Cyndi Lauper Live in Manila: A Dream Come True


“It’s been exactly three months ago today when that special event happened but the memories of that night with my childhood idol & icon is still very much fresh in my mind. It’s like this friendly ghost that keeps haunting me and you never want it to go away.”     —Carlo dela Rosa

THE VISION

I really dreamt about this and God knows I’m telling you the whole truth. As in, no kidding.

Sometime around October, I dreamt of Cyndi coming to Manila performing in an open arena. She was there so close to me. I was even able to take souvenir pictures with her while she’s performing.  Then right after her concert, fans including myself were chasing her for some autograph. She went straight to her coach but I kept on running just to follow her but in the end lost her. Unfortunately, none of the booklets from my entire Cyndi Lauper CD collection that I brought were signed.

That day, I woke up still feeling great and hoping still that someday, Cyndi will return back to Philippines. A few months later, to my surprise, never thought of that particular “someday” will be that soon when I’ve learnt in December that Pulp Live World is bringing her back to perform for a one-night only gig in Manila!

TRIP DOWN MEMORY LANE

I was only 7 years old the first time I saw on TV this crazy, free-spirited, colorful woman sporting her yellow & red hair while her body was filled with tons of jewelry. ‘Twas the “We Are The World” era then. I thought to myself, “Wow! She’s not most people!.

My fascination with Cyndi even became deeper when my cousin and I (we were both staying in the same family compound) started this little kiddo competition. We were always competing with almost everything ever since we were born: when we were being teased by our siblings and cousins, he was the “Ike Lozada” since he’s the chubby one and I was the “German Moreno” for being the slimmer one; he was the “Charlie Masso” of Menudo while I was the “Robbi Rosa” (since my last name is dela “Rosa”).

One day, we came up with this idea of choosing another idol that we can compare ourselves with but this time, in a female persona. Guess who are the two most prominent female singers of that time??? Since his name starts with letter “M”, he chose Madonna and that leaves me with Cyndi Lauper since my first name starts with letter “C”. 

The rest is history.

PRE-CONCERT

I was in Manila for my Christmas vacation when the news spread out. No Merriam Webster or Oxford Dictionary nor Wikipedia could describe my mixed feelings at that time. But one thing I’m sure of: my dream came true. “What a perfect birthday & Christmas gift,” I thought to myself.

As a blogger, it was my duty as a patriotic die-hard Cynner to announce to the world that Cyndi is coming to town. So what I did was to search around music stores and other places then took photos of the promotional posters of her and post ’em in my blog. As a fan, I’m just as excited like a li’l kid expecting for my Christmas gift from Santa.

By January 03, 2012, finally, I was able to feel with both my bare hands the two Patron A tickets that I purchased from Ticketnet’s booth. My hands were shaking literally. It’s really happening. Recalling the recent concerts that Cyndi did, I thought it’d be nice to get an aisle seat since she always go down the stage and mingle with her fans during the show. So I asked the ticket lady to check for me Row A…not available, both sides (left & right). Never mind I said…try B. No luck still. So I ended up with the nearest row with an aisle seat: F. And I must admit that I did drop the “F” word to myself for ending up in the sixth row. But I said to myself that it’ll be OK. “F” is “fine” and I do have a “F-eeling” that my seat would be “F-reaking” awesome.

THE CONCERT

I left home in the morning. I went for a haircut with my best friend in his salon. I told my best friend that I wanna look good when Cyndi sees me. So my best friend did his very best to style me up. Then in the afternoon since I still have plenty of time, I went around Farmer’s Plaza and around Araneta area to see if there are still other promotional displays of Cyndi that I haven’t shot yet. Apparently, there were a lot. . .

Then in the evening, I met up my other 3 friends who will watch the concert with me (Jack and her younger sister hold two Upper Patron tickets) and we went for dinner first before heading to the entrance gate.  There was already a long queue when we arrived. Since Giselle’s and my ticket are VIP ones, the guards told us that we don’t need to fall in line. So we stood on the side near where Pulp’s giving the Media Pass. There, I met another die-hard Cynner, Andres Bukid. We talked everything that we know about Cyndi. Then soon as the entrance lane became free, we headed inside. There, we took some more “Kodakan” moments. . .

