May 9, 2015 – From sunrise to sundown, the heat had a pulse of its own as it smothered the city as if to choke the life out of it. Even the breeze that day, in its minimal outbursts, exasperated the situation with nothing but more and more warmth. It was a typical summer day in Manila. By evening, however, things shifted to another dimension. At around 7pm, torrential rain suddenly started pouring around the city. The wind, as it swept ferociously, brought about an unusual chill. It was around that time, too, when another seemingly mind-boggling event was about to unfold.
Urbandub’s “Endless”, as their farewell concert was aptly called, was set to happen that night at the Metrotent. Right in the middle of April Fools’ Day, the band posted the cryptic announcement on their Facebook page, causing an unprecedented stir among Dubistas and the general public. There were doubts whether it was a bad joke even when the band had never pulled anything similar to it in recent memory. Unfortunately, it was far from it. As the members of Urbandub kept insisting in their interviews and based on everything that happened in the concert, it was the realest thing ever. It was farewell, and they were sending us off with one song to another, soundtrack after soundtrack, memory after memory, in the span of almost 2 hours.
After 15 years of being together, the band decided to call it quits. It would be the last time we get to see Gabby Alipe , Lalay Lim, John Dinopol and JanJan Mendoza together in one stage as “Urbandub”. You’d think that 15 years is quite a long time, but somehow, the band just seemed to be a welcome fixture in the OPM scene. Since their first album Birth up to their latest Esoteric, they have made music that was easy to embrace. They gave us songs that comfortably found its way in our lives.
Franco, graced the crowd, as the opening act for the event, setting the pace for what would be a momentous and well, quite an emotional evening.
The set encompassed 15 years’ worth of Urbandub’s music. From their first ever single “Come” in 2001 to the anthemic Influence tracks “Soul Searching” and “A New Tattoo”, to the belligerent “Alert the Armory” and the melancholic “Never Will I Forget:, the first part of the concert felt like a narrative of the band’s history. Bit by bit, their story was unfolding again, and everyone in the crowd took part in it wholeheartedly as they sang along, head-banged and danced in tune to the music.
The highlight of the concert came near the end when the band dished out the most beloved Udub songs such as “Endless, A Silent Whisper”, “First of Summer” and “Guillotine”. When I say “highlight”, it was also around that time that reality started seeping in. I remember looking around the crowd at that moment, and seeing people in complete surrender to the music as it played. It was a beautiful scene. Many were getting frantic with tears in their eyes and uncontrollable shrieks. Some had their eyes closed as if they were engraving the sound into memory. There were those whose hands were raised up high as if in respect to the band. Through it all, Urbandub basked in the exultation and the glory of each moment, thanking the crowd over and over for their support and love all throughout the years. As if to further intensify the sense of finality, the last song they played was “Gone”.
The legacy of Urbandub will live on. Fifteen years, they endured. Starting out as a struggling band from Cebu to becoming one of the most influential acts in the Philippines, they have become a solid inspiration for the younger generations who wish to make it big in the scene. They gave us songs that had become soundtracks to the distinct partitions of our lives. Years and years after today, their music will definitely play on, endlessly.
Daghang salamat, Urbandub!
* Special Thanks to MCA Music
More Photos at Urbandub Farewell Concert Photo Gallery
Written by Sandra Mae Laureano
Photos by Peter Tolibas