Anberlin Says Farewell to Manila

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The title alone says it: Anberlin is on their Farewell Tour, their last tour together as a band, and they had made Manila a part of it again. As Stephen Christian emphasized during the show, they had come here “three times – not twice, but three times”. Their first time was a sold out show in A-venue in 2011; their second was during Bazooka Rocks Festival 2 in 2012; and their last, which happened in the evening of September 13, was their farewell show at the Skydome. In all instances, it was all thanks to Pulp Live World.

Anberlin is composed of Stephen Christian on vocals, Joseph Milligan and Christian McAlhaney on guitars, Deon Rexroat on bass and Nathan Young on drums. They have been around since 2002 and have released a total of 7 studio albums, each of which presented a different take on their music. They took risks, looked for ways for their music to evolve and never fell into the pit of just being another rock band.

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In a lot of ways, being part of their final concert in Manila felt special. The Skydome was packed with fans who grew up listening to their music, so the atmosphere was different. Throughout the concert, there were only a few smartphones raised. Most of the people, particularly those in the pit, were just taking in the music – fist-punching the air, headbanging, jumping and singing their hearts out. It felt more like a celebration of Anberlin’s music, rather than a departure.

The concert lasted for almost 2 hours, during which Anberlin played a most satisfying set of their most memorable songs. They started with “Paperthin Hymn”, “We Owe This to Ourselves”, “Self-Starter” and Readyfuels”. They even honored requests. Days before the concert, they had asked the Manila crowd to send in their requested songs via social media. From it, they played the most requested “Inevitable”, “Art of War” and “The Haunting”, a song which they could be playing for the last time, according to Stephen.

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During their set, the lights were bright most of the time, a rare thing in rock concerts. It was a really stirring sight to see majority of the people just completely immersing themselves in the music. From the stage, the band could see the crowd clearly. At one point, Stephen even pointed out a guy at the back who was dancing his soul out to every song. He complimented him and told him to keep going.

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Anberlin also played the heartrending tunes of “(The Symphony of) Blasé, “Take Me (As You Found Me)” and” The Unwinding Cable Car”. There were also the hard-hitting riffs of “Time & Confusion”, “Godspeed” and of course, “The Feel Good Drag”. For their encore, they closed the concert with the bittersweet “(*Fin)”, with closing lines from “Harbinger”.

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Anberlin is one hell of a band. The thing about Anberlin, (and I realized all this while seeing them live for the first and last time that night), is I wouldn’t say that they’ve lost their momentum, ran out of fuel, got bored and whatnot. They sounded amazing live, better than most bands I’ve seen. Their set that night was solid. They put their very best into it. They relished in the fact that the crowd loved them for their music and gave them as much to remember in return. It was their last show here and as heartbreaking as it was, I couldn’t help but just feel so grateful to have witnessed such a powerful show. They will be deeply missed, but their music will definitely live on.

Special Thanks to Pulp Live World

Written by Sandra Mae Laureano
Photos by Peter Tolibas

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Anberlin: Farewell Show in Manila Setlist
1. Paperthin Hymn
2. We Owe This to Ourselves
3. Self-Starter
4. Readyfuels
5. Never Take Friendship Personal
6. Someone Anyone
7. Other Side
8. (The Symphony of) Blasé
9. Take Me (As You Found Me)
10. The Unwinding Cable Car
11. Inevitable
12. Art of War
13. The Haunting
14. Breaking
15. Impossible
16. Time & Confusion
17. A Day Late
18. Adelaide
19. Dismantle. Repair.
20. The Resistance
21. Godspeed
22. Feel Good Drag
ENCORE:
23. (*Fin)



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