A1 20th Anniversary Reunion Tour – Day 1

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Konnichassssuu!!!

Well, this one is very different! Haha, and I have to admit this isn’t my usual ONE OK ROCK fanfare. This is 100% different!

Before I got hooked to the whole 10969 madness, I have quite a lot of favorite singers and bands which rocked my world during my teenage years. There’s Linkin Park, Paramore (Yes, I once listened to them), The Calling (As seen in this blog entry), Simple Plan, and Black Eyed Peas. Of course, there were also boybands famous in those days like NSYNC, Westlife and Backstreet Boys. While I like them, none of them could be compared to my utter love for the British boyband, A1.

A1, comprised by Ben Adams, Mark Read, Paul Marazzi and Christian Ingebrigtsen, was founded in 1998. They released their first album “Here We Come” the next year and not long after, they became an instant hit in Asia and in Europe. Sadly, after they released their third album “Make it Good” in 2002, Paul left the band for undisclosed reasons. Ben, Mark, and Christian continued onward even without Paul and released new songs.

I can’t recall who exactly introduced me to the boyband, although I can share that I had danced to “Ready or Not” with some classmates of mine in elementary for a school event. I can also fondly remember I had all their albums when I was in elementary school, including a special VCD which showed their behind the scenes in some of their music videos. I also recalled I gave it to a high school friend during my second year since I fell out of my fandom in favor of anime and manga. I even had posters which I know I hid somewhere in the house because I just couldn’t let go.

Despite the fact I had given those old albums out to a friend, I would still listen to the songs of the band through my iTunes and more recently, in Spotify. Many memories would always come back each time I’d listen to these tracks and the hope I would still get to see them live was there.

When the remaining trio announced they would have a live in Kia Theatre in 2016, I was mulling over the idea of watching it. My crazy friend Jumi even went to watch. However, that was the same time I was catching up with work since I had just returned from Japan so it was a big no no. And there’s this idea that it would have been 100% better if Paul was with them. Sure, they still sing great and look great but, its not A1 without Paul.

The dream continued on until the announcement that Paul had met with his bandmates in 2017 and a photo was published to show it. The photo gave all of their fans hope that there is a possibility they may have something cooking with all four of them together. And lo and behold, not long after that reunion, on May this year, the band announced their 20th Anniversary Reunion Tour with all of them performing.

20 years in the biz… man, are we all that old? Hahaha!

When I saw the announcement for Asia, I thought, “I have got to watch this. I missed the first show in 2016, this one, I just got to watch!” Fortunately, my friend Jumi was watching and got us VIP tickets for the then-one night concert in Manila. They later announced a second date, October 22, for Manila since the original date got sold out ASAP. She luckily got us tickets in the middle row which was ended up being a good place to see the entire show.

I won’t be able to give you guys a blow to blow account of the live like what I do with my ONE OK ROCK lives, but I can share some cool pics from the show and some mini stories in them.

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A clear view of where I was in the theater. Smack center to be honest. It was my first time in New Frontier Theatre and I must say it was quite an interesting experience. Net signal was a bit choppy but hey, at least you won’t have to worry about crazy fans trying to stream the whole live.

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While waiting (Which admittedly took a while), this advert for the merch and the new single, Armour (Which they performed that night) kept popping. Did get a bit in the nerves once 8 pm came along since it was too loud and everything was taking ages! We just tuned it out and waited patiently.

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Show with the usual lightout and a futuristic preview of this iconic logo. The fans – both girls and boys – were screaming. Not like any rock show I have been too. It was insane! A bit tame I admit but the cheering was contagious!

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Show picked up quite fast with some of A1’s most beloved hits and here, I believe they were performing “Be the First to Believe” which came from their first album. It is so great to see them all together! And man! 20 years and they still sound the same!

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I would know this dance step from anywhere and when this song was performed, Ben and Paul asked us to drop the phones for a bit to do the iconic hand gestures. We all did and danced just like in the video. Maaan so nostalgic!

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The guys took their time to speak to the fans and shared some of the crazy stuff they did on their way to the tour and some stories about our favorite songs. One of the most amusing ones was Paul falling asleep in the airport and ended up getting left behind. The chap was pretty much ok with it and even made it a point to talk about him going back to performing and how he would joke whenever the other lads would say something that somehow links to Paul’s departure. The other lads did joke along with him and would give him love (bro hugs a plenty!)

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I forgot which song this is but I think it was Same Old Brand New You coz thats the only song they had this at the ending. Even if they guys haven’t performed together for a loooong time, you would see they took the effort to work past that. In some parts, they were a bit uncoordinated but I suppose its with the stage since they have to do all the right pacing and such. But it is forgiven.

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This one is during the encore, where they sang the iconic song “Stand By Me.” They sang quite a lot of the unexpected songs, especially the medley of all the songs they love but don’t get that much screentime. I could remember Christian singing a unique title for the medley (forgot exactly what it was but it was quite catchy and true!). Bro love a plenty!!!!

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This one is for the finale and it was Take on Me. I love Ben’s outfit and Mark’s boundless energy for this. We just felt like dancing along. And aww-ed at the end coz they took time to say goodbye to everyone.

Like A Rose (Which I didn’t get to take much photos for my record) was romantic. A lot of girls, me included, would have loved to be the one Ben offered a rose and kiss too. Sigh! But, it was great hearing it live. It was one of my favorite songs.

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Last pic from the show! Me and my crazy fangirl friend Jumi! We don’t meet that much despite our crazy talks every once in a while in Facebook. Hopefully we will be able to see each other next year. Either Westlife or Backstreet, I got no idea. We’ll see how it goes.

Overall, the experience was surreal. I never really thought it was possible to see these guys in one stage again and listen to the songs that made my youth memorable. Even if 20 years have passed and they aged a bit, its still A1 and I cannot wait to see where they will bring their music in the next coming years. With how Armour turned up, hope they will make another anthemic song which would mark their return.

For now, I will be waiting patiently alongside the other A1 fans in the country as we wait for these four lads to return with new music.

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