08th June, 2015. 2:20pm
When Idina Menzel announced it on Twitter that she was going to have her Idina World Tour here in Manila, I knew I had to watch it. I’d do anything to see her live. I even told myself I would purchase a VIP ticket, no matter the cost. So when they started selling tickets, I squealed. The ticket is cheap (VIP ticket is about $160). I can handle the price. Only there’s one problem: my friend couldn’t (afford).
So I decided to settle for the next price-Patron-which is about P2,000 cheaper than VIP (about $121, all in USD).
Although I was sad I wouldn’t be able to watch her a little bit closer, Patron was alright. I bought tickets as soon as I could when they started selling tickets, but I was still too late because the good seats were sold after just a few hours. We managed to get good seats, but I would have gotten better seats if I purchased our tickets hours before.
Come concert day, me and my friend Ana decided to come at the concert venue three hours early to avoid traffic and also so that we could still have dinner without rushing. Since both of us were still a bit full, we just stayed at Starbucks near MOA Arena and grabbed a coffee and Bacon, Egg and Cheddar sandwich for me, a brownie and Spam, Egg and Cheddar sandwich for her. We went inside the arena around 7:30pm, and even spotted a few local celebrities (read: one 😂). Despite the fact that I was resenting our seats a little, I felt happier when we were ushered into our seats. It wasn’t as better than where I want to be seated, but it was closer than I’d imagined.
At 8:30pm Manila time (which is 30 minutes late. You know, Filipino Time), the show started with everyone’s favorite – Defying Gravity.
Seeing Idina Menzel for the first time felt like Christmas. I was screaming like a 10-year-old when she started singing, “Something has changed within me…” I can’t believe I’m hearing Elphaba sing LIVE!!!
Coming into the show, I was prepared for any mess ups that Idina was going to make, especially in (too) popular songs that need belting. But first number was flawless. So far, so good.
Idina then went to performing a few other songs that I’ve already heard her sing at her prior gigs, including Don’t Rain On My Parade, and The Wizard and I. The surprise of the night for me (so far, at least) was Brave and I Stand from her I Stand album. I love those two songs, so I was giddy when she started singing it. I never expected that she would sing it, so I was very happy when she did. It was actually the only video I recorded. Everything was safe and sound on my voice recorder. Hahaha!
After The Wizard and I, Idina mentioned how crazy Pinoy fans are and how the three empty seats in front is making her feel uncomfortable. She asked where the owners of the three seats are, if they were stuck in traffic (she said, “does traffic really suck here?” The answer was a collective YES), and to start texting them or else “Idina will give away their seats.” Of course, everyone volunteered to take their place, even the ones at the VIP section. Idina said maybe she could just stall for a bit so we could talk and hang out and just do it all over again until the three seat owners arrived, since she already made a few mess ups herself (there was a boo boo in I Stand but I don’t think nobody noticed but me since she made an ad lib to cover for it). She also complained how the heels she’s wearing is killing her feet. Everyone practically told her to just take it off, since everyone knows Idina Menzel feels more comfortable singing barefoot. (*Idina Menzel actually once had a concert called, Barefoot at the Symphony, where she performs barefoot all throughout the show)
She then went to sing a couple more songs by Joni Mitchell, Cole Porter’s Love For Sale/Roxanne, as well as Ethel Merman’s There’s No Business Like Show Business/Anything Goes, as well as a song from one of her earlier albums “Still I Can’t Be Still”, and a Radiohead song called, Creep. I loved it when she just laid down the stage belting out to Creep. I didn’t like it much the first time I saw a video of her singing it, but last night was so good!
It was during Take Me or Leave Me that people started to just really losing it. I knew this was coming; it’s an Idina Menzel trademark. I even practiced the song myself, in the hopes of singing the song with her. I didn’t even get the chance, but one of the Team Lea artists, Timmy Pavino, was fortunate enough to sing with her. Being a fan of Team Lea myself, I felt so happy and proud when I saw Timmy up there on stage, who was mentored on The Voice of the Philippines by Tony winner Lea Salonga, with another Tony Winner by the name of Idina Menzel.
When she called the three people who sang with her to come up on stage, she said, “it doesn’t matter who screw up, alright? I’m gonna help you. I know the song… Sort of.” I almost fell off my chair from laughing too hard because it was practically how she is in all of her songs. I mean, come on, if you’re an Idina Menzel fan, you know how often she fucks the songs. It was okay, though. This is what I love about her. She just goes out there and sing her heart out without giving any fucks if she messes the lyrics or not.
After Take Me or Leave Me comes No Day But Today from Rent, which is probably the most magical number of the night. When she started on the song, I started turning on my phone’s flashlight app and put it up there. Thankfully, a few others followed until everyone in the arena’s phone was up in the air. After the song, Idina said she didn’t realize how wonderful it looked, seeing those flashlights up there was like looking at the beautiful constellations of stars in the sky. I guess no one in the other countries have done it before. I don’t know, but seeing it all up there and her singing the song made me cry, actually. It was so touching; a good cool down after a very hyper number like Take Me or Leave Me.
Idina said that the Filipino audience were sophisticated, smart theater audience. She also shared how there were always a Filipino fan who adored her, waiting for her at the stage door even when she hasn’t made a name for herself yet, then went on to singing “For Good.”
Before Idina Menzel started on her Idina World Tour, I saw on Ellen that she was going to attempt to sing Let It Go in different native languages. I expected her to sing Let It Go in Tagalog, but I wasn’t prepared for “Bumitaw.” It was funny, embarrassing, but sounded so beautiful when it was her singing it. She asked us to sing the Tagalog version of Let It Go with her, but as expected, none of the audience knows the Tagalog version because well, it’s nonexistent, actually. Idina Menzel was the first to sing Let It Go in Tagalog.
It was funny, when she asked us to sing Bumitaw with her and almost none sang with her, she told us how we don’t even know it, then proceeded to just sing Let It Go in English. And guess what, she did it flawlessly. It was, indeed, Idina Menzel who sang Let It Go, not Adele Dazeem.
For your pleasure, here is the Tagalog of Let It Go:
‘Di ko na maitatago
I sarado ang pinto.
Kahit na ano’ng sabihin pa
Bumagyo pa man,
Lamig at hindi alintana.
After Let It Go, I noticed how Idina does better in a chill, comfortable setting, rather than singing on award shows like the Tony’s or the Oscars (notice how her performance there sucks, but not in a lot of her concerts). To be honest, I don’t mind. She’s still one of the greatest Broadway stars for me.
When the audience shouted “We want more!!!” after she exited, Idina returned for an encore with a song called, “Child.” It was a song that she wrote for her son, Walker, and was going to be included in her new studio album. It was a beautiful, touching song and I was fortunate to have heard it before she release the song officially.
Another encore was “Tomorrow” from Annie. I still love Lea Salonga’s version more, but when it comes to Idina’s versions of the song, I liked this live version more than the ones I’ve heard her sing the song before.
All in all I was too happy I went to watch this memorable concert. My throat was screaming in pain after the concert, and waiting outside the stage door for almost an hour was a waste of time, but it was okay. I know this would not be the last time we will see the great Idina Menzel here in Manila. To anyone who said she flubs a lot, you’re wrong. She was great. The Manila leg of Idina World Tour was great. No big boo boos. Just pure singing and a lot of fun moments and inside jokes. Even if we didn’t get to buy a VIP ticket, it was okay. I was there when Idina Menzel had her first concert here in Manila. That’s what matters the most.