Classic Rivermaya Members Sans Bamboo Perfroms at 19 East

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It’s a long way but from a simple jamming of Rivermaya here up to this very point.

Going to 19 East Bar and Grill wasn’t easy last night, Hellish traffic, the faulty Google Maps pointed us in some dark, scary shit looking factory (the one you see in movies where the bad guys transact some shady business) and my supposed fear of toll gates according to my friends (Jaypee and Ralph). We really thought that we are lost and we are deciding to spend the night drinking to some resto or bar and go home and sleep. But NO. Thanks to our strong will to see the original members of Rivermaya play, some stroke of dumb luck because Google Maps suddenly fixed itself for some odd reason and with the help of good ol’ asking directions to some locals there, we made it to 19 East.

“Takot ka sa toll gate tol?” Yeah right. haha I’m thinking “Mahal kasi bayad sa toll gate eh, and we are running on tight budget.”  Medyo tama sila.. takot ako sa toll gate, magastos eh. kaya nga may service road.

We arrived there an hour early and the guy on the entrance said that they will start letting people in after 30 mins. The line was not long when we got there, so we decided to grab food in the nearest convenience store and light up some cigarrettes. Napasobra kami sa kwentuhan at yosi sa convenience store. Punyeta! Balik kaagad sa 19 East.

When we got back, the line was already freaking long. And when we got inside the bar, the bar was already full and luckily we are able to get a table for our self, close to the entrance and not the best spot but that would really do and we would kill for that spot if we have to.

And then they are starting to show up. First was Perfecto De Castro, the maestro in the flesh. The man who made the reunion possible.  The lead guitarist of the original Rivermaya lineup. One of my guitar heroes.

Fanboy mode : ON

Donning a black Kurosaki Ichigo T-shirt. Perf was the man of the hour, a lot of people crowding around him asking to have a photo with him and he was very accommodating to us, Great guy.  He reminds us of our officemate/friend Edward, they are look alike (in our opinion) though Perf was much more taller than Edward (peace ward!)

Then Nathan Azarcon caught our eyes, taking to some fans and taking pictures with them. We approached him and the first thing he said once he saw me is “Uy si Emerson to ah, kumusta?” (Hey, Emerson! what’s up?) stunned, the only thing came out of my mouth was “hehe” while shaking hands with him. Sir Nates and I are friends for sometime in Facebook, A surreal moment for me,  he’s now talking with me in person. We talked like we were old friends.

“Shit, kinakabahan ako.” said Sir Nathan.

“Huh? Parang bago ka naman ng bago sa ganito ser ah? hahaha!” I replied.

“Hindi, kasi ngayon ko lang ulit tu-tugtugin yung mga piyesa namin sa maya.” rubbing off  the sweat from his forehead and worrying what’s gonna happen.

“Ahh. Hindi ba ayun yung nire-rehearse ninyo kanina lang sa stage?” I said.

“Oo, pero di ako handa hahahaha!” he said.

“Kaya mo yan, piyesa ninyo yan imposibleng hindi mo maalala hahaha” I said.

Worrying on how would the gig turn out because he hasn’t played Rivermaya songs for a long time. After the long chat, we shake hands, took some photos together, he go back to his buddies and we go back to our spot inside the bar.

Mark Escueta the birthday boy is with his wife Jolina Magdangal (still beautiful as ever) and their child. Enjoying talking to each other, taking pictures with the fans. Mike Elgar and Ryan Peralta, the current lineup of Rivermaya is also present in the event. God, I forgot to take pictures with them! There will be next time!


While the happening outside the bar is awesome, inside the bar, Kontra is already rocking the housewith their music. Kontra is consist of Francis Aquino on drums and vocals, Mon Legaspi on bass and vocals, Armand Quimpo on guitars, Jeyvi Castillo on guitars and vocals.

Then after the rocking performance of Kontra, Perf enters the stage at last.

Perf De Castro performing with Kontra
Perf De Castro performing with Kontra

Sir Perf’s guitar skills were amazing as ever, trance-inducing vibe. Indeed he is the maestro. Perf De Castro also called Elmo Magalona for a tribute for the late Philippine King of Rap, The Mouth, Francis Magalona. They played Love of Lyf, Jolog and Kaleidoscope World. Every riffs of each songs makes me feel like Francis M. is with us that night.


