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CONCERT REVIEW: Of flames and flamboyance

Troye Sivan’s electricity within propelled ‘Bloom’ in Manila into one powerful place.

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Singer-songwriter Troye Sivan put Pinoy concertgoers under his spell at Mall of Asia Arena recently where he held the Manila leg of his “The Bloom Tour” in Asia.

Troye Sivan

Troye Sivan

We thought the venue would never fill up but by the time the artist started his show at a little past 8:30 p.m., the fans were in full force and they made sure Troye felt the love. From the first note up to the last number an hour and half later, they were on their feet and singing along to all the songs at the top of their lungs. These included the big hits “Youth,” “Fools,” “Plum,” “Lucky Strike,” and “My My My!”

It was clear, whenever the artist would catch his breath between numbers, that he was overwhelmed by the reception. He would scan the room in disbelief over the energy the crowd fed him, prompting him to remark several times that he should’ve done a full show in Manila years ago. The artist was in such a good mood that he acceded to requests from the audience to say some Tagalog words as “Salamat” (easy round) and “Nakakapagpabagabag” (super difficult, haha). He also danced his way through the fast songs in his signature, er, “bursting style” wherein his arms “explode” wide before he gyrates like he owns the world. If you ask us, his steps looked like early Madonna or Kylie Minogue. Should that be the case, we wouldn’t be surprised as Troye’s music sounds so ’80s.

Although the artist made a name for himself through fast songs, it’s in doing the ballads that he fully connected with his audience, aside from showcasing his singing talent to the fore too. These saw him sitting down on a couch — his pulpit — from where he delivered his take on heartbreak and yearning, burning love (“The Good Side,” “What A Heavenly Way To Die”). Come to think of it, the artist’s music sounds “warmer” live, thanks to the full band he uses versus the electronic instruments we hear on record. We were also surprised that though Troye has limited range, his middle notes are so pleasant to the ears that they more than make up for any shortcoming.

Most concerts save the best for last, but for us, the best number is the opener, “Seventeen.” Troye emerged in the middle of the VIP section, sending the crowd to nirvana as they were able to take photos and videos of the artist really up close. More than that, it set the tone perfectly and signified that this artist will do anything to connect with his target market, the youth.

A line from the anthemic, coming-of-age tune is quite confessional:

“I went out looking for love when I was seventeen / Maybe a little too young, but it was real to me / And in the heat of the night, saw things I’d never seen /Oh, seventeen.”

Sung with so much conviction, from now on, Troye — bonafide artist in our book — needs no introduction.

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