My dear friend Frances Giselle Ng—thanks for taking photos & videos for me. All photos that you see here (except otherwise specified) were mostly from her🙂

With fellow die-hard Cynner and newly found friend, Andres Bukid🙂

Inside, Giselle & I parted ways with Andres. Our seats were F1 and F2 to the left side while Andres’s seat was on Row D to the right side. “Dang!”, I said to myself. That time, I just hoped that Cyndi will stand in front of us. Fingers-crossed.

* * *

OPENING ACT

The tik-tok beating in my heart even became more intense when the opening act, 80’s Pinoy Rock Diva Lou Bonnevie together with Rage Band warmed up us with their renditions of 80’s tunes. . .

Soon as Lou Bonnevie and the Rage Band completed their act, the crowd is cheering: clapping hands, giving catcalls and even shouting her name: Cyndiiiiiiiiiii! They too, like me, were soooooooo excited to see her. While the production team is busy dismantling the band equipments of the opening act, Cyndi’s band members appeared and started testing their instruments. This made the crowd even more intensified!

*  *  *

AT LAST…CYNDI LAUPER…LIVE!

A few moments later, Cyndi came out from the right side of the backstage. Everyone roared including myself! “I’ve never been here since…(paused for awhile thinking)…it’s like a different life. Thank you all for coming tonight,” she humbly told her fans as the crowd got wild. Of course, the last time she was here was in October 13-14, 1989 during her A Night To Remember Tour so a lot of things have changed except for us loyal fans of her who kept faithful to her ’til now.

Someone in front of me flashed a 15″ x 20″ poster of her circa 1980’s, “Look at me…can’t always dress the same,” she joked. “ Let’s make some noise!!!” she encouraged everyone as she starts with her first song of the night, “She Bop“. Scream to death!

As she sang, the crowd also sing-along with her. At 58, who would’ve thought that this veteran could still hop, strut, flex, dance, run and lay on the floor while swagging her two legs up in the air while singing live? As she sang the first chorus, she went down the stage to be with her fans sitting in front from the far left side and stood in a chair. Then she went back to stage and sing there again.

And just before she finishes the second chorus, she went down the stage again for the second time around and this time she headed in the aisle! Before I knew it, she was already standing in front of us (just 2 rows away from us). . .

I feel like I was floating in the sky when I finally got a chance to hug, hold and dance with Cyndi while she sang beside me. At that moment, I thought to myself that I can already die with happiness in me 0:-)

It’s like: “OMG! This is it! I can’t believe I’m standing beside the woman behind the photos from my entire CD collection!” Special thanks to Jackie-Llave Carurucan for this screencaps

Sitting in F1 with high hopes, prayers and fingers-crossed all paid off! F-reakin’ awesome!!! Eeeeeeeeh!

Cyndi even glanced at me. . .

At that moment, I feel like I’m sharing the “light” (and attention) with my childhood idol & icon

Cyndi was like a saint statue that Catholic people adore…everyone wants a piece of her so they’d do anything just to touch whatever they can (myself included): her back, her hands, her arm…just anything. Well couldn’t blame them because Cyndi’s a goddess of pop rock music so consider this a rare, once-in-a-blue moon apparition!

Her second song of the night, “Set Your Heart” off from her dance-oriented 2008 album (and personal favorite of mine), Bring Ya To The Brink took off. But after singing just a few lines, she asked her band to stop the music. She requested everyone to stop taking photos of her from a certain angle.

“I wanna come out and party with you. But…if you could’ve tramped on me so that I can’t sing, I can’t come out. So, what’s it gonna be???” While walking back to the stage, she kept on requesting everyone to cooperate with her. “‘Cause I wanna see you too but you can’t be pullin’ on me because I gotta work,” then the whole crowd went more ga-ga on her with her witty, comedic way of explaining while she tightened up the lace of her shoes on the monitor speaker to her front left.

“And I don’t mind pictures but you are not supposed to be under my chin…that was the deal, remember?” as she added more “FUN” to it. “Just think about all the weddings you went to and they took all those horrible pictures, right? And how were they? Right under here (pointing down to her chin).” And everyone laughed.

