Last night, synth-pop singer-songwriter and producer Ari Staprans Leff, better known as Lauv, told Filipinos how much he loves the crowd that comes to his performances in the Philippines — several times, in fact. But he didn’t just tell fans. He showed them how much he loved his “second home” by singing a never-before-heard song titled Sad Forever to his Filipino fans.
Lauv came out on stage at 9pm, an hour later than the original schedule stated it would begin. Fans didn’t seem to mind the late start — they screamed their lungs out when the singer appeared sporting a white unicorn hoodie and black joggers, opening with the fun, upbeat Drugs & The Internet.
Before debuting the new song, he asked for total silence from the roaring crowd so that he could explain the song’s significance to him.
He said: “Last night, I finished this song on the airplane [going to Manila]. It’s a song that I’m really, really, really passionate about that I wrote at a really, really hard time. For lack of better words, I was feeling really, really shitty and really sad. And, since tonight is such a special show, I wanted to share [this song] with you guys first.”
He also said his team would capture the whole moment on video. “Hopefully we make some history tonight, Manila,” Lauv said.
Filipinos fans responded by holding their phones up to illuminate the venue in a sea of softly glowing lights.
The singer played the song twice (practice makes perfect, eh?) — and when he sang it the second time, some fans sang along to the upbeat, cheery song as if it were a happy tune, though it’s actually about battling depression (Lauv opened up about his personal situation with depression just last month).
i don’t wanna be sad forever
i don’t wanna be sad no more
i don’t wanna wake up and wonder
what the hell am i doing this for?
i don’t wanna be medicated
i don’t wanna go through that war
i don’t wanna be sad
i don’t wanna be sad
i don’t wanna be sad anymore
— lauv (@lauvsongs) May 20, 2019
He also performed an unreleased song called The Sims, inspired by the video game of the same name. Lauv said it will appear on his new album called How I’m Feeling. He uses autotune and plays an electric guitar to the song, a ditty fit for a hopeless romantic, about hoping for a love that won’t happen, but still daydreaming about it anyway.
He also sported a white barong Tagalog — a sheer traditional costume worn by men — when he sang the solemn Superhero with an acoustic guitar.
In between songs, he told the audience to keep hydrated, which was nice. But hey, man, we’re not the ones performing 21 songs with just a couple minutes of rest here and there.
He also apologized for his dance moves, or lack thereof — which endeared him more to the crowd before him — but he still knew how to hype the crowd up, sprinkling the performance with I love yous and a generally cheery disposition.
Lauv also gushed about how this concert was the largest show he’s ever played. “This is officially the biggest headline show that I’ve ever played,” he said. “I still can’t believe that I’m in an arena right now, oh my God… There’s never been a Lauv show in an arena before.”
And so, it looks like third time’s the charm for Lauv’s most recent concert in the country — he even concluded the show by saying that it’s a second home to him “for real” and said, “I have the most listeners that I have anywhere right here. I do not take this shit for granted for one second, so thank you, guys.”
He last performed in Manila at the Wanderland music festival in March last year, and some mall shows in 2017.
He also took a little souvenir with him — a selfie with all of his fans — before blasting the heavy synth beat of I’m So Tired… He nailed Troye Sivan’s second verse with his solid mid-range falsetto, the echoey modifications reverberating through the sea of people in front of him.
He ended the show with the charming I Like Me Better which was featured on the Netflix show To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before. He sang along with pulsating synths while wearing a black shirt with a yellow smiley face, which he would later on sign and throw at the crowd for one lucky fan to catch.
The song appeared to be a fan favorite — it was cited as the top song every Filipino fan Coconuts Manila spoke to all said they wanted to hear that night.
15-year-old Josiah Arldron Lababit said his favorite part of the concert was the new song Sad Forever, which he said was beautiful and made him feel “happy” that the singer first performed the song in the Philippines.
Vince Palapal, 26 and Allen Pagulayan, 23, who attended to show together, said that the show was so good that it “actually exceeded [their] expectation … We’re used to hearing him (his voice) autotuned or in synth, so when he performed live, there’s no difference. It’s even better. The concert’s really good.”
“The new songs that he introduced were so nice…. They’re touching,” Palapal added.
Both of them said they felt “honored” that Lauv sang Sad Forever for his Pinoy fans. Palapal shared: “[Hearing it] it’s like, feeling another deeper connection with him.”
“It’s not his first time in the Philippines, which is why we [Filipinos] already have a connection with him, but it got deeper when he introduced a new song. It felt like a privilege in a way, and felt like we were already close friends.”
Friends Yvette Michella Canlas, 25, and Angelica Bugarin, 20, said that they were both on the brink of crying during the concert. “I was just suppressing my tears. I just felt so many feelings,” Canlas said.
She added, “It was actually surreal because all of Lauv’s songs are very good. I’m so impressed with him that he can create songs within just a short time, and it’s very meaningful and very touching to fans’ hearts. It’s very relatable as well.”
25-year-old Elmaz Sobrevega also said she felt honored when Lauv performed Sad Forever in the country. “He felt comfortable enough to release it here. He also said he felt welcome here like it was his home. I feel happy because there are a lot of international artists that say it’s so noisy when they perform here; they truly feel Filipinos welcoming them.”
She ended, “You could just feel the love — the Lauv throughout the concert.”
Lauv has another show tonight at the Waterfront Hotel in Cebu City, produced by AEG Presents and Ovation Productions.