Boyce Avenue Live in Manila 2018

Boyce Avenue’s concerts have always been inside jokes and cherished moments between me and God. You might be wondering, “What is the big deal with this lady and Boyce Avenue?” Well, they are my favorite band! I love three things about them: their acoustic music, exceptional vocal and instrumental skills, and culture as brothers. Also, by God’s grace, He has been allowing me to experience faith-stretching moments during their concerts in Manila since 2013.

I have been craving for their live music ever since their last concert here two years ago. So, when Wilbros Live announced that they were coming back this June 2018, I immediately bought my ticket. Ironically, I was not as happy as I would have expected myself to be after buying the ticket. It was because the production company that brought them back was different from the company that organized the concerts for Boyce Avenue in the past years. It was sad for me because family friends, who worked in that company, graciously helped me meet the band backstage after the concerts in 2013, 2015, and 2016. Now that Wilbros Live was bringing them to Manila, I absolutely did not have any chance of meeting the band. In their previous concerts, for some reason, they also did not sell Meet & Greet passes.

 

I was glad that I had the opportunity to watch their concert again. But at the same time, I felt sad that I wasn’t going to meet them in person. Despite this, I still thanked God as He encouraged me to still be content. I remember telling Him, “Lord, you allowed me to meet them when it seemed like an impossible situation. This happened three times before! You can allow it to happen again if You want to. So, who am I to demand from You or to not be grateful even when You take this away?”

Two months passed by and the concert day was fast approaching. By this time, my family and friends were already excited for me because they knew how much I loved Boyce Avenue and their music. After sharing my love for the band to one of my friends, I went home hoping that I could somehow still meet the band again. I told the Lord that He could easily allow it to happen if it was His will. But, if it was not His will, then I would still be thankful.

That same night, just three nights before the concert, I was scrolling through updates on Google about their concert. To my surprise, I stumbled upon the band’s announcement in their Twitter account about the Meet and Greet passes that they were selling since the start of May 2018. It was already May 29 at that time and I could not believe what I was reading! I was not able to closely monitor their updates before because I decided to log off from my Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram accounts earlier this year, as I have shared in a previous post HERE. Amusingly, I was both frustrated and extremely joyful that I saw the announcement that week! For the first time in the history of Boyce Avenue concerts that I have attended, I bought a Meet and Greet pass.

 

The night before the concert, Boyce Avenue’s management sent an email to those who purchased the Meet and Greet passes to inform us about instructions and its inclusions. Basically, the pass entitles us to have one photo with the band AND one personal item that we can ask them to sign. Even before the email was sent to us, I had already printed a collage of my previous photos with the band for them to sign. I just thought that it would be a cool idea to compile the Meet and Greet moments I have had with them in the past.

Fast forward to the night itself, we were all in line, waiting for the band to welcome us individually. As we patiently watched the time go by, the staff handed laminated IDs to us with the signatures of the band members. It was a pleasant surprise for us! Finally, they asked us to go inside the backstage area. There were about 25 people in front of me who went ahead with their Meet and Greet opportunities! As I was nearing the entrance door, I noticed that the people only had one photo with the band. They were not having their personal items signed by them! Literally, a minute before my turn, I quickly asked one of the staff members why the personal items were not being signed by Boyce Avenue. She responded by saying that it was because they already provided signed laminated IDs for us.

I felt my heart beat fast as I held on to my permanent marker and collage of photos printed on an A4 photo paper. I remember having a quick conversation with myself about “Seizing the opportunity vs. Shying away”. Each person literally had 8 seconds with the band and all I could think of was: “I know this seems impossible, Nicole, but you have nothing to lose if you try to ask the band. If it’s God’s will, He’ll allow it to happen.” When it was finally my turn, instead of giving them a hug during the first three seconds, I approached them by saying: “Hi! I know this isn’t allowed anymore, but is it okay if you still sign my photo?” Alejandro said: “Oh! You know what? We’ll just finish taking photos with everyone else and then we’ll get back to you.”

After this, the staff from the production company, including the bouncers, kept on re-directing me to go outside, farther from the backstage area. Every time they re-directed me, I tried to explain that my photo and ticket were still with the band – for their signature, but they kept leading me towards the exit. But, ten minutes later, all of the people got their photos taken with the band and they left the area one by one. I followed up with one of the bouncers and patiently waited at the exit gate. It did not take long until one bouncer walked towards me with an A4 photo paper in his hand and a brown envelope with my printed ticket on it. As soon as I got them, I saw the impossible happen right in front of my eyes. My collage was signed by the three Manzano brothers and I could not be more relieved. The band was so gracious and kind enough to grant my special request and I was so glad I took the risk of seizing the eight seconds that I had with the band.

