Monday, February 14, 2011

Deftones Diamond Eyes Tour Live in Manila 02.12.2011 - REVIEW/RECAP + SETLIST

The Deftones. Photo by Derek Santa Ana.
To be honest, I came to the concert expecting the 'usual' subpar performance from the Deftones- particularly from Chino, who's known to not hit the right notes at times. But despite that, the band has greatly improved their playing in the past year or so, rejuvenated by the joining of Sergio Vega on bass, filling in for ailing Chi Cheng. Still, I was skeptical. I even thought one of the front acts, Urbandub, would outshine them. Some sound engineering technicalities* would deem that impossible, of course, but Urbandub is particularly famous (locally) and known for their consistency in their live performances. All this wishy-washy nonsense would vanish at the end of the show, when Deftones exceeded all expectations.

We got to the venue early. A couple of people were already lining up, but we decided to forego the grueling wait in the lines and, instead, grabbed a few beers from a bar across the street. Got a bit tipsy with that last shot of tequilla and went back to the lines. Pumped. Gates were already open.

There were two front acts: Slapshock and Urbandub. Slapshock went first. So-so performance. They performed some of their 'new' tracks that I'm guessing nobody had ever heard before (or cared about). They weren't bad live, to be honest, clad in complete Dickies attire and so forth, but people like myself were expecting them to play some of their more popular tracks (like the idiotic "Agent Orange" perhaps) at least to get some kind of reaction from the crowd. But, oh well, they opted for their newer songs that seem to hint at metal-posturing. The end of each song was greeted with little to no (un)enthusiastic claps from the audience. I clapped my hands by the way, just to be courteous. Three songs later, and they were gone. Here's to hoping the dull audience reaction was not enough to separate them from their iron-clad Dickies sponsorship whatsoever.

Urbandub goes on stage. Things went smoothly despite a minor technical screw-up at the beginning of their set that prompted them to stop. One can feel the presence of Urbandub fans about, singing to their songs, jumping and screaming and so forth. Not everyone was having the time of their lives during Urbandub's set, I can tell. Some folks were just standing there staring at them as if by doing so the band would walk off stage. Still, the crowd's reaction was still significantly better than Slapshock's. They promised they would only play three songs, but just as the drummer hit the last cymbal, a Deftones roadie came out and signaled them to play two more songs. At this point, everyone thought they were still having dinner or something. Stef is particularly a moderately chubby guy, so it's probably expected he'd be glued to the buffet table for at least 30 minutes. Apart from him, Deftones roadies are HUGE. And OLD. Like in their late 40s and 50s. They'd do well as members of some bad-ass biker gang. Joking aside**, Urbandub plays two more songs, and it's over.

Finally, the moment everyone has been waiting for arrives. Wait- make that a few more minutes- as the lumbering caucasian "bikermen" of the Deftones make their way to the stage, taking their time walking back and forth, moving equipment and other stuff. One particular roadie came out with a black box and mounted it at the very helm of the stage. It took him about 15 minutes to glue the box to the floor with masking tape, which was astonishing (both the time and technique employed in doing so). Anyway, blablablah. Crowd chattering and slowly growing impatient. Thirty minutes pass and the lights go out. Crowd goes wild. Stef comes out and takes a picture of the crowd. The rest of the band follows soon after. Abe, Frank, and Sergio. But the crowd literally goes nuts when Chino enters the stage. He makes his way to the said black box and stands on it. Ah, so that's what it's for. A pseudo-throne for Mr. Moreno. Still, the guy is pretty good-looking, and guys and gals alike were screaming his name. I think I was one of them. I can't remember.

Chino Moreno. Photo by Erwin Ngo
They immediately began with "Birthmark" and I found myself trapped in a moshpit almost instantly. "Crap" was my only thought. I swear I felt I was going to be trampled or something because the moshing was incredibly violent. Song # 2 was Engine No. 9, and the moshing didn't get any better (and by 'better' I mean 'slow down'). That's when I realized I had lost my phone. All my contacts down the drain in a second! I don't know if it was from all the moshing, or if pickpockets were in our midst, pretending to be jolly moshers, elbows raised. The fuckers. Screw them all! Almost ruined the show for me. But regardless, the energy was just INSANE. You'd think a guy who'd just lost a cellphone would sulk in the corner. Not me. I was out there screaming my guts out.

Deftones performing "Sextape" in Manila 2011
Band performance was phenomenal- much much better than I previously expected. I didn't quite expect they'd sound this good live. It completely and utterly blew my previous preconceptions out of the water. The band was just in the zone that night. Stef, Sergio, Abe, and Frank. All of them. Chino, in particular, was on point the whole time, which was weird for a vocalist like him who's always struggled to reach those high notes in the past. He did skip some screams - particularly the ones in "Lhabia". But everyone was willing to give him a break. We needed to lay off from the moshing from time to time anyway. And it was getting hot. The venue's ventilation provided for some much needed oxygen, but there's nothing like being sprayed with Chino's mineral water. Ahh... So soothing. Made all the people in the front, including myself, realize how thirsty we were.

All in all, the band played a good mix of songs from all of their albums:
  1. Birthmark
  2. Engine No. 9
  3. Be Quiet and Drive (Far Away)
  4. My Own Summer (Shove It)
  5. Lhabia
  6. Around The Fur
  7. Digital Bath
  8. Knife Party
  9. Hexagram
  10. Minerva
  11. Bloody Cape
  12. Diamond Eyes
  14. Royal
  15. Sextape
  16. Rocket Skates
  17. You’ve Seen the Butcher
  18. Beauty School
  19. Hole in the Earth
  20. Kimdracula
  21. Back to School (Mini Maggit)***
  22. Change (In the House of Flies)
  23. Passenger
  1. Root
  2. 7 Words
That's 25 songs- one song more than the set they played in Tokyo and Jakarta. Band was feeling good that night, and so did the rest of us. Show ended at almost 12 midnight, with our heads down from all the stuff we had lost amidst the chaos**** but hearts, ribs, and necks content to the brim. Definitely a concert I will remember for the rest of my life.

Best part of the night:
Chino stands on the railings @ the VIP section, grabs a fan's cap and wears it for a couple of minutes whilst singing. He then takes off the cap and tries to give it back to its owner, but another guy from the back was able to grab the cap. Chino then stops singing, calls out the dude who grabbed the cap and threatens to hit him if he doesn't give the cap back. Dude gives the cap back to Chino and Chino gives it back to its rightful owner. Chino then gives the owner a high-five.

Check out Chino's shout-out to the Manila crowd here. To quote:
Noisecreep: What was it like to play shows in places like Jakarta?

Chino Moreno: I was just amazed that we have a fanbase out there. One of the most awesome shows we played in a while was in Manila. It was insane. The crowd was massive and the energy level was wild. It was one of the biggest shows we'd played in a long time and we had never been there before. So the excitement level was high and the show was great. Basically, all the Southeast Asia shows were good and we were like, 'Man, why haven't we been here before?'

* Noticably less volume for the front acts
** The truth is, or so I've heard, the Deftones liked Urbandub's set, letting them play 2-3 more songs
*** Not played in Tokyo and Jakarta
**** In addition to my cellphone, my younger brother's friends lost an iPod, wristwatch, and a wallet. Lesson? Don't bring anything to a Deftones gig.


tingkagol said...

Just found out that they played their cover of Sade's "No Ordinary Love" (found in B-Sides & Rarities) in Kuala Lumpur. That brings it to 26 songs, trumping every other setlist in the SEA region. Baaah. Lucky bastards.

Beverly Kho said...

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tingkagol said...

Hey thanks!