As soon as the “rules” were clearly set, Cyndi resumed singing the song. For the third time, she went down the stage and this time she went to Row C where my newly found friend Andres was sitting behind. . .

Soon as she finished the song, “When You Were Mine” (off from her RIAA certified 6x Platinum selling debut album, She’s So Unusual) followed with two of her assistants helping her attach the guitar to her body. You can hear the crowd cheering with this familiar song. . .

After the song ended, Cyndi went backstage briefly while the band continues to play the intro of her next song, “What’s Going On“. Once again, the crowd were pleased to hear this another familiar song of her off from her 1986 album, True Colors. She then continued with “Lyfe” this time we can only hear mainly the drums as intro. During this time, Cyndi asked, “How {are} you doin’? Hope I didn’t scare you…I wanna see you dancing but no come {down} on me,” in a well-natured manner.

Three blues cover songs followed, “Just Your Fool” and “Crossroads” off from her 14-week #1 Billboard Blues Album, Memphis Blues; then she explained why she’s singing the blues especially the next one, “Down Don’t Bother Me” originally sang by blues legend Albert King.

The karaoke-style live concert resumed when Cyndi started singing a very well-recognized hit of hers…All Through The Night“. Accompanied with her inseparable dulcimer, Cyndi even joked before she started the song when some fan screamed, “True Colors!”. “No, not that, later…if you really feeling anxious, go for a walk, come back in…uhm…I don’t know…an hour?” the audience laughed wildly and applauded her comedic sense. It’s no wonder why she was nominated twice (1994, 1995) and won for the latter year for an Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series.

Still accompanied with her dulcimer, Cyndi sang “Time After Time“. People can’t stop singing with her from beginning ’til end and it gave me goosebumps hearing and seeing everyone interacting with Cyndi. And yes, you can see from Cyndi’s face how she was impressed with her Filipino crowd responding to sing along with her. And not just sing, everyone’s clapping to the beat of it! ‘Twas really a genuine moment with a legend singer like Cyndi.

The stellar performances continued as she next sang “I Drove All Night” from her 1989 album, A Night To Remember followed by “Change Of Heart” where she went down for the fourth and fifth time! Yes, for this song alone, she went down the stage twice…the latter one was when she even passed by our aisle to and fro. . .

Cyndi walks by as she approaches her crowd at the back

In the middle of “Change Of Heart”, a minor technical problem occurred and Cyndi has to walk back (passing us by once again) with a lucky kid in front of us was greeted by Cyndi

The rocking moment from “Change Of Heart” to “Money Changes Everything” continued. More powerful than ever, Cyndi belted out in this song which truly amazed her fans. Her voice didn’t change. She sang exactly the way it was some 29 years ago. The crowd won’t stop from dancing and rejoicing. And for the sixth time, Cyndi went down the stage again this time climbing up the Lower Box area to shake hands, reach out and sing with her fans there. As she screeched and belted out, “Moneeeeeeeeeeeey” for a long time several times…the crowd can’t help but to give her non-stop applause and shouts of joy!

Then, after the song, Cyndi went backstage again while the band continuously played the intro to her next song. The unfamiliar sound of the drum beats made the crowd wonder for a moment and Cyndi later on came back dancing to her own signature impromptu choreography a la tribal dance. By the time a New Wave sound from the synthesizer came out, the audience roared and hinted that it is “Goonies ‘R’ Good Enough“! Who would forget this song…and the movie? And mind you, she rarely sing this song as she admitted that she loathed this song mainly because of her bad experience during the shooting with the director of the first-ever, two-part music video.

Saving for her encore, the night will not be complete without her signature song, “Girls Just Want To Have Fun“. Everyone remained standing, dancing and cheering to the song that transited us all back to the time when music is still music: the 80’s! And for the seventh and last time, Cyndi went down the stage and passed us by again to be with her crowd at the back. Fans were simply stunned by her unique voice specially when belted out the part,” I wanna be the one to walk in the SUUUUUUUUUUUUN!” where the crowd roared and was totally blown by her magnificent voice! With no back-up dancers, no air-defying stunts, shocking costumes nor eye-popping pyrotechnic visuals to distract catch the attention of the audience as usually seen in most concerts, Cyndi Lauper made her fans going and going using only her pure voice, unbelievable talent, oozing charm and endless energy.

