Fiesto Bandido—that musical wizard more popularly known as singer/songwriter/showman Rico Blanco—has pulled it off once again.
On Philippine Independence Day, June 12, 2013, Rico made history as he held his first solo concert dubbed “Rico Blanco LIVE!” at the Music Museum. The event was sold out by the week it was held as his fans, friends, and supporters trooped to the venue to witness what was promised to be a highly visual out-of-this-world journey through Rico Blanco’s musical career. This wasn’t just your standard concert; it was a show in every sense of the word.
Ever since the artist introduced the feather-and-chrome-clad persona of “Fiesto Bandido” for his newest album “Galactik Fiestamatik,” Rico Blanco’s fans all over the country have been treated to a dose of the spectacle that has become the trademark for the musical chameleon’s current persona. What with all the ati-atihan-inspired attire, the beats, the tribal dancing reminiscent of town fiestas (assuming fiestas are held in space), and the colorful light show that accompanies the music beat by beat.
“I’m doing away with my old habits with a rock band,” he declares. Which is exactly what he did, removing any semblance of the traditional rock setup; stripping his music down to primal beats, electronic textures, and his trademark keys. At the same time, Rico brings back the concept of a “rock show,” a visual experience which Filipino music fans haven’t had in quite sometime. It is pure audacity not present in a lot of artists, a brave move that was so crazy that it actually worked.
Lights out. Fiesto glided onstage to the haunting opening keys of “Amats,” the first single from his latest album. By the time the thunderous beats started, the concert turned into a space age light-and-sound show. The musical bandit didn’t stop there as he dove right into his next single, “Burado.”
He may be a forward-thinking artist, but not one to disavow his roots. Blanco proceeded to do an electro medley of his old band Rivermaya’s hits: “Umaaraw, Umuulan,” “Kisapmata,” “Elesi,” and “Kung Ayaw Mo, Huwag Mo.” The audience caught on to their old favorites, and sang and clapped along as the Fiestamatik Ringleader egged them on.
After performing his newest single, the wistful “Lipat Bahay,” singer-songwriter Kitchie Nadal joined Blanco onstage for a different take on the Rivermaya ditty, “214.” The man of the night then went on to another look back, as he performed “Balisong” and “You’ll Be Safe Here” before wrapping up the number with a tender track off “Fiestamatik,” “Hours and Days.”
Blanco wore the Filipino flag on his sleeve as he performed the Heber Bartolome classic, “Tayo’y Mga Pinoy.” The song is also the theme song of SMART Bro’s “Tayo’y Mga Pinoy” campaign which featured the artist collaborating with other musical greats Ely Buendia, Raimund Marasigan, and Barbie Almalbis.
He then went a little forward in time again, back to his Rivermaya days as he performed “Panahon Na Naman” with a pre-recorded Chito Miranda, a riff off their viral video on Blanco’s Youtube channel, RicoBlancoTV. He also went on to do another medley from his old band, with an apt focus on positivity (“Posible,” “Awit ng Kabataan,” “Hinahanap-Hanap Kita,” and “Liwanag sa Dilim”), after going off with the declarative “Antukin,” off Blanco’s first solo album.
And because Fiesto Bandido is the Intergalactic pied piper, he kicked it up a notch further with the hypnotic “Sayaw,” featuring Ira Cruz on guitars, breaking his own “no guitar” rule, further proving that nothing is sacred to him as far as musical exploration is concerned…not even his own rules. People took their cue from the song as the audience left their seats, throwing their hands in the air clearly wanting more.
It was all dance mayhem from then on, as Blanco went the 80s route with his song “What It Is,” before ending the night with the powerful “Yugto,” his breakout single as a solo artist. But people can never ever have enough of an experience such as this show, so he returned with the intimate “Your Universe,” before punctuating the night with what could possibly be his personal artistic statement through his song “Ngayon.”
Celebrities spotted in the audience included veteran actor Christopher de Leon, Bela Padilla, Melissa Ricks, members of Parokya ni Edgar, Never the Strangers and General Luna, musician/producer Francis Reyes, and singer Paolo Valenciano.
And because the concert was sold out, Rico Blanco hinted at a possible repeat: “We’re probably going do another show for those who didn’t make it!”
The ‘Galactik’ adventures of Fiesto Bandido have only just begun.
Rico Blanco Live! was brought to you by Warner Music Philippines and presented by Smart Communications.