LANY live in Manila
Los Angeles to New York. Coast to coast. LANY wants to be the biggest band in the world, and they’ve definitely made it big in Manila.
“This is madness,” Paul Jason Klein said to thousands of screaming fans. I was at the Araneta Coliseum—one of the biggest concert venues in the country. My favourite band was performing their second sold-out show in a span of two days, and I was in disbelief.
A little over two years ago, I remember impulsively buying a ticket to their Boston show. They were just an opening act back then. Boston wasn’t part of my travel itinerary, but two bands I loved were playing there. The venue was a few hours from New York, so I figured “Why the hell not?”
I remember when I found out that they were making their way to the archipelago of an island that I call home, I was thrilled. I missed out on watching them in Boston earlier that year, but here was the clouds parting and an opportunity to finally experience their music live. I could not miss it. There’s just something about watching your favourite band live. At this point, my love for their music had grown exponentially.
Like that Boston show, I had almost missed out on seeing their performance. By some miracle—I was able to go, and not only that, I had accidentally bumped into Jake. I was too stunned at that moment to remember his name. Back then, most of my knowledge about LANY was about their music and yes, I’ll admit, I’d only Googled their names a few days prior to the show.
My heart froze as Jake stood inches away about to enter the elevator I’d just stepped out of. Someone had held out the elevator doors for him, and all I could stammer was, “Hi. You’re from LANY, right?”
He turned to face me and removed his earphones. “Yeah.” He nodded.
I can’t remember what went through my brain at that moment, but thankfully I was able to ask for a photo.
He agreed, but in my panic, I couldn’t find my phone. I had dropped it into the abyss of my sling bag seconds before. I even forgot I had brought my vlogging camera. Seconds ticked by. I still couldn’t find it.
I glanced back at the guy Jake was with—he was still holding out the elevator door but flashed me a smile. At least he understood. I glanced back at Jake, feeling pressured that everyone was waiting for me.
“I’m so sorry,” I apologised. “I can’t find my phone.”
My hand was still searching inside my bag. I didn’t know what else to do, so I told him about how they had a lot of fans in Manila. Looking back, I don’t think they expected to have a huge following here. But hours later, they’d soon find out.
When my palm grasped the cool frame of my phone, I celebrated. Just as I had unlocked my screen, a guard came strolling by. “Bawal ‘yan.” [That’s not allowed.]
It was because I was blocking the path to the elevator, but at that moment, all I could do was focus on Jake and snap a photo as quickly as possible. I did so with a shaky finger and thanked Jake, who eventually boarded the elevator as other people crammed in.
My heart was beating so fast in my chest. I couldn’t believe it. I was never this lucky. Okay, scratch that. Years ago, I’d met Billy Martin from Good Charlotte (that was complete luck too), but it had been years since something of that magnitude had happened. I was shaking from the shock.
I didn’t check the photo immediately because my next thought was that if Jake was there, then Paul and Les would be near, and true enough, all I had to do was look straight ahead. They were surrounded by a few fans, taking photos.
I jogged to the other end of the room and tried to insert myself in between other fans who were snapping photos with Les and Paul. I’d wanted a full-body photo, but every time I tried to ask someone to take my photo, I was ignored. Ah, well. I’d have to go selfie-mode then.
When I saw Les alone, I approached him and asked for a photo. This time, I was more prepared with my phone and instantly snapped a selfie. I thought about showing him a photo of a painting I did of LANY.
After a few failed attempts to approach Paul, I finally found an opening.
“Hi, Paul. I’m Izzy,” I introduced myself and then asked if it was all right if I could take a photo with him. As I inched closer and held out my phone, Paul hunched next to me and I felt his soft curls against my hair. I’m pretty sure my finger must have been shaking again, but I pressed the button and got my photo with him. I wanted to converse, but at that exact moment, a bouncer had announced that they had to go. Talk about perfect timing.
As they left, I was shaking from the experience of meeting one of my favourite bands. The timing was so amazing, and I’d mustered up the courage to actually seize the opportunity instead of my usual “oh-my-gosh and freeze” reaction.
Hours later, when they began their set with “Yea, Babe, No Way”, thousands of voices sang loud to the first line of the song. My heart swelled with pride. My favourite band was being recognised. I felt happy for them. I was so excited to see what this little band from LA would accomplish next.
A few months later, they announced five dates in Manila, which meant one thing: a mall tour. No way was I missing out on that, too. It was another milestone that they’d be accomplishing in Manila. And I wanted to be a part of that.
If I could have gone to every show, I would have, but I had to pick my battles. My body could only handle so much, and so I chose two back-to-back mall shows. Like their debut a few months before, they’d played about 10-11 songs only. I wanted to hear a full setlist, one that consisted of 15 or so songs.
One of my best friends had experienced hearing a full set before me, and finally, when Karpos Multimedia announced that they’d be bringing LANY back this year, I knew I had to get tickets. The tickets had sold out so fast that after a few weeks, they announced a second arena date.
This was LANY’s first-ever arena show as a band, and I was so happy it was in Manila. And that both days sold-out.
I wish I’d been able to watch their arena shows back-to-back, but I’m happy I got to experience #LANYliveinManila Day 2.
One moment the song was upbeat and made you want to dance, and then the next, Paul crooned a stripped down version of one of their songs. I felt the intensity of his emotions spilling from the stage all the way to where I was—by the sound booth.
I’d chosen that spot for two strategic reasons. One, the best sound quality is at the sound booth, and two, it was where the b-stage is. I tried to make my way to the barricade at the main stage, but it was too crowded. I seized the opportunity to make the most of what I had, which was to get a barricade spot at the b-stage.
And for one glorious song, LANY was within reach.
After wrapping up an intense performance of ‘Hericane’, they played ‘Super Far.’ It was at that point that I realised how the arena went from an overwhelming, emotional atmosphere to an exciting one. It’s hard not to want to dance to ‘Super Far’ and the way LANY had transitioned from one song to the next—just like that—made me realise how similar it was to life.
Well, at least, I could relate it to my life. LANY has always given me something to look forward to especially during dark days. Watching them live uplifts me so much that in those few hours, I feel like all the anxiety and stress evaporates. I even forget how exhausted I am because I’m so happy.
It’s like the ups and downs of life.
I wish I could live in that happy moment forever, but I know that eventually the show has to end, and the next thing I can do is look forward to another one. The next thing I can do is hold on to hope.
As the sound of thousands of fans resonated around the arena, I couldn’t be more proud of the little band from LA who had come so far.
LANY live in Manila
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