December Avenue are eagerly awaiting the return of live shows and had a massive head start this past weekend.
Fresh off their return to the stage at Expo 2020 Dubai, spirits soared for the ‘Kung’ Di Rin Lang Ikaw ‘act. The sound of cheering echoing in their ears, mingling with the anxiety that was causing their heart rate to rise, made their palms sweat again. It was the kind of thrill that was familiar, but surreal at the same time.
Be part of the first World Expo never hosted in the MEASA region, December Avenue represented the Philippines, alongside Darren espanto, as part of the 192 nations around the world participating in this 5-month event. They played on the Jubilee Stage, a 3,000-person arena, and stole the hearts of many, but this is only the start of their ascent to greater normalcy.
the moving train met the leader of December Avenue Zel Bautista to talk about the band’s recent experience in Dubai, what it was like to return to the stage in front of a loving crowd, and their plans for 2022.
What was it like to be back on stage in front of an audience for the first time in almost two years?
Zel: Definitely surreal and scary. We’ve always assumed that we won’t be able to get back on stage in front of a live audience until 2022 or later, so it’s definitely a favor for us. We really missed that feeling of being in front of a live audience and feeling an exchange of energy, this show made us feel it all again. For the duration of our show, COVID-19 was non-existent, it was just us and the audience.
How were you all feeling before the concert? Concerns before the show?
Zel: We were all anxious. Haha. Honestly, we didn’t expect a lot of people to come out and stare at us since it’s their first day of the week (Sunday). We cannot describe our feelings behind the scenes. The crowd was massive. We can already hear them screaming and singing our songs between acts. But once we started playing and interacting with everyone in the audience, we all came to our senses and felt like 2019 again.
How’s it going in Dubai now?
Zel: Apart from the people wearing masks, everything seemed to be back to normal. They are all leading their lives as we did before the pandemic. They are already 95% vaccinated. We even heard that they will be getting rid of face masks soon. They are on the rise!
Tell us how you booked this concert in the first place. Did you have any hesitation before leaving the country?
Zel: In fact, we have no idea. Haha. Koi Busalla, our manager, just warned us a week before our flight, and it got us all excited and nervous at the same time. Maybe the organizer did some research or a survey before putting them in touch with our management. No matter how we have been chosen, we are all grateful to represent our beloved country. Replaying live in front of an audience is already a victory. We are eternally grateful for the experience.
There was no hesitation as we trust our vaccines and all the precautionary measures everyone has had to take to protect everyone from COVID-19. It was an opportunity that we could not miss. We are always locked and loaded.
With outdoor shows slowly taking place in Metro Manila, are you planning on playing any shows before heading to the United States for your next tour?
Zel: We really want to do a few more shows before we go on our second US tour. We are just waiting for the government to let us play again. Of course, most sites also wait. But yes! We want to do more shows before we go to the United States.
What is your hope for the Filipino live music scene in the coming year?
Zel: We’re all excited to be performing again in the metro and across the country. We also hope that concert goers will be better informed on how to deal with this pandemic. Protocols must be mandatory at all times. Everyone should be a responsible individual.
We all pray that our music industry will thrive and come back stronger next year.
Besides the US tour, what’s planned for December Avenue in 2022?
Zel: More songs. More projects. More shows! And another Canadian tour is on the way right after our American tour.