Yes, this Meet and Greet experience was probably the most stressful I have had compared to the past three ones. But, God still allowed me to have a unique experience with Him and with the band this time. Meeting ones favorite band for the fourth time may seem like a trivial thing to some. But, it is certainly one of the languages that God uses to speak life into my heart, as He helps me exercise my faith in Him who is able to do anything. I was reminded of Philippians 4:6 where it says: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”

Thank You, Jesus, for always being so personal and intentional.

Thank you, Wilbros Live, for bringing Boyce back.

Thank you, Boyce Avenue, for being awesome as usual.

Special performances by Youtube stars: Moira dela Torre and AJ Rafael. :)

Going to a Concert Alone on Valentine’s Day

THE CRAZY IDEA

“Are you really going to the concert alone on Valentine’s day?? Hahahahaha.” I asked myself a couple of times before buying my ticket online. It seemed like a crazy idea because I felt that it would be very awkward for me to sit beside thousands of couples celebrating Valentine’s day at the concert of Boyce Avenue. During that time, I could already imagine Alejandro Manzano dedicating a song to all of the lovers in the coliseum while I would just sit there and be reminded me of alone-ness and singleness. Haha. It was a funny thought, really. But somehow, it still didn’t stop me from buying one ticket.

Photo c/o Ovation Productions' Mong Pintolo
Photo c/o Ovation Productions’ Mong Pintolo

I didn’t have close friends who also wanted to watch the concert and my family members already had plans that Valentine weekend, so I figured that watching the concert alone was really meant for me. A few weeks before the concert, I told God: “Okay, Lord. It’ll be just You and me on Valentine’s day. Even though I feel that it would probably be a bit awkward and lonely for me at the concert, I know that You will always be with me and that’s all that matters. I can’t wait for our date!”

Tweet last January 26, after I bought my ticket online.
Tweet last January 26, after I bought my ticket online.

When Valentine’s day came, I was nervous and excited at the same time because I was finally going to Boyce Avenue’s concert. All I wanted to do was to relax, get ready for the concert, listen to their songs, prepare my phone and camera, and try to look for ways to meet the band after the show (since they weren’t selling meet and greet passes). However, God encouraged me not to worry about these things and He helped me find rest in Him that day. Instead of worrying about the meet and greet dilemma, He gave me the desire to spend time with Him in the morning and He allowed me to have the privilege of studying His Word and having accountability with Arra (a friend I’ve been mentoring) in the afternoon.

One-on-one with Arra before the Boyce Avenue concert. :)
One-on-one with Arra before the Boyce Avenue concert. :)

The first half of my Valentine’s day was very encouraging for me because God used those hours to remind me of my security in Him. The idea of being alone on Valentine’s day may sound sad and funny, but by God’s grace, He gave me the strength that day to focus on who He is and who I am in Him instead of dwelling on the things that I didn’t have. Actually, He has been giving me the strength to do so ever since, but it was only until a couple of years ago that I truly embraced it in my heart.

Being in a committed relationship is a privilege and responsibility that God graciously gives to people and He may or may not allow me to experience such in the future. But whether or not He does, I am encouraged to continue seeking the Lord with all my heart and to serve Him faithfully.  This is exactly what God was telling me to do last February 14, 2015. Even if I was going to be alone at the concert of Boyce Avenue, even if I was going to be surrounded by thousands of couples, and even if I didn’t have the assurance of meeting the band after the show, He encouraged me to still be faithful in spending time with Him and serving Him that morning and afternoon.

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“You make my heart beat steady to the love song You’ve written for me. I don’t want anything but You, You’re all that I need.” –Royal Tailor’s “Love Song”

 

THE EYE GLASSES

Fast forward to 6:45pm that Valentine’s night, I was already seated inside the Smart Araneta Coliseum. I was an hour and fifteen minutes early, so I had the chance to settle down and observe my surroundings. True enough, there were couples everywhere! Hahaha. They were all paired up with buckets of popcorn, pizza slices, and drinks in their hands. I have to admit that at first, walking into the coliseum and sitting by myself felt a bit weird and funny. But, as the minutes passed by, more and more people filled the place and it didn’t really matter if I was alone or with a partner or with my whole family. We were all there to watch our favorite band perform and enjoy their beautiful music!

While waiting for the concert to start, I did something that I rarely do. I wore my reading glasses. I never really liked wearing my glasses because I felt that it didn’t suit me since I also wore braces before. Eventually, I disregarded my glasses for two years. It was only until a couple of months ago that I saw them again while I was cleaning my room. Somehow, I felt that I would need them during the concert because I wasn’t sure if my seat was near enough for me to see the band members’ faces. Thankfully, I brought them with me and I ended up wearing my eyeglasses during the concert which helped me see things clearly.

Photo of my glasses while I was watching Boyce Avenue perform.
Photo of my glasses while I was watching Boyce Avenue perform.

