What Went Down at the Rico Blanco x IV of Spades: Live in Concert

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Last August 3, Rico Blanco x IV of Spades: Live in Concert happened at the Metrotent, and amidst the bad weather and traffic, music fans lined-up to witness this back-to-back show from two of the best in OPM.

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Weathering the storm: OPM fans in-line for the concert amidst bad weather.

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It was the first major concert of IV of Spades, one of the hottest and youngest Pinoy bands today and also the “comeback” concert of OPM titan Rico Blanco. The concert was produced by Rico under Balcony Entertainment and IV of Spades Production Inc. I got there just in time for the Soundcheck Party, wherein fans had a chance to ask Rico and the Spades anything, although most of those who got chosen didn’t bother doing that and had selfies instead. I was a bit doubtful and worried that people won’t show up due to the awful weather the past few days but rain didn’t stop the fans of both talents. They came prepared with umbrellas and jackets on.

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Soundcheck Party with Rico and IVoS

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Badjao

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Rico

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Zild posing for the fans

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Lucky fans got to ask and take selfies with RIco and IVoS during the Soundcheck Party

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The concert was very impressive; a level-up in terms of sound, stage, and light production. Kudos to Paolo Valenciano for the direction, Macky Mangasi for the light show, and Frey Zambrano for the overall production.  When everyone was already wrangled inside the venue, the all suited-up IV of Spades opened the show. Bassist Zild Benitez was on the piano as they performed “Sweet Shadow” to set the precedent and mood on what their fans should expect on their set. They performed their songs “Dulo ng Hangganan,” “Bata, Dahan Dahan,” “Where Have You Been, My Disco?,” “Hey, Barbara,” “Mundo,” to name a few. For a trio, they can make their sound so big and rich and their showmanship without missing a tune was commendable. I thoroughly enjoyed the visuals behind the band as it’s being presented synchronically per song. After a good almost an hour set, IVoS had to give way for Rico Blanco.

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IV of Spades opens the show

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One of the country’s in-demand bands, IV of Spades made certain that they were heard loud and clear by their fans, that everyone sang along while they do what they do best.

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Blaster Silonga

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Badjao de Castro

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Zild Benitez

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Instantly, you can feel the intensity of how much Rico Blanco missed being on that stage. His musical alter ego Fiesto Bandido and his merry men began by performing “Burado” and what followed was a smorgasbord of beautiful, nostalgic tunes one after another. People were more than willing to sing-along to his hits like “Your Universe,” “Antukin,” “Panahon Nanaman ng Harana,” “Yugto,” and Rivermaya singles “214,” “Kisapmata,” “Liwanag sa Dilim,” “Umaaraw, Umuulan,” “Awit ng Kabataan,” and just everything that a Rivermaya and a Rico Blanco fan would want to hear performed live.

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Impressive lighting, production, and direction.

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Welcome back! After a two year break from creating new music and performing on stage, FILSCAP President Rico Blanco’s performance was a testament to years of hits and undeniable fervor for making sure that everyone was having a great time during the show

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Rico with Ira Cruz on guitar

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The finale was Rico and IVoS on stage together. They played each other’s songs— “Take That Man,” “Kung Ayaw Mo Wag Mo,” a mash-up of “Your Universe” and “Mundo,” and they capped the night with their new song “Nagbabalik.” This new track was penned by Rico and produced by both Rico and IVoS. The single is released under Balcony Entertainment Label and the Fincher-esque music video was directed by RA Rivera.

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Rico Blanco and IV of Spades performed each other’s songs and ended the night with their single “Nagbabalik”

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I would have regretted it should I missed this concert and I’m glad, like everyone there who danced and sang at the Metrotent, that I braved the weather for rock n’ roll. I also got a chance to talk to both Rico and IV of Spades, and here’s what they had to say:

What did your hiatus teach you about your musicality? What bigger picture have you learned from taking that break?

Rico Blanco: Wala naman shang nagawa sa musicality ko, in fact it made me rusty. But giving myself that opportunity to do other things, made me more relaxed about doing music again now because I know that I already devoted time to all those things that I’ve always wanted to do but never had time for. Napagbigyan ko na yung mga iba kong gustong gawin and I’ve already planted seeds for the longer term; for the life after music. I realized that I don’t even have to live a life without music, pwede na shang isabay ulit. You’ve seen how I work; the way I was working before, I wouldn’t have the time to set-up and prepare for my future. Ngayon, medyo confident na ako na okay na yung set-up, so now, I can bring music back. I think it’s going to work in perfect synergy with everything else that I’m doing.

What advice can you give the boys of IV of Spade to have a lengthy music career like yours?

Rico: Yung tagal is easy especially if you love what you’re doing. Whether or not you’re successful, you’re going to keep doing it for a long time. You might end up doing it hindi na professionally, pwedeng hobby na lang. Hindi naman kasi lahat nagiging maswerte, I have to say that there’s a lot of luck that came my way also. I know a lot of people who are 100 times more talented or hard working than me. The Spades have a very good foundation already. I don’t know if it has to do with being exposed to the industry at a young age; learning from everyone’s mistakes. I taught them a bunch of lessons that I’ve learned over the years. They’re very curious and very intelligent; they absorb everything. I can’t really give them the secret or a pass code for the longevity because 26 years in the industry, I still don’t know it. Every day, I just wake up thankful that I’m still able to do what I love doing.

As a young band, you’ve already experienced quite a lot. How do you keep yourselves grounded? How do you shutdown from work?

Zild Benitez: Family and don’t take everything personally.

Blaster Silonga: Tsaka yung mga pagkakamali sa stage.

Badjao de Castro: Pagbaba ko ng stage wala na kasi. Nagauautomatic ako na magoff. Tapos parang okay na, kulitan na lang ulit kami. Pero kasi kapag nasa stage ka, turo sa akin ng erpat ko, dapat sobrang monster ka; maangas.

What does Rico have that you now want to practice in your band?

Badjao: Yung studio nya! Gusto namin na magkaroon ng ganung klaseng studio hahaha.

Zild: Yung consistency nya.

Badjao: Tsaka meron shang style nung nagrecord kami, old school.

Blaster: Pero good school.

Badjao: Old school pero yung drums sobrang ganda ng tunog.

Blaster: Yung pagka on na on nya, di nya hinahayaang walang mangyari sa araw araw nya. Productive sha lagi.

Zild: Oo, on the go sha.

(All photographs are taken by me. If you’re reposting my photos on social media, always credit me and you’re not allowed to alter or edit the images. Thanks!)