I’ve attended a lot of events that have marketed themselves as an intimate concert but most don’t measure up to all the hype. They simply conduct the normal setlist, performing stripped down versions of their songs, maybe in an acoustic fashion, without the fancy light show or stage antics that occur in a larger production. Yes, the size of the audience may be part of the intimacy, but it’s certainly not the whole story, there’s more to it than that.
Not only was the cozy venue of the Music Museum on Saturday, May 27th, conducive to such a promise, but Dave also included insightful stories, some surprises and spoke sincerely, directly to the crowd as though they were long-time friends.
He discussed various topics pertaining to milestones in his life, such as early days performing with his brothers, all with genuine feelings and emotion. Dave was humble and thankful, and there was meaning in and behind the words, not just lip service.
“When we started, we didn’t have internet, Facebook, or anything like that to make communication and the delivery of music fast. So what my brothers and I did, we would go from record label to record label and we would sing in the lobbies and wait for the record company executives to come by. So we got rejected a lot. Which isn’t a bad thing, because rejection is just kind of a part of the world, it’s a part of life. It strengthens you, it gives you resolve. It helps push you forward, if you allow it to, which is what it did for us.”
The Moffatts were a Canadian pop-rock band, composed of brothers Scott, Clint, Bob, and Dave Moffatt. Scott is the eldest, while Bob, Clint, and Dave are triplets, with Bob and Clint being identical twins. They were here for a reunion tour without Dave in February, and the brothers knocked it out of the park for a more than enthusiastic crowd.
The Moffatts remain phenomenally popular here in the Philippines. They had a bunch of huge hits in the '90s with “Girl Of My Dreams”, “Miss You Like Crazy”, and “I’ll Be There For You”.
Dave mentioned how the Moffatts album, Chapter One: In the Beginning was the number one selling record in the Philippines, next to the Eagles' The Long Run, and the band was very proud of that.
During his concert, it had been 17 years since Dave performed a solo concert. You’d never know it though, he commanded the venue with ease. I suppose that embarking on worldwide tours at such a young age provided the skills necessary to now make it look easy. Whether it be telling a tale of his journeys with his brothers, his thoughts about what the music meant to him or observations of the Filipino mindset.
“You guys always have a smile on your face. No matter how challenged or what position you are in, there is a resiliency, there’s an optimism, that is really incredible. I haven’t really found that anywhere else in the world, it’s something very Filipino and it’s something I’m really glad to witness and feel for myself. So thank you for that.”
There was an abundance of thoughtful information shared, which really did bring the entire audience closer. At certain intervals, he thanked a few of his most dedicated and loyal fans who were in the crowd, showing prepared slide presentations to highlight various pictures and posts of them on social media.
He even invited an audience member on stage to help him sing a song, and a couple of others for a brief dance, which perhaps was a bit awkward but a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for a few. He often approached the edge of the stage to shake hands and interact with the lucky ones in front. Smiles all around, many joyous moments not only for the fans but for the performer also, the elation on their faces was evident.
“It’s all about how music connects unto each other. I can be from Canada and you guys can be from the Philippines, we don’t even necessarily have to speak the same language, to feel the expression of music.”
A video presentation started off the event, but this was far from the MTV-type production that you come to expect to kick off a show. What better way to immerse yourself in a culture than to walk in someone else’s shoes. So Dave actually worked at a handful of entry-level jobs here in Manila, as they recorded it all on video. First as a Jeepney barker, then taking orders at a fast food restaurant, a water delivery man, and a street hawker selling fish balls.
The videos were produced well and often extremely humorous which was evident as the crowd erupted in laughter on many occasions. Many of the simple tasks were a bit tricky and the awkwardness of interpreting directions that was lost in translation was comical.
The fish ball vendor was my favorite, the looks of disdain from the women who owned the cart were hysterical. You could almost read her mind as she glanced over at him with disappointment as Dave attempted to add up the bill properly and lost count of many of the orders. Graciously, they even invited her to the concert as a VIP guest and Dave called her on stage for a round of applause. Keep an eye out for these videos, they’ll post them on YouTube soon.
Dave said he has been here for almost a month, and wanted to experience the culture of the Philippines first-hand. He made a bunch of appearances on radio and TV shows to promote the concert, which included performing songs from the Moffatts repertoire, and a duet with Yeng Constantino, which is due out as a single in a couple of months. He even stopped by the Rappler office for a special Live Jam performance.
“Music has always been a form of expression for me, I’ve always found it to be an outlet for me to release tension.”
When the video ended, Dave entered from the back of the venue and made his way through the crowd, down the center aisle. The concert then moved into a typical format, with Dave on the keyboard and local musicians accompanying him on percussion, keys and guitar.
The 21-song setlist flowed well, from Dave’s original songs, to a couple of covers, including Lady Gaga, “Million Reasons”, and all the Moffatts famous hits. After a few songs, I was thinking, please don’t stay behind the keyboard for the entire show, it usually doesn’t make for the most exciting photographs considering the performer is basically stuck there, so not much movement.
As the show progressed, I was pleasantly surprised, as he wisely stepped away from the keys at certain intervals. Whether it be to perform the song front and center or for a professionally choreographed dance number with a local dance crew, as they moved rhythmically to the infamous Hanson song, "MMMBop."
There was also a portion of the event that was somewhat more akin to something you might see on the Ellen Show. Conducted by the host, he asked Dave various questions such as which Moffatt is the most charming, fashionable, messiest, worst dressed in the 90s or hardest to wake from sleep? Then Dave had to hold up one of 4 songs with the name of the brother that he thought was the correct answer. Unannounced to him, they had previously asked the brothers the same questions and they posted them on the big screen. It was insightful and entertaining to say the least.
There was also a special guest performer, an international champion beatboxer from the Philippines, Bigg X. He took the stage for a song with Dave, then performed a couple of tracks as Dave took a break, the crowd loved it. Towards the end of the show, the Moffatts even made an appearance, albeit via a live video link.
The audience went wild as they sang together, “If Life is So Short”, and at the conclusion of the track, each brother briefly addressed the crowd, generally speaking of how much they enjoyed their visit to the Philippines. And when Bob said, “We can’t wait to come back to see you guys again!” the room all cheered in unison.
This wasn’t your everyday run-of-the-mill concert production, they did their homework. The technical quality of sound was outstanding with a solid lighting scheme and all the artist performing without any noticeable hiccups. It really was the ultimate Moffatt experience, living up to the hype. They kept things interesting, with surprises, well told stories, and kept the audience involved. I was impressed with overall thoughtfulness and out-of-the-box approach of what a concert should be. Dave’s stage presence was easy going, it’s like riding a bike, it doesn’t take long to get your balance, even after years of not being in the saddle.
The concert poster spoke of an intimate night with Dave Moffatt, as the dictionary describes it, intimacy is a close familiarity or friendship. This event certainly was all of that, everyone leaving the show, felt that they had gotten to know Dave a little better, which is a difficult thing to pull off with any measure of success, especially with hundreds of folks in the crowd. Now they promised a Chapter Two, keep an ear to the ground, I wouldn’t be surprised to see all the brothers show up for a second reunion concert.
“Sometimes you have to close one chapter to begin a new one,” Dave said as he ended the show. – Rappler.com