.
Needless to say, it was a night of laughing, crying, and everything in between. Jayesslee filled the night with music to sing along to, as well as stories to take home and learn from. It was an enjoyable no-frills show that we wouldn’t mind seeing again very soon.
More photos at Jayesslee Live in Manila Photos
Jayesslee live in Manila Setlist:
I Won’t Give Up
Safe and Sound
Just the Way You Are
Failure in Disguise
Dare You to Move
Encore song: Price Tag
Special thanks to Becca Music
Photos by Glenn Michael Tan
Review by Carla Barretto