Boys Like Girls rocks their sold-out Manila concert: ‘Philippines has the best fans in the world’

Patty Bufi

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Boys Like Girls rocks their sold-out Manila concert: ‘Philippines has the best fans in the world’

SPRING TOUR. American rock band Boys Like Girls performs at the Araneta Coliseum on April 20. 2024.

Patty Bufi

Boys Like Girls performed their hits 'Love Drunk,' 'Thunder,' and 'The Great Escape' while We The Kings opened the one-night show

MANILA, Philippines – The Big Dome reverberated with ear-splitting excitement as American rock band Boys Like Girls made their much-awaited appearance on Saturday, April 20.

The spirited quartet of Martin Johnson, Gregory James, John Keefe, and Jamel Hawke brought new and old fans alike together for a 24-track setlist paying tribute to their classic pop-punk sound cultivated over decades.

“Who’s the life of the party?” Martin shouted into his mic that night. And surely, it was no other than the Filipino crowd, as the band made their thrilling comeback in the Smart Araneta Coliseum for their 2024 Spring Tour in Manila. 

With their breakout 2006 self-titled debut that launched anthems like “Thunder” and “Hero/Heroine,” the band immediately soared to stardom. Following the hit 2009 album Love Drunk, Boys Like Girls’ timeless melodies and heartfelt lyrics have cemented them as a fixture on playlists across the globe.

To welcome them, guest performers We the Kings stoked the crowd’s adrenaline first with a casually witty set, playfully joking they’d claim generational singalongs like “Wonderwall” and “Mr. Brightside” as their own before launching into hits like “Check Yes Juliet” that had the audience roaring along. 

“You sound beautiful,” vocalist Travis Clark would declare, whipping the crowd into a frenzy. After building suspense, the rockers made way for the main event.

When the lights finally dimmed, the thunderous opening riff of “Love Drunk” signaled Boys Like Girls’ explosive arrival, whipping the crowd into an immediate hysteria. They barely let fans catch their breath through a whirlwind of adrenaline-fueled renditions like the high-powered songs “Five Minutes to Midnight,” “She’s Got A Boyfriend Now,” and “Dance Hall Drug.” 

An extended performance of the hard-driving “Language” led into a rousing “Sweet Caroline”/”Oh Caroline” singalong before Martin hyped up the “best fans in the world.”

The frenetic show raged on as the band played beloved anthems like “Heels Over Head,” “Up Against The Wall,” and “I Told You So” at fever pitch. As the crowd’s energy briefly mellowed, Martin told them: “I don’t care man, I’ll stay here all night. We’ll play every song we got” — despite the band’s grueling concert tour schedule with little sleep after flying in from Australia.

Making good on that vow, he teased rare tracks like “Kill Me In A Record Shop,” claiming “this whole fucking arena” of “Limewire Pirates” would sing every word – a boast realized as the Filipino fans waved their phone lights while singing along to the performance of “Thunder.” The energy somehow amplified as Martin asked to cut the lights, transforming the arena into a starry spectacle for that beloved hit. 

The band also rewarded fans with impassioned renditions of other classic tracks like the globally-adored “The Great Escape.” An unexpected highlight was their rocking cover of K-pop titans TWICE’s “I Can’t Stop Me” that delighted fans of all genres while reminding why Boys Like Girls’ genre-bending appeal remains unmatched.

After two hours, the only disappointment was the show’s looming end – but not before Martin wrapped the electrifying night with a singalong explosion of “The Great Escape,” singing it twice and blending it with a reprise of “Love Drunk” that left the Filipino crowd thundering with deafening requests for “more!” Giving into the demand, the quartet doubled back for one final,  soul-stirring acoustic “Two Is Better Than One” to wrap the encore on a high.

From the opening “Thunder” to that great singalong escape encore, Boys Like Girls reminded its fans why they remain the life of the party, with an exhilarating Manila tour stop that had them wishing the night would never end. Filipinos were treated to an energy-fueled spectacle few crowds can match, solidifying their reputation as the “best fans in the world” by singing strand-for-strand with the pop-punk kings.

Boys Like Girls last performed in Manila and Cebu in October 2022 after first coming to the Philippines in 2009. –

Patty Bufi is a Rappler intern.

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