This is the third time The Script has visited Manila, and it was such an amazing experience from start to finish that I want to write this post so I don’t forget anything about it. I always said that you shouldn’t take pictures at a concert so you can be in the moment and make your memories. But I’m afraid I broke my own rule this time because I wanted every moment ingrained in my brain.

The story doesn’t start at the concert – it started last October, a full five months ago. That’s when they announced that tickets for the show would go on sale soon. D-Day, H-Hour , I was online and ready to buy tickets the second they became available. So of course at 10 a.m. – and I remember this so clearly because I was on vacation at the time and 10 a.m. was an ungodly hour to be awake – my internet connection went down and I lost 10 precious minutes. By the time I was back online, two rows of the section I was looking at were already taken. But still, I got some pretty good aisle seats so all we had to do was wait 5 months.

I went with my niece, who’s as much of a Script fangirl as I am, and this was her first Script concert. Though I think she has more of a right to be a fan girl because of her age, but I don’t care. We totally enabled each other’s fan girling, down to my niece painting a collage of song lyrics on canvas (which we wanted to give the guys, but it wasn’t even allowed past the gates) and planning our outfits for the show. You’d think we were going to be on stage and that anyone would see us, but did that stop us? No. We went ahead and had “meetings” to plan our concert outfits until we finally found something we liked. After all, we had 5 months to kill!

So finally April came and the concert date was finally here. A few days before the show, we suddenly found out that they would have a CD signing before the concert. Excitement turned to trepidation and finally to panic – the promoters told us that only 200 people would be allowed in, and that you had to get there before 10 a.m. if you wanted any chance. Endless talks of “should we? could we?” ensued. After the dust settled, we realized that we’re so used to not having any close encounters with the band anyway. And I’m not a big fan of autographs, I much prefer a picture. And knowing CD signings here, the goons security would be very strict about taking photos that we’d probably end up crying. Plus, I know for sure I would just be blinded by seeing Danny thisclose and I would just: a) not be able to look at him or talk at all, which would make me come across as a disinterested bitch, or b) I would totally lose my shit and make a complete ass of myself. So it was a no-win situation either way. And since this was supposed to happen just hours before their show, the band would probably be rushed and trying to conserve their energy, so what if they weren’t very talkative or pleasant, and they were just perfunctory when we met them? That would ruin all the love we had for them and that would be all we’d remember. So finally at the last minute, we decided to let it go (and it was not easy!) and just aim to have as much fun at the show instead. We stayed away from all the photos of the signing so our hearts wouldn’t break, and if anyone out there ever reads this and you went to their CD signing and they were nice and if you got selfies with them and it was the best moment of your life, I say this with all the love for a fellow member of The Script Family: we don’t want to hear it! To us, that signing never happened.

What? What signing?

So on to the show! We had a whole plan to get there early and avoid traffic, settle down, and have some coffee and dinner. Everything was going according to plan, until our dinner. Try as we might, we just couldn’t finish our food – we were too excited. (And the coffee did not help at all, if you know what I mean.) Again, were we the ones actually singing on stage? No! But there you have it, we barely ate half our food and just trusted to adrenaline to get us through the night.

And what a night. Part of our fangirling was researching the set lists for this tour, so we thought we were prepared for the opening song. But when the lights went down and the opening video came on, the whole arena lost its mind. The crowd on the floor knew something was up and they were all facing one of the floor entrances. So of course those of us in the cheaper lower box seats followed their lead, and sure enough, the band made its entrance from the back of the arena and marched with flag bearers to their Irish anthem “Paint the Town Green”.  I didn’t hear it at the time because I had a coughing fit at the beginning – you know that thing that happens when you shout so loud that you think you’ve torn all your vocal cords and want to expel your lungs? yeah, that. – but from the concert audio I heard Danny say that “it felt like coming home”, and I cried. They probably say it at every show (but I think not) and my head says I shouldn’t believe it, but I totally believe it!

Because I go to a lot of concerts, and I can tell you that I never feel the same way as I do at a Script concert. At a Script show, you can feel the love from the whole arena, and everyone seems to be so nice to each other and there are no obnoxious people anywhere. All you feel is LOVE and kindness and an overall good vibe. Case in point: I was losing my head and jumping crazily around that I hit the guy’s head in front of me with my bag because he was sitting down. I called his attention just so I could apologize, and his smile was so genuine that I didn’t feel like a complete dolt.

