Manila’s Date with Michael Buble
On a cool and cozy January evening, Filipino fans converged at the Mall of Asia Arena for their long-awaited musical rendezvous with Michael Buble. The Philippines has always had a special place in the Canadian singer’s heart—he even called it his home—for it is his Filipino fans that gave him his first big break.
New York a capella group Naturally 7, opened the stage with their virtuoso voices. The lack of instrumentation highlighted their vocal play: their voices mimicked the instruments that each of them acted out. They warmed up the crowd, calling on them to dance as a sort of initiation before handing the stage over to Mr. Buble.
After a classical Fantasia-like introduction and Buble’s logo faded, a row of fire exploded on stage. Images of lava projected as the curtains parted to form a small circle in the middle. It was an exciting and grand entrance for the Canadian singer, who slid on lava-projected ramp. He emerged dashing and elegant in a black suit.
“You are in for one heck of a night.” Naturally 7 had said earlier during their set. They weren’t kidding! Judging from his entrance alone, Buble set the tone of the night. The crowd expected no less than a top-notch show burning with delight and excitement.
Buble began his 24-song serenade with Fever, fitting to the fiery backdrop behind him. The solo spotlight opened up on the second song to reveal his orchestra, Team Buble, performing with him for the night.
“It’s been a long time. I’m happy to be home! Salamat. Thank you for being here” were the first words he said.
Michael Buble, a true entertainer, captured thousands of people with his agile, powerful timbre and his witty humor. Observant of his crowd, he spotted a few fan signs. One outshone the rest, and deemed the fan a photo op and signature. It read, “I ditched midterms for Buble!” While signing her poster, he commented that he did not put her name so that she could sell it on eBay. He even poked fun at himself saying the majority of the show’s budget had gone to the pyrotechnics.
Buble shone light on his supporting band, Team Buble, commending them for the hard work they put into: hours, and hours of practice to make it sound flawless and easy. “You can clap for them but not so much. I’m sensitive.” He said before introducing them one by one.
During the song Everything, Buble commented on two sides of the coin: the indescribable feeling that any artist gets when thousands of voices sing back to them, and a joke about how the crowd was singing the outro wrong. “It’s la, la, la, not love, love, love.” His correction provoked laughter from the crowd.
He showcased his sentimental side as he dedicated Hold On to Filipino fans because of what had happened to the Fallen 44. It was a song he had not sung in a long time, but revived. “This is a song for you,” Buble said as he introduced the next song, Home.
Buble, known for his renditions of classic, timely songs from way back when, also performed more contemporary hits that resonated with the crowd. The 90s kids in the audience sang to an anthem Buble said was tough for him to sing. It was his grandfather’s wedding song: Backstreet Boys’ Everybody. “That’s never an easy one to get through,” Buble quipped upon finishing the song.
With his classic renditions, I expected the couples in the Arena to burst into dance—the swing, particularly. Buble encouraged the crowd to be in the moment with him. “If you wanna sing, you sing. If you wanna dance, you dance.”
As Buble sang Daft Punk’s Get Lucky, he strode over to the B-stage accompanied by Naturally 7. A swarm of fans rushed to get as close to him as they could upon seeing that he was moving to the smaller stage.
With excited auras around, Buble transitioned to the next classic: The Beatles’ All You Need Is Love. White and red heart-shaped confetti covered the Arena. It was a picture-perfect moment that highlighted the feeling of living in the moment.
Buble returned for an encore after a dramatic projection of storm clouds. This time he donned a glittery suit jacket. Again, fireworks exploded on stage as the ramps rose Buble high on stage. During the final song, he stripped off his monitor to sing without a mic. His powerful vocal chords resonated throughout the Arena and sent chills.
Michael Buble filled the night with his elegant, dreamy voice and had his fans brimming with laughter throughout the show. “You changed my life,” Michael Buble had said to the crowd.
More photos at Michael Buble Live in Manila Photo Gallery
Special Thanks to Wilbros Live!
Written by Isabel Matias
Photos by Carla Barretto
Izzy Matias is an avid concertgoer with a penchant for the arts. Though she is soon completing a business degree, she immerses herself in the creative world: music, fine arts, literature and photography.
Follow Izzy on Twitter @izzmatias
Carla Barretto is a busy bee that eats, sleeps, and breathes concerts. When she’s not shooting shows, she’s planning them herself! Her production and multimedia backgrounds blend into this peculiar mademoiselle with a love for live music.
Follow Carla Barretto on Twitter @heycarlaaa