But when a second night was added to SAOSIN’s Manila stop, Filipino fans proved that they were ready to party even harder than they did 13 years ago, when the band first landed on our shores and historically played to a jam-packed crowd at the now-defunct venue hall in Makati.

Thailand’s DEFYING DECAY was truly the perfect warm-up to get peoples’ blood pumping and ears ringing, as the Thai modern alt-metal act’s style was mainly composed of thick and chunky guitar riffs, wicked synths, and melodically soaring vocals courtesy of singer Jay Poom Euarchukiati. 

But as soon as the changeover was completed and the lights dimmed, a deafening rumble of applause and cheerful screams filled the venue. It was a magical time.

After the steady sonic crashing of drums, bass, and layers of guitar textures, SAOSIN exploded on stage with their classic opener “It’s Far Better To Learn,” and was greeted by an equally loud roar of a full-house singing along to every word. All smiles and clearly pumped up, the band – vocalist Reber, guitarists Beau Burchell and Phil Sgrosso (of AS I LAY DYING fame) bassist Chris Sorenson, and drummer Alex Rodriguez – proved to still be a well-oiled live machine, with a tight rhythm section, on-point backing vocals and the energy that was fitting for the warm welcome. The salvo of heavy hitters like “Sleepers,” “Lost Symphonies” and “Bury Your Head” kept the power at a constant peak, and Reber lost no time in thanking the crowd in between songs.

The band continued with songs that spanned from the early years of Cove singing and writing, including tracks like “Come Close,” (which of course, garnered even louder shrieks of approval)  “Translating The Name,” and “Collapse,” and the set even included a cover of the Smashing Pumpkins classic “Zero,” with Sgrosso hitting the whammy pedal hard on the track’s signature solo. And when SAOSIN launched into vintage hits like “7 Years, ” and “Voices,” the crowd resumed singing as one, as both the ground and the walls shook with the voices of thousands getting louder. Of course, another magic moment was relived as the band ended with the live anthem “You’re Not Alone,” which ended in a shower of glitter confetti and intense lighting.

Though the set was identical, there definitely was a boost of both volume and excitement, perhaps due to the fact that most of the people in attendance were first-timers and wanted to give the band a proper send-off.

Though SAOSIN ASIA TOUR 2023 LIVE IN MANILA was admittedly delayed and there were changes to the original plans the band had set, it was also proof that nothing will get in the way of a good time: not when a band still gives a hundred and ten percent whatever happens, and is armed with songs that have forever touched and connected with their fan base. And definitely not when a legion of Filipino fans who are both loyal and dedicated to a band like SAOSIN have something to say and do about it. Clearly, it’s the love of the serious Filipino SAOSIN fans that powered both nights and transformed the shows into additional core memories for both them and the band.