While the band was playing, I would slightly move my glasses up and down to compare what I see with and without them. It was during this time that God spoke to my heart and encouraged me to look at the situation I’m in through His eyes. Looking through my eyeglasses made a huge difference that night because not only was I able to see the band clearly, I was also able to see my dad’s friend (who helped me in meeting the band after the show) while he was more than 50 meters away from me.

In the same way, God reminded me of the huge difference it makes when I choose to look at myself or at my circumstances through His eyes. I was alone at the concert on Valentine’s day, but I had so many things to be grateful for too. Because I was alone that day, I was able to experience the ff.:

1. Focused on the music and the band. – Because I didn’t have anyone to talk to, I had the privilege of really listening to the music, singing along, and observing the band while they played and sing. I noticed little things that happened on stage, like how Alejandro tiptoes while he sings or how Fabian strums his guitar while he raises it high in the air or how Daniel smoothly goes on top of the bass drum while he bobs his head and plays his guitar. I also appreciated how the Manzano brothers interacted with each other (by smiling or making fierce facial expressions) while playing their guitars. Moreover, it was cool to see their crew discreetly and quickly change the guitars lined up at both sides of the stage which helped the band get the right guitars on time.

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Alejandro Manzano. Photo c/o Ovation Productions’ Mong Pintolo.
Fabian Manzano strumming his guitar!
Fabian Manzano strumming his guitar!
Daniel Manzano standing on top of the bass drum while playing his guitar.
Daniel Manzano standing on top of the bass drum while playing his guitar.

2. Stepped out of my comfort zone. It was my first time to drive to Smart Araneta Coliseum and I honestly wasn’t sure which roads or turns I should take. My dad helped me by giving instructions and I did check Google Maps, but once I was on the road by myself, it was pretty intimidating. But by God’s grace, I safely and smoothly got to the venue. Woohoo! Oh, and there were numerous times during the event when I needed to leave my shy self behind and muster up courage so I could talk to certain people (bouncer friend, dad’s friend, etc.).

3. Learned to listen more. Because I wasn’t speaking much that night, I literally listened more. It helped me understand what was going in my heart and helped me listen to God’s voice more.

4. Had the Luxury of Time. I had the privilege of leaving the house and leaving the concert anytime I wanted to. I also walked at my own pace and didn’t need to rush or slow down while I was on my way to the venue.

5. Free to be Me. My introverted self actually enjoyed my alone time. Although I did feel awkward at first, being alone eventually helped me feel more confident after a while. In fact, a man beside me was also alone, but he didn’t care too. He also got his phone, recorded the band throughout the show, and enjoyed listening to the songs just like the rest of the crowd.

Photo c/o Fabian Manzano
Boyce Avenue. Photo c/o Fabian Manzano

 

THE BEST VALENTINE’S DAY EVER

Before going to the concert, I already expected the band to say something about the lovers out there. But, surprisingly, they gave a shoutout to all the singles at the concert instead. Hahaha. The band even dedicated their song “On My Way” to all of the single men and women and encouraged us not to settle for anyone who’s less than the best for us.

Even if I was alone, I didn’t feel lonely on Valentine’s day because I felt God’s presence with me. He also helped me appreciate so many things around me. E.g. I had two hands which were very helpful in taking photos and videos at the same time using the gadgets that I had. I had everything I needed that day: transportation, access to water and food, extra cash, a really good seat, eyeglasses, etc. I had the privilege of enjoying the concert of Boyce Avenue, meeting them after the show, and sharing God’s love to the band on Valentine’s day through John 3:16! (Aaaahhhh!!!) But most importantly, I had the honor of enjoying a crazy, amazing, faith-stretching date night with God and experiencing Him in a much deeper way this time.

Photo c/o Ovation Productions' Mong Pintolo
Boyce Avenue. Photo c/o Ovation Productions’ Mong Pintolo

Just so you know, I ended up crying while I was on my way home from the concert. I couldn’t explain or contain the joy and awe in me after my Valentine’s day experience because I saw how God graciously allowed things to fall into place. He definitely knows our hearts’ desires more than we do.

“’You could have been anywhere else,’ Alejandro Manzano said, ‘but you chose to be here.’” :)

Screenshot from a video I took during the concert.
Screenshot from a video I took during the concert.

I do enjoy spending time with family and friends, but every now and then, it’s nice to do something new and spend some quality time alone. Going to Boyce Avenue’s concert alone on Valentine’s day was a blessing after all. In fact, for me, it was certainly the best Valentine’s day ever!

Tweet after the concert of Boyce Avenue.
Tweet after the concert of Boyce Avenue.

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7

 

BLOGGED: Boyce Avenue in Manila 2015: Meeting Them Again

At Smart Araneta Coliseum with Fabian Manzano, Alejandro Manzano, and Daniel Manzano. Boyce Avenue!
At Smart Araneta Coliseum with Fabian Manzano, Alejandro Manzano, and Daniel Manzano. Boyce Avenue!

 

Encourage yourself one treat at a time. :)