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Much like their punch-in-the-gut heart wrenching songs, the night of Ang Bandang Shirley’s Favorite album launch gave us way too many emotions. You could feel it in the air: There was excitement in finally getting our hands on their latest album, enthusiasm in hearing the new tracks for the first time, and of course, there was loneliness creeping in; Selena Davis leaving and Saturday’s launch was the last time (for a long while) we’ll see the band complete.

Listening to Ang Bandang Shirley— be it live, through your speakers, or even in the solitary comfort of your earphones—has always been therapeutic. They write and sing love songs that are unlike the rest; something about their lyrics that are intrinsically and virtually familiar that it’s almost impossible not to relate to any if not all of them. No wonder people came in droves to Baywalk in Pasay to celebrate one of our favorite bands.

Here are a few of our favorite things that went down during the album launch:

1. Crazy long lines for the album and limited edition Favorite Album stickers

Crazy long lines for the album and the stickers greeted us upon arriving the venue. While long lines are usually irritating, it’s amazing to see so many people supporting an OPM alternative rock band such as Shirley. People also lined up for Favorite Album stickers, which were done by artists Manix Abrera, Hulyen, 8bitfiction, Rob Cham, and Apol Sta. Maria. It’s always great to see local artists get a lot of support!

2. Meet and greet with the band

Before the show started, Ang Bandang Shirley signed copies of Favorite, took photos with fans, and thanked them for just being there.

3. Ang Bandang Shirley played a very long set

It wasn’t just songs from Favorite that the band played that evening; Shirley indulged fans by playing songs from the first two album Themesongs and Tama Na Ang Drama. In all, Ang Bandang Shirley played a total of 23 songs. The huge crowd went wild whenever they sang old favorites such as “Di Na Babalik,” “Nakauwi Na,” and “Patintero.” But the crowd went just as wild whenever the band introduced a new track from the Favorite album.

When the song “Favorite” was finally on, everyone sang along: “You are here / This is my favorite place” and it actually felt like the perfect anthem for the night.

4. Tears. That’s what went down

One moment, people were just ecstatically jumping while singing along to “Tama Na Ang Drama”. The next, we’re tearing up as the band played its last song for the night, and according to Selena, the song that changed her life: “Patintero.” When she started saying her thanks (I refuse to call it a goodbye) while a short video of her was shown on the screen, our hearts sank. We know that Ang Bandang Shirley will still continue making music and that it would still be great, but it still felt like an end of an era.

The show ended pretty late, but people still stayed for a while after; lying on the grass, just drinking another bottle of beer, and simply savouring the moment, not wanting the night to end just yet. For Shirley fans, I’m pretty sure we can all agree that this was our favorite day.

Headline photo: Miguel Pablo

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