The Fray Raised the Big Dome’s Heartbeat
“Mahal ko kayo!”
Isaac shouted right before playing “All At Once”, the first song the band played. In an instant, the audience was uprooted from the comfort of their seats. 10th of November 2012, roughly five months after the postponement of their concert, the fans were still the edge of their seats, screaming and cheering at every song and every word that the band had to put out. As first-timers in the mystical place called Manila, The Fray was uniquely well-versed with some of the basic Filipino greetings such as “kamusta” and “mabuhay”. While anyone could easily dismiss that as a casual sign of respect in any foreign land, you would know in the way Isaac let go of those words that he meant them; that he wanted to connect with the Filipino audience in a different level. That was precisely what kept the fans markedly thrilled during that evening. That is, of course, excluding the fact that they were superlatively excited to see The Fray for the first time ever.
“We’re The Fray. We’re from Denver, Colorado. You guys like to sing? You guys like to dance a little bit? It’s gonna be a good night. Hold on to your horses.”
Three songs in, Isaac Slade took a moment to introduce the band, to herald their audience of what’s about to happen, and those simple words were the ones he chose. Certainly, it would be difficult to miss the blatant humility and simplicity that the entire band exuded. Since their debut to the world of music in 2005, the band had been given numerous Grammy nominations for their undoubtedly memorable piano-driven hits. To add to this, they had been featured in most of the popular US television shows. Their songs had been soundtracks of among the most iconic shows. Over the years, they had played in different parts of the world and had received worldwide acclaim for their music. Isaac, Ben, Joe and Dave were close enough to being rock stars, but during that evening, they were anything but that.
They were dressed simply. Hey, even the stage was barely set – with no room for extravagant LCD panels or theatrics. That was all, however, according to plan, as The Fray was intent on keeping the show about their music, the rawness of their melodies and the emotive appeal it had held over its audience; and they did a damn fine job at that. The lighting, too, accented the ambiance of their music.
All throughout the evening, the energy each member radiated was among the most overwhelming that the crowd had ever experienced. Their stage presence was magnificent. The flawlessly glided through every song – from the inventive introductions and interludes of “Happiness”, the lively beats of “Heartbeat” to the solemn key notes of “Be Still”. Even more commendable was Isaac’s effort to reach out to the crowd, in the literal sense, when he jumped out of the stage to greet the people at the patron and upper box seats for three minutes or so. That, as we all know, rarely happens in foreign concerts.
From singing along to “Never Say Never” (‘Don’t let me go’); to hearing Joe King’s poignant performance of “Ungodly Hour”; to rocking out to their viral hits “Look After You” and “How to Save a Life”, to keeping track of Isaac’s whereabouts when he went our during “Happiness” and “Over My Head”, everything. Their performance was so breathtaking that it certainly left the crowd content yet slightly wistful. Indeed, it was worth everything – the months (or years) of waiting and the value for money.
And for all the fans out there, hold on. Isaac himself said: “I promise you, we will make another record and we will come back.” Well, we’ll just have to wait for that one.
Very, very special thanks to That’s Ntertainment for making The Fray Live in Manila 2012 possible.