David Guetta in Manila

I’m an electronic dance music (EDM) lover. I haven’t really thought of why; in this country, among my age bracket, hip-hop was always the big thing when it came to clubbing and dancing. But when I look at my playlists from way back when I first could download MP3’s, there’s always an EDM track in there somewhere.

One of the oldest EDM songs on my iPod is this track called “True House” which I first heard in a movie called “True Vinyl“. According to the end credits, it was spun by David Guetta. I have a habit of googling other songs an artist has recorded or collaborated on, so it wasn’t long before I’d built up a collection of other Guetta tracks.

Fast-forward to about 10 years down the line; I’ve become a BODYJAM instructor who dances to EDM day-in, day-out, and I’m hearing Guetta not just in EDM playlists, but on Top 40 radio due to his collaborations with pop, rap, and urban music acts such as the Black Eyed Peas, Nicki Minaj, Snoop Dogg, and Usher. And so the scene was set for me drooling for tickets to his massive show last Wednesday at the Mall of Asia Arena.

David Guetta in Manila: At Work


I wasn’t even supposed to be at the show; I didn’t have the budget to buy a ticket (especially because the mosh pit went for around P7,000) and despite joining some promos, I hadn’t won any of them either. But Globe, which was one of the presenters of the show, gave away tickets to about 200 subscribers including me. Yay!

Davide Guetta in Manila

I was thrilled, even if our seats weren’t in the mosh pit; as far as I was concerned it was more about what I’d be hearing and dancing to all night that was important rather than the up-close experience prized in more traditional concerts. So with Lloyd, Faith, and Ivy, I sat down at the lower box section.

Some other performers warmed up the crowd that night. We came in just in time for the start of Kaz James‘s set.

David Guetta in Manila: Kaz James
David Guetta in Manila: Lights Show

It was then I realized this show wasn’t just an aural experience, but a visual one as well because of the huge LED screens and the stage lights illuminating the arena.

At the close of James’s set, I thought Guetta would finally, uh, guetta on stage. But I was in for one big pleasant surprise.

I’ve heard Alesso in various other collaborations he’s done with Avicii and Swedish House Mafia, but I didn’t know he was the show’s special guest! (I’ll try to read the posters next time, guys.) A licensed reproduction of his track “Calling (Lose My Mind)” is in the latest BODYJAM release I’m teaching at gyms, so I immediately connected with the music he started playing.

David Guetta in Manila: Alesso

To my surprise I could name a majority of the tracks Alesso played: “Antidote” by SHM, “Feel So Close” by Calvin Harris, “Around the World” by Daft Punk, “Promises” by Nero, his own remix of “Save the World“, a mashup of Hard Rock Sofa’s “Quasar” with Skylar Grey’s vocals for “I’m Coming Home”, as well as some crowd pleasers such as REM and Coldplay samples.

David Guetta in Manila: Alesso

Alesso’s set was massive, which only whipped the crowd into a frenzy when Guetta came onstage. His intro was not unlike what he performed in London for the iTunes Music Festival, which I had watched over my iPod Touch a few days before this show. Still, there’s a huge difference between watching something on an iPod and watching something unfold right before your eyes.

David Guetta in Manila: Crowd

I really don’t have the words to describe the experience except for one: euphoric. I’ll let these photos and tweets do the rest of the storytelling. 🙂

David Guetta in Manila: David Guetta

David Guetta in Manila: Hands in the Air

David Guetta in Manila: Nothing But the Beat

David Guetta in Manila: Wild

When Guetta closed his set, the crowd wanted more! We called him back for an encore, which was obviously unplanned for him. He said, “Let me see, let me see…” After some fiddling, he put visualizations back on the screens and said he would play a riff for us that he hadn’t debuted yet. I took a really poor-quality video but I’m looking forward to hearing this again when he releases it officially.

I remember what BODYJAM choreographer Gandalf Archer told us in his most recent visit to Manila. He said that there’s this genre of music (EDM) that affects people emotionally, taking them to another place. That’s how powerful EDM is. And that’s the reason I love it.

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