It was nothing short of special and nostalgic when all four members of British-Norwegian boyband A1 — Paul Marazzi, Ben Adams, Mark Read, and Christian Ingebrigsten — reunited on stage to celebrate their 20th anniversary last Sunday, October 21 at the New Frontier Theater in Quezon City.
“Time sure flies. It’s been years…and we’re gonna go down memory lane tonight,” Christian remarked, receiving jubilant screams from the audience who waited 16 years to see the group perform as a quartet once again.
Though A1 graced the country’s concert scene in 2016 as a trio, their original line-up was last seen in the Philippines back in July 2002 — three months shy of Paul’s departure from the group for personal reasons.
But churning out songs as if they never really once parted ways, A1 did not fail to deliver an impressive career-spanning setlist, which included radio hits, deep cuts, and a brand-new song.
The ‘90s pop act showcased their tight vocal harmonies in an a cappella opening performance of “Forever in Love,” and sent waves of energy to the crowd with their groove-inducing renditions of “Same Old Brand New You,” “Be the First to Believe,” and “Summertime of Our Lives” — complete with signature moves and stage blockings.
(L-R) Christian, Paul, Ben, and Mark perform “One More Try” — the first song they wrote altogether — during their 20th anniversary concert at the Kia Theatre on October 21, 2018.
When they rendered stripped down versions of “One More Try” and “Make It Good,” their show’s spectators were treated to a back-to-back performance that deviated the spotlight from the group’s adeptness in sing-and-dance numbers to their proficiency in handling their own musical instruments.
This seamless shifting would punctuate the succeeding portions of the hotly-anticipated concert.
After “Ready or Not” — a bop that prompted the crowd to get up and perform the song’s choreography like most of them probably did in the ‘90s, A1 dedicated a portion of their show in welcoming Paul back to the group.
The four shared the stage for “Don’t Wanna Lose You Again,” a single lifted off the 2010 album “Waiting for Daylight,” their first effort sans Paul. Him performing this stirring tune was definitely a sight to behold for their long-time fans, a scene that reached a climax when Mark uttered the words “We missed you” to their returning bandmate.
(L-R) Paul, Christian, Ben, and Mark of the British-Norwegian boyband A1 reunite for a special tour celebrating their 20th anniversary in the business.
Their subsequent set — which featured “Heaven by Your Side,” “Learn to Fly,” and a balladic medley of “Here Comes the Rain,” “I’ll Take the Tears,” “When I’m Missing You,” and “The Things We Never Did” — did great help in evoking more heartfelt emotions, both from the boyband and from their crowd as well.
To officially mark a new chapter in their two decade-long career, A1 released a new track called “Armour.” Their live rendition of this uplifting single saw the band doing an impromptu fist-raising choreography, which their fans easily picked up and gamely executed.
Another greatest hits-set followed the rather poignant number as the quartet dished out their songs “Everytime” and “Caught in the Middle.” Calling the portion as the “saddest part of the evening,” the boyband smoothly sang “One Last Song” as a fitting finale.
Paul, Ben, Mark, and Christian all left the stage afterwards, leaving their fans wanting for more. As if the sing-along’s, chants and cheers they’ve constantly thrown throughout the show were not enough to exhaust their vocal cords, they continued to scream their hearts out until the ‘90s music heartthrobs returned to the stage for an encore.
Ben happily reaches out to Pinoy A1 fans as he sings, with his fellow bandmates dancing in the background.
Showing their appreciation to the warm welcome they received from the Pinoy listeners, A1 went full circle with a mesmerizing a cappella snippet of Ben E. King’s “Stand By Me.”
“This is a special night for us. I never thought we would get back together again, but I’m so glad we did,” Mark mused.
Echoing the same heart-rending sentiment, Ben expressed their gratitude and remarked: “This is one of the most important highlights of our career. And without you guys, we wouldn’t be standing here on this stage.”
Closing out their one-and-a-half-hour concert, A1 performed their signature smash, “Like A Rose,” and their hit revival of A-ha’s “Take On Me.”
Last Sunday’s show was the first in the series of concert A1 is holding this week in the country. The boyband performed again at the Kia Theatre the following night. They will be at the SMX Convention Center in Davao on the 23rd, and at the Waterfront Hotel and Casino in Cebu on the 25th.
Their reunion and 20th anniversary tour is produced by Concert Republic.