Perf, Elmo Magalona and Mon Legaspi
Perf, Elmo Magalona and Mon Legaspi

Rico Blanco was the last to arrive. Fans were like bees swarming around him, and hell, we were unable to take a picture with him. Ralph and I decided not to take pictures of him because he was a busy man that moment, taking to his friends, former band mates and he was constantly swarmed by the fans.

Rico, Mark and Nathan chatting together
Rico, Mark and Nathan chatting together

While the fans are going gaga outside the bar because of Rico’s arrival, Triaxis started playing and man, it was great, together with Wendel Garcia and King Baldoz.

Perf and Baldo
Perf and Baldo

After the set of Triaxis, the moment of truth arrives. The big white projector screen serves as a curtain goes down. Perf, Nathan,Mark and Rico starts to come stage and preparing their gears before going into battle. The cheers of the audience is all you can hear inside the bar. At long last… Even though Bamboo Mañalac is not around, the dream is coming to life. All of the fans of Rivermaya have been dreaming and waiting for years is finally here. I feel 21 years younger, It was 1994 all over again.  When the white projector screen rise up, screams of fans flooded the bar, flash of cameras are raining down on them. There they are, in the flesh and about to start their set.

Nathan, Mark, Perf and Rico together again in one stage.
Nathan, Mark, Perf and Rico together again in one stage.

The setlist

  • Ground
  • Gravity
  • 214
  • Kisapmata
  • Ulan
  • Himala
  • Beep Beep cover by Juan Dela Cruz
  • Awit ng Kabataan

There are funny moments when Sir Nates worries come to life as he forgot some of the chords, but his buddies helped him by signaling and showing him the chords as they play. After one number, they told the audience that they didn’t have any proper rehearsal and they only met at 19 East. The hell if they mess up with the chords, it’s their own songs anyway! Props to Sir Nates and his bass playing skills! You’re the man and your new Warwick!!

After their set is over, the crowd is cheering “We want more!” wanting to them have an encore. But it never happened. The dream is finally over. No encore, just smiles and high fives as they exit the bar.

Outside, we had the chance to take pictures with them, and sadly Rico was surrounded again by tons of fans and we got zero hopes of getting a picture with him. Maybe next time…. next time.

To Sir Perf De Castro, Mark Escueta, Nathan Azarcon and Rico Blanco, Thank you guys for giving us, the fans this wonderful night. We really had fun watching you play together after a long time. Hopefully we can see more of you playing together in the future and hopefully Bamboo is with you next time you play together.

May kasalanan ako sa inyo. Isa ako sa mga nag re-record ng video habang nanunuod sa inyo. Napanuod ko kayo ng live pero, gusto ko sanang ulit-ulitin panuorin yung moment na iyon in the future.. Para din siguro sa mga hindi nakapanuod ng gig ninyo kaya ako nag record. True, nakakainis nga talaga na makita yung karamihan ng dumalo na may naka angat na cellphone at camera habang kayo ay nag pe-perform, panira ng moment. Sorry for that, we know that this is once in a blue moon na gig ng classic Rivermaya kaya nilubos na namin. Sorry.

This is one of the best night of my life. Something na hindi ko maipagpapalit sa kahit gaanong kalaking yaman,one of the moments that I will treasure till my last breath. Salamat sa inyo Rivermaya!

Here are some of the photos of the Rivermaya Gig last January 9, 2016.

Note: Sa mga photo grabbers ng interwebs, sige kunsensya ninyo naman yan. Pero pakiusap paki lagyan ng tamang credits ang may-ari ng pictures, common courtesy ang tawag dun mga Sir at Ma’am. Pero kung katigasan ng mukha ang paiiralin at lalagyan ninyo pa ng sarili ninyong watermark ang mga imahe at aangkinin ninyo, aba eh low-res naman yan, nasa akin pa din naman ang original na hi-res copy ng mga yan. nakakababoy kasi ang watermark sa itsura ng images kaya hindi ako nag lalagay. Special case yung mga artist na nasa pictures they can even ask me for the high-res of the images and I will gladly give it to them for free. 🙂




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