It finally happened. And it was great. Ever wondered what it would be like if one of the most popular OPM artists played for you in your very own living room? While it may be a farfetched reality for the most of us, the recent Kuwaderno: A Ben&Ben Online Concert gave us a taste of what it must feel like.
Curious? Read on to know more about my experience of watching it.
Who is Ben&Ben
Unless you are living under the rock, they are this year’s most-streamed OPM Spotify artist in the Philippines. Ben&Ben comprises of Paolo Guico (acoustic guitars and vocals), Poch Barretto (electric guitars), Pat Lasaten (keyboards), Keifer Cabugao (violins), Agnes Reoma (bass), Toni Muñoz (percussions), Miguel Guico (acoustic guitars and vocals), Jam Villanueva (drums), and Andrew de Pano (percussions).
Since the band’s rise to fame in 2018, they have serenaded Filipinos with hits like Maybe The Night, Kathang Isip, and Make It With You, bringing the magic with their heartfelt lyrics and enchanting musical arrangement. Prior to the pandemic, the group was scheduled to perform at the South by South West music festival. Unfortunately, it was canceled because of an order from the City of Texas. Being the prolific and resilient people that they are, Ben&Ben didn’t let this setback stop them from growing and amazing their audience in more ways then one.
Thoughts on Ben&Ben’s Online Concert, Kuwaderno
This was my first experience watching an online concert. Ben&Ben had been promoting and explaining their vision for the show for quite a while, including a series of Kuwaderno Pop-Ups at Latitude Bean+Bar in Malate, Jess + Pat’s in Maginhawa, QC, and Kale Café in Fairview, which ran from November 25-27. Understandably, I had my reservations about watching an online concert because of the possible tech glitches. This, however, was overridden by the promise of creativity as well as the solid consistency of the group to create something great.
For the first few songs of the show, the streaming kept on buffering, which put me in panic mode. Thankfully, by the third song, the streaming started going smoothly, so I was able to sit back and watch Kuwaderno: A Ben&Ben Online Concert sitting comfortably at home in my pajamas, with a glass of coffee in my hand.
An Instant Front Seat
One advantage of watching an online concert is the control of perspectives, lighting, and sound can be controlled. For instance, if the director decides to do a close-up on the lead singer, you’d be able to see it no matter where you watch it.
Alternatively, you’d also get the advantage of seeing the set-up in all its glory and appreciate its details. This included an actual revolving pebble house where the theater actors brought their songs to life.
Like the band explained, the concert was a collaboration of different artists including theater actors, dancers, production artists, directors, and more. The band definitely delivered in this aspect and pushed the boundaries in the production, bringing their songs to life, as if to see the notes transform themselves into different art forms. Everything was polished and meticulously prepared, making it an utter joy to witness.
An immersive, 3D-like experience
What I like the most about this concert is that it was produced thinking of the online audience. When the band spoke their spiels, I could feel them reaching out and interacting with me, as opposed to being a bystander peering through my television. The shots, lighting, and video quality all contributed to making me feel like I was watching it live. By the middle of the concert, I was so engrossed, singing along with the band and dropping my cellphone for a while.
In terms of production numbers, my favorite bit was when the band played Upuan and Ilan Tulog Nalang with dancers spread across the floor in front of them. Truly, it was a fusion of the arts at its finest. Of course, I was also happy to see them play their classics like Leaves, Kathang Isip, and Maybe The Night. For sure, there is also beauty in visual simplicity, seeing the Ben&Ben, and just embracing their music.
How does it compare to watching live concerts?
While nothing will ever replace the feeling of watching live concerts, Ben&Ben did create a feeling somehow resembling it with Kwaderno. I also appreciated the fact that I didn’t have to fall in line or wait—whether it was to give my ticket or to use the bathroom. Having said that, I’d still choose to watch concerts live any day. I look forward to the day of seeing them perform in person, swaying to their music with a crowd as big as the stars in the sky.
A Nice Bonus for all Ticket Holders:
As an added bonus, Ben&Ben announced that current ticket holders get the chance to watch their online concert again on December 12, 5pm as a bonus. That makes the ticket price well worth it, considering the caliber of music the group has to offer.
*Images are property of Sony Music Philippines, Ben&Ben, and ktx.ph.