On October 23, 2019, Carly Rae Jepsen graced Manila with her presence and talent via concert that was more than just a gathering of fans. It was a spiritual, out-of-body experience that can hardly be put into words.
The concert, which started a little later than it was supposed to (thankfully so– Manila traffic gives you anxiety like no other), was packed with people of all shapes and sizes. New Frontier Theater, where it was held, has probably never seen a room more colorful than it did last night, and I’m so glad I wasn’t just there to witness it but to be part of it, too.
Admittedly, I walked in there not really thinking about the kind of crowd the popstar attracted. I was pleasantly surprised to see rainbow flags, people decked in their best and brightest outfits, and swords! It was a mini-Pride in there, and it was magical, to say the least.
When Carly walked on stage in her rainbow pixie dress, it felt like everyone in the room had finally found the fairy godmother of their dreams, and was just ready for her to give us the best night of our lives. And she did.
She started off with No Drug Like Me, one of the slower bangers from her latest album Dedicated, and everything kind of just took off from there. Almost every song after that was fast-paced, and she kept the energy up the entire time. She hardly stopped — I didn’t even see her drink water! — and every song had the crowd jumping and dancing like there was no tomorrow. Even her band looked like they were having the best time. They even dressed up in Carly costumes for her song, Too Much.
To be honest, her setlist, while still great, had us hoping for more. For one thing, Run Away With Me was the third song. My friends and I pretty much all agreed that it was meant to be the last. It was made to be a concert-ender. But it wasn’t… not that there was really much we could do about that.
What we did try to fix, however, was the lack of her song Your Type, another bop that deserves to be seen, heard, and experienced live. There were several moments, especially towards the end of her set, where the audience kept chanting for the song, and at least from where I was, it seemed loud enough to be heard from backstage. Unfortunately, I think Carly was set on doing what had already been decided.
Except for Real Love. After the concert, I saw a picture of the setlist for Manila and the first song on the encore part was meant to be I’ll Be Your Girl, a personal favorite. Instead, however, it was replaced with Real Love, which I think was a major highlight of the entire show.
The song was a cathartic experience for everyone, I’d like to think. Cathartic and extremely spiritual. It honestly felt like I was at church or worship– hands in the air, praising the important message being sent across the room, voices singing, “I go every day without it, all I want is real, real love.”
I don’t mean to sound biased because I’m a fan but had anyone, even those who aren’t the most familiar with her music, gone into that concert with an open mind and heart, they would’ve found themselves experiencing moments of euphoria. Despite the several sweaty, dancing bodies around me, I didn’t care (probably because I was also another sweaty, dancing body). All I cared about was that I was there, dancing and singing to my heart’s content with friends, strangers, and Carly Rae Jepsen.
It was a night full of real, real love, and I’m so happy I got to share that with the most colorful, magical people I’ve ever had the pleasure of being with.