Steve Gaboury (left) and Charlie Musselwhite as they bow down to us several times

By the time she returned to stage, all of us were already in front of the stage that we did not bother to return back to our seats anymore at the end of the song. Everyone’s dying to hear her sing the powerful ballad, True Colors“. After introducing her band and bowing down several times as if teasing all of us that the night is over, Mr. Steve Gaboury, Cyndi’s long-time keyboardist and blues legend, Charlie Musselwhite who played the harmonica all night remained to sing the final song. Before it starts like in her previous shows, Cyndi explained how she dedicate this song to her friend who died of AIDS.

That’s my left hand with red bracelet and touching Cyndi’s hand while my right hand with the red watch holds my phone still as I record

Like in the past shows, in the middle of the song, Cyndi paused and raised her right fist as believed to be a salute to those who have died of AIDS, a reminder to the LGBT community to keep fighting for their rights and “Power to the people…power to you guys…and may all the {good} thing come to you…” as she wishes everyone the best. I couldn’t help it, I raised my arm too as if I’m receiving a holy blessing from the pope. As she finished the song, everyone including myself kept screaming, “I love you Cyndiiiiiii!”. The adrenaline rush in that venue was overwhelming. This is only a proof that Cyndi is loved and is STILL well-loved by her Filipino fans.

Many fans, once again including myself, shouted: “More! More! More!” Two gays in front of me even tried to tease Cyndi by screaming, “Like A Virgin!”. And I thought to myself, WTF are these people trying to prove? Are they Madonna fans given with free Patron A tickets? And even so, the word common decency should always apply to any given chance and circumstance like this. And one doesn’t need a proper education to learn common decency! So whoever these 2 people are and I hope this blog post reaches to them—grow up folks! I like and respect Madonna and even have her entire CD collection too but put your filthy mouths into proper places, yeah?

So what I did, I stared at them fiercely and instead shouted songs as popularized by Cyndi: “I’m Gonna Be Strong“, “Come On Home“, “Hole In My Heart“. Then they looked at me and asked me if those were Cyndi’s songs. So I replied diplomatically by saying, “Yes!” followed by educating them the respective name of the albums where these songs appeared. Now that’s how you respect a diva like Cyndi Lauper, you idiots!

Anyway, in the end, Cyndi granted our request by singing “La Vie En Rose” off from her 2003 album, At Last. After she finished her song, she waved goodbye and said, “Hasta la vista, baby…see yah.”

Well, you better keep your promise Cyndi because for sure, we will be there for you again as you bring another round of More Fun In The Philippines.

THOUGHTS

Cyndi Lauper Live in Manila was overall a success. On the other hand, as a blogger and probably as a person who has been exposed to advertising & marketing for years, I just thought that the event should have had more appropriate exposure prior to the concert date in order to announce to everyone that a legendary pop diva is coming back in town after 23 years. In this sense, other Lauper fans and concert-fanatics would be more motivated, perhaps be enticed not to miss this once-in-a-blue moon opportunity.

As a fan, all I know is that I don’t want to miss another 23 years of my life waiting in vain as to when Cyndi will come back for another stint in Manila…or not anymore. In my case, I really don’t mind flying from Bangkok to Manila and back just to be with Cyndi Lauper for a night. To me, it’s more of pursuing a magical dream to witness my childhood idol & icon in flesh.

But hope is always there to keep us motivated and be more prepared for the future. With that ever cheerful and lively Filipino audience who came last March 17, I do believe that Ms. Cyndi Lauper won’t mind coming back to Philippines once again because when she parted the words, “See yah…” that means she gave us a token—a promise that I for one grab a hold on to it.

One thought on “Cyndi Lauper Live in Manila: A Dream Come True

  1. thnx Carlo, fellow Cyndi fan, I enjoyed reading your blog.. I have seen your earlier blog on Cyndi before her concert in Manila… I added you as friend in my Facebook account. tnx🙂

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