• An unexpected thrill


    canaI was in New York City for a few days a couple of weeks ago. As a first-timer, I was understandably pretty excited. I didn’t have a strict itinerary and chose instead to just take it easy and take a leisurely, non-hectic stroll through the city. I had no idea that I was about to catch one of my biggest musical idols perform live, in the flesh.

    A friend who is based there was nice enough to take me around on a Saturday afternoon. Bianca, who works for a news, tech and social media website, has lived in the city for almost two years. She told me about the Global Citizen Festival, a concert that was scheduled that afternoon in Central Park.

    The artist lineup included rock band Kings Of Leon, folk-rock artist Elvis Costello, R&B superstars Stevie Wonder and Alicia Keys, and pop-rock troubadour John Mayer. Entrance was free but you had to have a printed ticket, which I didn’t know how to get.

    Organizers had barricaded almost the entire Great Lawn so it was virtually impossible to even peek inside the concert venue. So Bianca and I decided instead to just hang out near the venue so we could at least hear them sing. We sat down on the grass as Kings of Leon performed their hits, including “Use Somebody,” and “Sex on Fire.”

    We decided to walk around the perimeter and try to get a little closer so we could hear the artists a little better. By the time Alicia Keys took to the stage we had a good spot right outside the VIP entrance. She started belting out her hits, including “Fallin’,” “Girl on Fire,” “No One,” and of course, “Empire State of Mind.” It was pretty surreal to hear Keys singing “In New York/concrete jungle where dreams are made of/ there’s nothing you can’t do,” while actually being in New York.

    Mayer was up next. Just as he was starting on his first song, “Queen Of California,” these two guys suddenly showed up out of nowhere and asked us if we wanted to go inside the venue to see the show. We were too stunned to react at first but immediately said yes. Before we knew it, they had taken off their VIP passes and wristbands and handed them to us. We put them on, entered the gates and ran inside just in time to see and hear Mayer perform songs like “Half of My Heart,” “Waiting on the World to Change,” “Slow Dancing in a Burning Room” and “Gravity.”

    As a longtime fan of Mr. Mayer, that was about as thrilling as it could get. I couldn’t help but think how everything worked out perfectly that day, leading to a truly unforgettable New York moment.

    * * *

    Popular pop rock group Matchbox Twenty is coming to Manila on November 8 at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.

    Presented by Music Management International, the show features the band composed of Rob Thomas, Paul Doucette, Kyle Cook and Brian Yale who are responsible for hits like “Bent,” “Unwell” and “If You’re Gone.” Part of their tour repertoire is from their latest album entitled North, including singles like “Put Your Hands Up” and “She’s So Mean.”

    Tickets are available at SM Ticket outlets or visit smtickets.com.

    Email pjcana@gmail.com or follow me on Twitter @pauljohncana


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