When we finally decided to witness the Eraserheads' concert, I had to rearrange my usual work schedule. Luckily, I was able to do that way ahead of time without any complication. So, on Thursday, March 5, I went to work (I'm supposed to be off on Thursdays) so I can be off on Saturday, The Final Set day.
I woke up the following day, March 6, startled with the news that Francis M is gone. He passed away. I was in denial for a while, a little nonchalant, as if it was an expected incident knowing that he had leukemia and that he has been in and out of the hospital. As usual, the logical part of my brain prevailed. The psyche reacted very much later.
I was so tired from work and errands (especially since BPI gave me a helluva time getting my husband's hard-earned money from them!). Nevertheless, I found time to view news clips and read tributes about the Freeman. The effect of philosophical anesthesia must have worn off as I started to feel sad: In reality, Francis' music was a big part of my growing-up. His music crossed the chasm at the time I started to be influenced by pop culture: puberty. Yes, I can still remember rapping "Mga Kababayan Ko" and "Cold Summer Nights", I was Grade 5 or 6 then. Later on, I came to like "Girl Be Mine" and appreciated "Ito ang Gusto Ko!" (kalayaan, kapayapaan, katarungan, karapatang pantao). I started to realize how intense his work's impact was to his fellow artists and his audience - like me.
Saturday was concert day. It was also the Eat Bulaga tribute day. Talk about conflicting emotions: you cannot be too happy, hard to be so sad. Of course, I was not able to watch the whole EB show that it was necessary to search YouTube for bootlegged clips the following day; sleep was required before going to the Mall of Asia as I was up all night. I displaced myself from the sofa (in front of the TV) so that I could get my much needed 3-hour nap.
The concert was magnificently heartwarming. Ely amplified the nudging sentiments of their nostalgic fans (or was it just me?) when he put his piano in flames: They are Eraserheads no more. Goodbye, youth! As I wistfully echoed Spoliarium's "Pwede bang itigil muna/ Ang pag-ikot ng mundo/" on my mind and while I was singing whenever Ely commands the crown to do so, I can't help to ponder upon my life then and now, how things have changed drastically. Eraserheads catapulted to fame when curses became our chorus: "Di ba, tangina/ Nagmukha akong tanga/ Pinaasa nya lang ako/ Lecheng pag-ibig to..." I was in STC then, I remember a schoolmate, who adapted the name "Toyang", lent me her Ultraelectromagneticpop cassette tape. I bought my own tape after. I transferred to Saudi when "Kailan", "Magasin", "Huwag mo nang Itanong" became popular. Being situated there did not matter, I knew their songs by heart. When I went to UP, I saw Eraserheads perform live for the first time, the second, third,..., nth time. Until, well, they disbanded and I pursued greener pastures, literally. These things gnawed my mind during and a few days after the concert.
Of course, the Eheads paid tribute to Francis M, and everybody on the venue sang and dance with them as a show of respect for the Master Rapper. My Sunday was spent reading Francis M's multiply blogs. I agree with his opinions on certain issues, like how corrupt the government is, how we need to "defend the three stars and the sun" from greed and exploitation. I admire his talent in photography, being a frustrated hobbyist that I am. I felt his courage when he fought his Happy Battle. I am awed even by his concept clothing merchandise that I am thinking of queuing to buy one too! (As I am typing this, the news says that his shirts and CDs are selling like hotcakes. This is expected, yes?)
Since I am in a nostalgic mode, I started searching and adding high school classmates on Facebook. I am still dazed to put it mildly.
And today is Tuesday, I still feel lonely that these artists who influenced my youth are now gone - Francis resting in peace and the Eraserheads no longer existing. I realize that the memories during this turbulent episode of my life were long forgotten. I consciously disassociated myself from my friends for reasons I cannot even claim valid now. I guess this what magnified the sadness: realizing who I am now, who I was then and who I was between those two distinct periods of my existence.
I cannot do anything about the past, but my hands could definitely control how tomorrow turns out. I shall take my time appreciating this thought. For now, I will just let my youth, my dead aspirations and my lessons be there to enlighten my way to self-absolution.