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IN PHOTOS: After years away, The Moffatts and PH fans finally reunite

I’m sitting at my computer when a text comes in, asking if I can cover the Moffatts concert here in Manila. Of course I responded with a yes, after all, I’ll photograph virtually any genre of music even if I’m far from a bubblegum-pop kinda guy. The images themselves are interesting to me, regardless if I’m fond of the musical genre or not.

Well, let me inform you that I was pleasantly surprised with the performance here, which was far from the stereotypical image you may conjure up with the idea of '90s boy bands. This was a concert with a deeper feel to it, with more of a rock edge. Sure they were singing teen pop songs from over 15 years ago, but now executed with a mature sound, at least in comparison to when they where originally recorded.

There was more of a sense of an indie rock feel with guitar driven melodies, dreamy harmonies and thoughtful lyrics, high energy and a somewhat familiar, welcoming sound. 

In case you’re out of the loop with the background of this international boy-band sensation called The Moffatts, perhaps a short bio is in order. They are a musical group of four brothers hailing from Canada. Three of them performed here in Manila last Saturday night at the Smart Araneta Coliseum. Composed of Bob, Clint, Dave and Scott Moffatt, interestingly, Bob and Clint are identical twins and Dave is the fraternal triplet.

They began their careers at an early age, performing country music in the early '90s, while still in their pre-teens. Towards the end of the decade they made the leap to a new chapter of their lives, embarking on a varied path of performing pop rock music.

With an unusual amount of experience under their belts, they took advantage of their skills and made a successful transition to international stardom with numerous chart topping hits, including “Crazy,” “Misery,” “Girl of My Dreams,” and “Bang Bang Boom,” while I was even aware of the song, “I’ll Be There For You” which garnerned heavy radio rotation and can still be heard aired today.

They progressed from teen pop idols to an edgier rock sound working with producer Bob Rock, who rose to fame working with Bon Jovi and Metallica. Their music had an expansive exposure, often being utilized in movies and television, with high profile guest appearances on Disney to All-Star baseball games, numerous accolades and awards. It was a meteoric rise to fame, indeed. 

iRocktography: See what music looks like...

iRocktography: See what music looks like...

As with all boy bands, they eventually went their own separate ways with Scott embarking on a solo career in Canada, Clint and Bob based in Nashville, performing as a group, recently releasing a new EP under the name Endless Summer, with the debut single "Amen For Women" and finally Dave embarking on a career as a yoga instructor.

Every generation has its own version of the boy band. What happens though, so often with a long list of these bands, and generally rather quickly as far as musical lifespans go, is they fall into oblivion, the love affair soon comes to an inauspicious end. 

It's for a couple of reasons – first off, the young listeners themselves outgrow their adolescent affection, the fondness fades and they move on to other things, in music and in life. As you grow older you have a greater appreciation of music and notice other things, maybe becoming discouraged if you hear stories about how your favorite band were marketing fabrications, or if you're disappointed to find out they didn’t write their own songs or simply sang along at concerts over backing vocals or sometimes didn’t sing at all, and lip synced their way to fame.

Also the members of the band themselves get burned out, with a hectic tour schedule repeating the monotony of performing the same songs over and over again, along with a high demand on their time, which creates no personal life to speak of. And the artists themselves veer off in other directions to find their own path, basically venturing out to do their own thing.

But The Moffatts, this family rooted, gifted group of musicians, are great. These young men are super talented and it was obvious with an outstanding show; folks in attendance experienced a treat during the Manila leg of their farewell tour.  

What impressed me here was the vocal harmony itself. There’s nothing like siblings performing together, whose voices blend like nothing else on earth, something special about the genetic link I suppose, unmatched compared to anything else. There's that special connection you find between brothers, never mind what could be said about the mind-boggling bond between twins or triplets. You could really feel and see the connection between them as they sang.

Now with a more of a sophisticated sound, something that has developed from elementary stages in their musical life, these guys toured all around over the globe, all before the tender young age of 18, when most bands are just embarking on their journey. They enjoyed a high popularity in Europe and were a big hit in the Southeast Asian markets, charting in Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia and of course the Philippines.

Back in the day their concerts here were a huge deal, making headlines in every lifestyle section of various media outlets at the time. 

The set list had a smooth flow to it. The show started off with the boys being introduced by a man in a cowboy hat and all dressed in red with some humorous banter and couple of country songs, an icebreaker that warmed up the crowd in fine fashion.

We of course came to find out it was their manager/father Frank Moffatt, best-selling author, motivational speaker, and lifestyle coach, who is no stranger to the music business himself. After Frank was through, they took the stage in confident fashion, then moved to a segment with Scott performing a few of his solo tracks, while the others took a break. He skillfully incorporated a layered sound with use of his laptop and keyboards in a looping fashion, all while performing with the electric guitar. 

They also had a female guest singing with them on one of the tracks, the stunning Rachel Peters. She explained to the crowd it was her first time to perform onstage, but she held her own. 

While mixing in some hits along with lesser known tracks, then progressing to a portion of the show where Bob and Clint took their turn center stage as Scott took a short break. They handled the crowd with the skill of performers beyond their years, smoothly transitioning from various portions of the show to the next, including the typical, yet entertaining stunt of pitting the right side of the venue against the left, singing a well known chorus. And to keep up with modern times, recording one of the tracks on their cell phone with a Facebook live feed. 

They appeared on several TV shows, radio stations and even a special live performance here on Rappler LiveJam, which was impressive, check it out if you have a some time.

 

There are situations when media junkets such as this can become redundant, exhausting and hectic with the artists losing interest. Not so with these guys, they were attentive, upbeat, interactive and having fun with every single appearance. They even had a special soundcheck party with a meet and greet before the show and took individual photos with fans in attendance, which took nearly two hours.

Very rarely do you see any band, of any caliber, invest that much time to conduct a M&G with that many people. Basically it rarely happens, usually 50 to 100 people for 20 to 30 minutes or so, and that’s it, this provides an insight to the bands humble and appreciative stance.  

As evident in the enthusiastic crowd, it’s easy to see why the love for this matched band hasn’t waned. As they say, you never forget your first love and tonight was full of nostalgia as folks drifted back to thoughts of posters on the bedroom walls, listening to your favorite band over the radio. And is wasn’t only the fans who were fired up, but the Moffatt brothers were too. You could see it in their faces and hear it in their voices.

It was just as much of a joyous and memorable experience for the band as it was for the near capacity crowd. It was refreshing to see them functioning on stage as one, rather than it feeling like a competition with each member vying to prove they’re worth more than the other guy. A connection on many levels simultaneously not often experienced at live events, well done. Keep an eye out for their individual career paths, I’d expect to see more good things to come. – Rappler.com