|From my 2018 IG stories archive|
This had long been sitting pretty on top of my wish list, and I take it as the Universe's personal response to my prayers when Rita Ora scheduled the Philippine leg of her Phoenix Tour on my birthday.
Songs I was happy she sang:
1. Doing It — A magical, youthful bop, which I hoped she'd perform but didn't bet on, considering the single's not entirely hers.
2. Lonely Together — The dance arrangement didn't erase the melancholy brought by the lyrics, not to mention Avicii's absence.
3. Hot Right Now — Where I realized that (1) I should've bought a VIP Standing ticket and (2) my hair isn't amenable to head-banging. Should remedy the latter, stat.
4. RIP — Any "old" Rita was welcome, even this grower.
5. Keep Talking — My favorite unreleased track from "Phoenix".
Songs I was bummed she didn't sing:
1. How We Do — Would've brought the house down. WTH, Rita?!
2. RADIOACTIVE! — THE song that made me a fangirl.
3. Body On Me — Would've had the time of my life gyrating while belting, Ah-yay-yayay-yay yay-yay yay yay-yay. Heh.
Pop music, I understand, makes storybook characters out of its stars. We spend resources on artists whom we can relate with or aspire to be like, bad music notwithstanding. I'm not above this machinery, as I earlier shared: I'm an Ora admirer because she's a fun yet mature, drama-free girlfriend.
It's the consistency of hits, however, that continues to draw me in. The criticism regarding interchangeability has merits. Anywhere and Lonely Together sound alike. So do Let You Love Me and I Only Want You. But I'm willing to overlook these given the many wonderful musical decisions she's made thus far. One of which is writing more ballads that showcase her voice.
I knew she would be amazing live, but her band was something else. They rocked and reminded me of Rita's rock-and-roll spirit.
Hands were up. So glad to be among those who really wanted to be there. Those who'd lose a little breath with you upon recognizing the song a few notes were leading to.
In my section, specifically my row, everyone was responding to the moment. Last night I saw proof against claims that we simply watch live shows through our phone screens nowadays. There were the occasional documentation, of course (as in this blog). Occasional being the operative word.
We all lost it in I Will Never Let You Down. Perhaps it was the timing — all of us had already warmed up to each other. So when Rita commanded, "On your feet," on our feet we were! Even the reticent was eventually swayed by the energy.
Rita, like most foreign celebrities or visitors coming here, had learned to say, Mahal kita. I've got a new word for the singer-songwriter: Her debut concert in Manila was bitin. She couldn't come back any sooner.