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LISTENING TO | RIVERMAYA - ELESI (RIVERMAYA REUNION ON ASAP 2024)




I don't know if the YouTube source will be taken down, so I saved a copy for my listening pleasure.


Anyway...


RIVERMAYA RULES!!!





Without question, this is the best Rivermaya incarnation. Concerning past and present Rivermaya members, the core four of Bamboo, Nathan Azarcon, Mark Escueta, and Rico Blanco are the best. Inasmuch, as I love their self-titled album as well as the "It's Not Easy Being Green" album, the "Trip" and "Atomic Bomb" albums, are the ones that made me headbang to their songs. Kisapmata, Elesi, and Hinahanap-Hanap Kita are more iconic to me than Ulan, 214, Bring Me Down, and Awit ng Kabataan while my kid will always remember Panahon Na Naman as his lullaby song. Aside from the songs that found commercial success, they still have Princess in Disguise, Wild Angel Candy, If, Ballroom Dancing, Tea for Two, Luha, and Saturday.


And I am sorry, but I have to point this out here. I think it was, give or take, a year after the Rivermaya reality show ended when I witnessed Jayson Fernandez blurt out Himala in Quattros in Timog.


I don't want to say that he outright sucks, or if he just had a bad day, or he was drunk as of that moment, but that song is the barometer in terms of being a Rivermaya frontman and he failed to nail it. For me, Himala is the greatest Rivermaya song ever, and while I would give Nathan and Mark a free pass if they try to sing the song in one of their gigs, the renditions of Bamboo and Rico Blanco are the only worthy Rivermaya versions. Bamboo's original version, as well as Rico's live gig version, are the best because they exude the song's hint of desperation. The reason why they are shouting to the heavens is that they are in desperate need of a miracle, and this is why I was critical of the Jay-R version a decade ago (because it feels like he is just trying to sweet talk his way for a "round two," especially if you saw the music video he had alongside Iya Villania.)


Rivermaya is the only other rock band that could topple the Eraserheads during the '90s. Parokya Ni Edgar would lead the charge towards the mid-to-late '90s up until the 2000s but in terms of head-to-head OPM band mania, you can't talk E-Heads without Maya.


Anyway, returning to the ASAP episode, the four gave the world a preview of what they'll do when they team up on February 17 at the SMDC Festival Grounds. Of course, Bamboo explores his vocal range and plays around with the stanzas and yeah, Rico Blanco tries his best to still make the song recognizable (although he would bust out an amazing instrumental part), but this is still the Elesi '90s kids loved.


Again, this is for me the best incarnation of the band. I know that thing about Perf De Castro but the same can also be said about Mike Elgar, Japs Sergio, Jayson Fernandez, and Kakoy Legaspi.


Maybe one of these guys will pop up in the event. For sure, just like what happened with the Eraserheads, the quartet could use a couple of hands to help in their songs, given the magnitude of the concert.





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