“It’s a long time coming! Thank you God for making this happen!”.
This is how Jewish American artist Matisyahu — clad in simple concert get-up (a pair of ripped, skinny jeans, and a white sweatshirt worn over a summer-ready black sando) — opened his much-awaited Manila debut last September 23, Saturday.
Stoked even before the international singer performed his concert-opener, “Sunshine”, reggae aficionados have already reciprocated these warm words as they cheered and screamed to ensure that indeed, the 38-year-old act’s inaugural show in the country is a long-anticipated event.
“Bakit ngayon ka lang dumating (How come you came here only now)?,” a member of the crowd excitingly shouted from behind.
The show’s set list includes Matisyahu’s biggest hits like “One Day”, “Sunshine”, and “King Without A Crown”.
An Artist of His Own
Making sure that the audience is served with the best concert experience possible, the Grammy-nominated music star fired up the SM City Skydome stage with his trademark fusion of different genres.
Matisyahu is known for craftily mixing traditional and dub reggae with rock and hip-hop beatboxing sounds.
In a WISHclusive interview with DJ Alice earlier that day, he shared that “the type of reggae music that [he plays] is rather minimalist” and is “about isolation”.
Reggae superstar Matisyahu brings his “Undercurrent” world tour to Manila.
“In our shows, you’ll hear a lot of bass-and-drum combination, or keyboards only with some vocals mixed in it,” he remarked.
“We [also] like to improvise, like jazz music. You know, jazz artists, they will be playing a song, and they will just be listening and playing music together. The main thing that we’d like to do when we play live is play music,” he stated.
True enough, this is what became evident during the entire show. Together with his ace touring band, he performed his hit songs “Sunshine”, “King Without A Crown”, “Live Like A Warrior”, “Youth”, “Jerusalem”, “Searchin’”, and “Time Of Your Song”, incorporating new spins to the tracks’ original studio versions.
Matisyahu conquers the stage with his signature sound that blends elements of reggae, rock and hip hop.
He also gave the crowd a taste of his newest album, “Undercurrent”, with his impressive delivery of the 10-minute meditative tune, “Forest of Faith”.
Sharing the Stage with Another Music Star
Pinoy reggae fans who came to witness the epic event channelled out all the thrill they felt in all ways possible — from giving uncontrollable foot taps, throwing out grooves on full blast, to loudly singing along even with the rap parts.
This atmosphere escalated to its peak when Matisyahu brought his “good friend” Bugoy Drilon to the stage for a duet of his international smash, “One Day”.
During his interview on board the Wish 107.5 Bus, the reggae star expressed his admiration for the Filipino artist, whose Wishclusive cover of “One Day” became viral in September last year.
“I really appreciate him. I got to see his music when someone on Facebook posted about his performance here on [the Roadshow]. And it was one of those things that made me feel to sing ‘One Day’ better. I love his take on it. He inspired me,” he enthused.
He even revealed that his encounter with Drilon’s take on his song, which he co-wrote with Fil-Am singer Bruno Mars back in 2009, is part “of what made [him] want to come to the Philippines.”
Matisyahu and Bugoy Drilon share the stage for a duet of “One Day”.
“When I saw that video, I started searching up for ‘One Day’ in the Philippines, and I saw how the song is pretty big here — people really like the song. I started to see all the comments, and I said, ‘Wow, I have a lot of friends in the Philippines, we have to go there.’”
Apart from finally performing the song together in Drilon’s homeland (they previously jammed to it in a show in California), the two artists capped off the concert with an impromptu collaboration of Bob Marley’s “No Woman, No Cry”.
Matisyahu’s Manila debut, presented by DMC Philippines, is part of his world tour titled “Undercurrent”.
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