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Piano on Fire: Aloha, Eraserheads

I honestly don’t want to write about the Eraserheads because, well, everyone else is blogging about it now and I don’t know what else to add to the babble. I don’t want to write a blow-by-blow account of the concert, or even a recollection of my favorite moments. I shan’t bore you with that. But still, even though it’s been a day after the concert, I’m still on a high and I’m typing away this entry even if I can barely keep my eyes open.

I’m not the biggest Eraserheads fan around. I know of a hundred people who can claim that they are the biggest fan. I only have Cutterpillow and Fruitcake (plus the book) in my collection. Like so many people, I thought they jumped the shark when Sticker Happy came out. I’ve never seen them perform live.

But if you’re a kid growing up in the 90’s, they’re inescapable. I was able to get a copy of Circus recently and I was amazed to discover that I know every track by heart, thanks to my class adviser who played the album in an endless loop every single day of my 5th grade life.

Every kid who started to play the guitar back in the 90’s trained themselves on one of two songs: Line to Heaven by the Introvoys (I shudder when I recall the glee I felt when I realized how easy it was to play D-A-G-A; let’s not delve further) and Ang Huling El Bimbo (which nobody regrets playing).

With a Smile was everybody’s anthem for those ugly days when nothing went right, and Kailan was the best song to pick when you want to impress a girl. Magasin was a great song to play when you’re bored. Para sa Masa (probably their worst song) was playing everywhere . After getting drunk, the staggering-to-home song of choice is Alkohol. No friendship would be complete without meaningful stares, full of bromance, Minsan playing in the background (we were very cheesy kids. Shut up). Ligaya was one of those feel-good songs you just can’t get out of your head. The uncensored Pare Ko was the best way to shock the shit out of uptight elders. I also found myself relating to the same song years later, after getting drunk over a girl. Good times. The Eraserheads, it seems, have a song for everything.

Which brings everything back into perpective as I stood in that crowd in MoA that night. I was singing along to every single song they played. When Ely ordered the crowd to jump, I obliged cheerfully. I was speechless when I caught The Beatles refereneces in Spolarium. I found myself filled with nostalgia for simpler days when everything had a rosy tint and the music was sweet.

And when Ely stepped over to the Stickerhappy piano, we knew it was going to be something different. And then he set it on fire. We were all shocked. Partly because seeing one of our childhood heroes playing a burning piano is one of the awesomest things that everyone should see in their life, but also the act of burning and destroying the iconic piano was full of meaning.

ely buendia burns piano
Ely Buendia burns piano: Photo by Karla Redor

We can’t assume that Ely saw the symbolism that time. For all we know he was just trying to outdo Jimi Hendrix (Hendrix burns and trashes guitars, but Ely Fuckin’ Buendia burns and trashes PIANOS! Beat that, Jimi boy!), but the piano was to the Eheads as the violin bass is to Paul McCartney. Trashing the piano was saying “Ok guys, this is it. We gave in and gave you the concert you asked for. The Eraserheads are officially over. Goodbye.”

So it really is over. Frankly, I can’t think of a better way to go. Seeing these guys perform together for the last time, playing the music that everyone loves, has given me goosebumps of the nostalgic kind. I left the concert grounds sad with the fact that this is the end, but also thankful that their music made the ’90’s an oddly crazy but awesome time to grow up in.

22 Comments

  1. arnold

    lets just accept the fact that there will be no concert

  2. aluap

    eheads is a symbol of college years. halos lahat ng kanta nila, we can relate to it.

    when they sang Minsan, i got a bit teary-eyed.

    I hope they will still have a reunion concert, but cguro after 5-10 years pa. para mas astig. and para i can bring my daughter with me. 🙂

    my husband and I were in the VIP section. pero parang ang layo pa rin. it was also crowded.

    • Ade

      Minsan was the most goosebump-inducing moment of the concert. It’s like Ely was singing about themselves.

      • reyearth

        I would have to agree that “Minsan” was really goosebump-inducing…..

        I went with my best buddy from High School and i cant help but invoke solid sentimental memories…

  3. Demmit! Sayang ng piano! Didn't watch,tough. I will not be able to bear the separation anxiety and the open field. *sigh*

  4. Thanks to tonsillitis, I just missed half of my entire life….:(

    • Ade

      Ah, crud, that sucks, brother. 🙁 Let's hope that the DVD comes out faster.

  5. i was there also! and can i just say, like the first one, astig sobra!

    but i've a feeling there'll be no more part 3. it took years to convince the four to do the first one. and the second one was done as a continuation of the first. if they do a third one, people wouldn't be as excited because it wouldn't be extraordinary anymore. it being "the final set" methinks is what drove thousands and thousands to moa that night.

    • Ade

      Honestly, I don't want a part 3, at least not in the next 5 years. Maybe if they reunited to make a new album, but if it's going to be the old songs all the time, I'd rather do something else.

      Also, where were you? I was in bronze. It sucked big time.

  6. I am not the biggest fan, I don't even consider a fan, but I love some of their songs.

    We cannot deny that E-heads made history with their music. It's good that they end this history with a bang.

    On the other hand, I wonder how this group stick together through rehearsals and all that considering that there was a rumored friction amongst them. Oh well, those are only rumors… and even if these are true, they just only showed they're professionals. Kudos to them.

    • Ade

      Maybe during the first concert. It looks like they're ok now, kind of. The interaction between Ely and Raimund last Saturday suggests a warming up between them.

  7. Did they say it's going to be last? I have a feeling there'd be more to come.

    • Ade

      I'm too lazy to dig up the article, but Ely did announce that there will be no reunion concerts after this. Sad. 🙁

  8. The symbolism of the burning piano is right on. This is the best way to end the eraserheads saga, they ended still popular and the clamor from the fans is crazy!

  9. "but also the act of burning and destroying the iconic piano was full of meaning."

    if they should ever make a movie of the e-heads (and they should), this scene would be the finale – symbolic, iconic, and truly dramatic.

    the eraserheads and the 90s were inseparable, and the music and memory they created was indelible.

    they were the closest thing we ever had to the beatles in influence and in shaping a generation, and by the time they were broken up, they had transformed pinoy music like no one else had before them.

    • Ade

      the eraserheads and the 90s were inseparable, and the music and memory they created was indelible.

      they were the closest thing we ever had to the beatles in influence and in shaping a generation

      I agree totally. Say what you want about the quality of their later albums, or the eventual egoistical bitchfight between Ely and Raims, but you can't deny the fact that they changed Filipino music – and in effect, an entire generation.

  10. RJ

    I missed this for a stupid party at Manor!?

    JESUS FUCK!

    Well, wala din akong tickets but still..

    • Ade

      The Manor? You mean in Eastwood? The one full of classily-dressed women but they still manage to showcase their legs?

      I kinda envy you. I was stuck in the bronze section with smelly Jumping Js getting doped on MJ.

  11. it's over indeed.. but the music is not 😉

    and yeah, haven't seen anyone thrashed a piano yet except for ely buendia 😀

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