There was one moment that my niece and I try to block out, but it’s part of the experience that I feel I must write about it too. For this show, the band had a B-stage closer to the back of the arena, which was awesome. That was literally the closest I have ever been to Danny. And they were in the round, so only Danny was facing us. YES. That’s when they sang beautifully stripped down versions of  “Never Seen Anything “Quite” Like You”, and “Man Who Can’t Be Moved” (which, oh Lord help us, best song ever.) I remember noticing how gorgeous their  harmonies were. Then they left to go back to the main stage, and I tell you I did not take my eyes off the band to see where they were going. But then the house lights went down, and next thing we knew, Danny was in the lower box, the same section we were in, but on the other freaking side. We were on the wrong side. He had a GoPro with him so everything was shown on the screen, but he was practically mauled by the crowd. I tell you, that was the only time I was not singing my heart out (and the infamous song that we try to block from our memory is “You Won’t Feel A Thing”) and the only time that I felt my heart drop to my feet and I felt like a balloon with the air being let out as I sank down to my seat. We. were. on. the. wrong. freaking. side.

I could feel the corners of my mouth droop. Thankfully, their next song was something we did not expect to hear at this show (based on our set list research, natch), that I got back my energy and didn’t even need an effort to stand back up for “Six Degrees of Separation”.

Everything about the night turned out so much better than we could have hoped. I remember trying not to blink throughout because I did not want to miss a single thing and thought I could will my brain to remember every little detail by only blinking half as much. The night started inauspiciously though. When we got to to our seats, we were greeted by a heavy-duty cord hanging down from the light structure thingy from the center of the arena roof right smack in front of our seats, right in our field of vision. These were the best seats I’ve ever gotten at a Script show, but with that wire I thought they would turn out to be the worst. My niece sagely pointed out though, that once the show started, we wouldn’t even notice it. And she was right! The whole night went perfectly. We got some pleasant surprises with “Six Degrees of Separation” and “It’s Not Right For You”, because we completely expected those songs to be left out of the set. For “Nothing”, the band brought back the famous ‘call the ex’ routine where Danny sings on the phone to someone’s ex. Afterwards Danny got the crowd to shout ‘Goobdbye asshole!’ to the (not so) poor dude. “It’s Not Right For You” was their last pre-encore song, and even before they started it and Danny said that it was their last song, the crowd was already shouting “We want more!” While they were still on stage! And when they left, the crowd just calmly kept singing the “oh-oh” coda – no screaming, no hysterics – until they came back on. That was a goosebump-inducing moment because we didn’t lose our timing at all. The B-stage experience was awesome because at least we were on the right side for that, with Danny facing us on the piano and Mark facing us for his guitar solo. I got a pretty epic shot of that, by the way. We still say to ourselves, what if Mark had been facing the other way? Or if, God forbid, all we saw during “The Man Who Can’t Be Moved” was Danny’s back? Heartbreak. At least that other song that we will no longer talk about was not one of our favorites.

The Script has so many great songs now that a lot of my favorites from the earlier albums, like “Talk You Down” and “If You Ever Come Back” didn’t even make it to the set list. But you know what? I didn’t even realize it until after the show. That’s how good it was, that we did not feel like they left something out.

We also got what I think is the best merch from the store: a necklace with lyrics from “Never Seen Anything “Quite” Like You”. There were totes, shirts and baller bands for sale, but where would you use a tote? A band shirt is something that’s too precious to wear, so it will just stay in your closet. The necklace, on the other hand, was beautifully designed, complemented our outfits on the day, and is something we can wear any time.

Danny had a long speech before “Hall of Fame”, their very last song. He first asked the crowd who’d “been watching through their phones” to stop recording for a bit and just turn on the lights on the phones “to create a moment”. And with that crowd eating out of Danny’s hand, the whole arena looked like the night sky full of stars. Of course I stopped taking photos too, because Danny told me to! He told us that  music is always there for us no matter what we’re going through and thanked everyone who’s been with them since the first album, and welcomed even those who were seeing them for the first time. We honestly teared up at that point. How can you not love a band that seems to get how much the songs matter to you, and who don’t seem to have forgotten what it’s like to be a fan? He even made a promise that it won’t take another 2 years before they come back again, which made the crowds lose their collective heads.

It’s been a week now and my niece and I still haven’t stopped talking about it. If you’ve made it this far, thank you, and I salute you with these photos!