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IN PHOTOS: Greyson Chance plays a show to remember for PH fans

He’s not a little kid anymore, and in the early days of his career, you'd see this 12-year-old on YouTube performing cover songs or catching a big break with a TV appearance on the Ellen DeGeneres' show. But this concert was far from that. Now a young man of 18 years, Greyson Chance is sharing original heartfelt music with depth.

Greyson is presently on a tour of Asia, promoting his new EP Somewhere Over my Head. This was his fourth visit to the Philippines, so it was super interesting to seemingly watch him instantly transform, not only from a physical standpoint, but from a musical one. He performs original songs with a pop style of his own – think Sam Smith meets Nick Jonas. (WATCH: Greyson Chance in Rappler Live Jam session

The crowd began to arrive early and I mean early, the BGC Uptown Mall personnel where a bit taken aback with a handful of fans arriving as early as 1:00 am and a crowd of roughly under 100 by daybreak, all to be the first in line to get the best seats – now that’s dedication. (READ: That time a PH fan bit Greyson Chance, and more fun facts

By the time I arrived, everyone was arranged in an orderly fashion, some were seated, while others gathered around the cordoned-off areas, with even more folks watching from above, a birds eye view from various levels within the mall. The show featured bare bones staging with a couple racks of white spotlights off to the sides, a row of kicker lights across the back of the stage, with a large video screen and a keyboard.

At first glance, what seemed to be a lackluster setup, quickly came alive as the front act was introduced, Kyle Echarri, a 13-year-old performer who made his claim to fame as a contestant on The Voice Kids. That's an interesting choice, reflective of Greyson when he started out in music. Kyle's stage presence is way beyond his years, with him confidently entertaining the fans, interacting with the crowd like a pro and even inviting a couple of lucky fans onstage as he sang.

Performing a few cover songs to warm up the crowd, he even conducted the classic concert contest, pitting the right side right of the audience against the left, to determine who was the loudest, both sides were equally exuberant. He did well, a solid start to the show. 

When Greyson took the stage, not surpassingly, with an audience of mostly of young women, the place exploded with deafening screams, and the viewers were on their feet. As he was preparing to start his first song, perhaps a bit overwhelmed by the enthusiastic response, he took a moment to take it all in.

The SVIP section, the first 5 rows, all rushed to the front of the stage, to the chagrin of security personnel, who were instructed to keep everyone in their seats. Rather quickly they got everyone back in their rightful places.

Once everyone was seated, the problem was, you could feel the atmosphere of the room drain, still excited but almost disappointed. The energy was much more subdued. Immediately Greyson picked up on this, as a consummate showman would. Before he began his opening number, he gestured to the crowd, "forget about that everyone stand up!" And in a fraction of a second, the enthusiasm skyrocketed to the previous level, instantly off the charts. And the show was back on, as the security team created a human barricade to prevent the overzealous fans from rushing the stage. 

You really didn’t need any grandiose lighting or stage effects here, the music itself did the talking. One track in particular, he sang most of it a cappella, just clapping along with the rhythm. Now this is a decision not for the faint of heart, when singing with no accompaniment, it leaves you wide open. If it's not astutely delivered, it will highlight all your misgivings. But if done correctly, as it was here, the voice shines through without any distractions, with emotion permeating through every word.

He casually addressed the fans in-between tracks, saying “I’ve played a few shows here in Manila and it’s been one the best weekends I’ve had in awhile.” As he introduced the songs, he spoke of what inspired him, or how they came about and said, “now that’s a topic everyone can relate to,” as he went into his next track.  

Maybe it wasn't the most elaborate show, but it was the simplicity here that made it noteworthy. Yes, he’s super talented, but what may have impressed me the most, was what took place when the show had ended. After a short break, Greyson came back out on stage for the typical meet-and-greet session, with a photo by the official photographer, a once-in-a-lifetime souvenir and chance to say hello. Normally these segments go rather quickly but he took a bit of time with each of them to genuinely connect one-on-one. Admirable indeed.

One of my cohorts and I looked on for a few minutes then we went to go get something to eat. An hour later, as we made our way back down the escalator, passing the stage again, I was shocked to see that the crowd had barely dissipated, the meet-and-greet still ongoing. He was actually taking the time to say hello to the hundreds of fans within the special seated area, and they were still only about halfway through; they must have continued for another hour or so.

Now all artists will tell you how much they appreciate their fans, but talk is cheap, it’s your actions that speak louder that words. Well done indeed. Keep and eye out for this young performer, he’s got his act together and I’m sure we’ll be hearing more of his stuff in the future. –