Yes, in case you haven’t been paying attention, it was the third visit to Manila for this Irish group, and they did not disappoint.
I was fortunate enough to cover their last show which was fantastic! Tough to beat really, which can create a bit of a catch 22, high expectations from the fans. You’d think they couldn’t do much better, so I wasn’t holding my breath. I was pleasantly surprised, they did just as well, if not better than last time.
It’s no secret they enjoy performing for the enthusiatic Filipino crowds, the core members of the Irish band are composed of Danny O’Donoghue on vocals, piano and guitar with Mark Sheehan on back-vocals and guitar, and Glen Power on back-vocals and drums.
The fans showed up in force, a quick glance around the SM Mall Of Asia Arena on April 17, 2015 showed a packed house, not sold out but close.
A grand entrance from the back of the house escorted by a parade of green flags, carried by some of the Scripts most loyal fans to the song “Paint the Town Green.”
Proclaiming, “Let’s make this place feel like our own… Tonight, we’re gonna paint the town green!” A theatrical dancing entrance, by Danny, reminiscent of Michael Flatley although donned in a somewhat odd looking pair of pants, the crowd erupted with excitement.
Of course, an Irish theme for the evening, the tricolors of the flag adorned the microphone, with Danny’s “Irish Power” shamrock tattoo and Glen wearing a kilt.
Just like last time, Danny often mingled with the crowd, he caught everyone by surprise, when he popped out in one of the nose-bleed sections and made his way back to the stage and as usual the crowd just ate it up.
As consummate performers will do, they kept everyone interested, with setlist choices showcasing a range of different moods and tempos, which struck a perfect balance, very well done.
Many of the songs are piano driven which can present a problem during a live performance, it can get super boring watching someone behind a keyboard for the entire show but with help from touring member Rodney Alejandro on keys, Danny is able to come out from behind the instrument often, a wise choice.
Along with keyboards and vocals, Danny also picked up a guitar for a couple of tracks and to no ones surprise, simply lit the place up!
Some personal stories and sound advice in-between songs brought the fans feeling closer to the group. Mark warned the crowd to “be mindful of the things you write or say.”
Danny also explained their take on the pros and cons of the internet age. Sharing how wonderful it is to directly communicate with fans on social media, and how he appreciates this kind of interaction.
But on the other side he also warned of many problems with many constantly Instagramming or Tweeting, staying on-line all the time, being afraid of missing out. “There’s so many things these days. So many people spend their lives on their phone… They’re too busy.” “Just live in the moment”
The crowd cheered when they showed off a pair of Manny Pacquiao signed boxing gloves, explaining that they are huge fans of the boxer.
Then went a step further and did a short skit, to predict the outcome of the Pacquiao-Mayweather fight, Mark played Pacquiao and Danny played Mayweather, Danny ended up on the floor. Not quite the actual outcome of the fight but they are Manny fans none-the-less.
It was also interesting to hear their first hand account on recording the video for “Man on a Wire”, as they showed portions of the video on the big screen behind them.
Marc talked about what happened behind the scenes and they showed a clip which made it obvious that there was no green screen involved. If you haven’t seen the video yet check it out, unless your afraid of heights.
For the song “Nothing”, Danny also explained that on their last tour they had regularly played an interesting game, which they hadn’t done on this tour. He asked if someone could call their ex-boyfriend or girlfriend and he would sing them this song over the phone.
Part of the lyrics are; “Am I better off dead? Am I better off a quitter? They say I’m better off now than I ever was with her.”, I wonder what the person not the other end of the line was thinking…
They also had set up a B-stage for this show, a small circular platform located at the opposite end of the main floor, which was a wonderful chance for the folks in the back of the arena to get a closer look, sensational stuff.
The Script have racked up a huge amount of global success with over 20 million records sold, with the first three having been multi-platinum throughout the world.
Hall Of Fame, the lead single from last album “#3,” was a worldwide #1 single with over 5 million sales, 133 million YouTube views, and over 100 million Spotify plays. The Script has done especially well in the States, where they have 5 platinum singles and have sold over 1 million albums.
Their #3 world tour spanned 11 months, and saw them play sold out arena shows in Europe, North America, Asia and Australia including 2 shows at London’s O2 Arena.
No Sound Without Silence, the band’s 4th album, follows suit with a bunch of emotional songs and catchy radio-friendly tunes, with a current world tour which is on fire.
Somewhat difficult to do but they make look easy, the group has the ability to make huge spaces feel intimate. Certainly a testament to the quality of their shows.
Top of the line showmanship, there was no letting up for the entire evening, everyone in the place enjoyed themselves.
For the final song of the night, Danny asks the crowd, that for once, to use their phones for another purpose, “Something that we’ll remember for the rest of our lives, something that we can take to heaven with us, something we won’t forget, you can’t get those things if you stay on your phone. So for this one song, just live in the moment, yeah?”
They played their hit track, “Hall of Fame,” everyone sang in unison and phones lit the arena up like the Milky Way, something special to experience.
A photographers note: The first 3 songs, photo-pit access for about 12 photographers. Kept in a holding area off to the side, until after the parade of flags had gone by then we could enter the pit but had to stay to the left or right, no crossing the center. I chose the right side and there was no space to move about so I stayed in almost the exact spot for first two songs. The third song they did let us go into the middle but due to an extended stage it was very narrow and could only fit one person deep, so you couldn’t cross to the other side anyway, not much room and not many options for various angles. Covered the rest of the show from the crowd.
Special thanks going out to the folks at Midas Productions, another fantastic event…