Twenty years is a long time to create milestones, make mistakes, and to change course. To create music, record albums, and perform in sold-out shows. Twenty years is a long time to touch lives, create a fan base, inspire people through music, and convince them that they need to buy tickets to your biggest show.
Sandwich has done all of the above, and more.
In celebration of the band’s 20th anniversary, Under the Glow of the Satellite, the concert, was held on Saturday, April 13 at the Metrotent in Pasig.
Arguably the band’s biggest local gig to date, it revisited songs Sandwich hasn’t extensively performed in the last two decades and gathered over a thousand people in one venue, from the Mayrics and Sunday Grabe Sunday mainstays and the listers who signed up for the band’s mailing list to receive gig updates at a time when social media had yet to become a concept; to friends and exes you weren’t hoping to see.
Lights flashed and dimmed alternately as Sandwich’s members went on stage, silhouettes revealed as they assumed positions. They opened the show with “2 Trick Pony,” a track from the band’s third album, Thanks to the Moon's Gravitational Pull. The song’s closing line? “Under the glow of the satellite.”
When he got hold of the mic, frontman Raimund Marasigan requested the audience to limit the use of mobile phones to take videos, saying he wanted the band to perform for the audience inside the venue, not for netizens on social media.
This is a sentiment that Sandwich’s earliest fans would understand. When the band started in 1998, people didn’t have smartphones to take videos or to post status updates. What mattered was feeling a band’s presence first hand and not through a screen; every twang or overdrive of a guitar; and the rhythm produced using bass tones and drum beats.
A wave of nostalgia enveloped the audience when Sandwich played “Butterfly Carnival,” the groundbreaking carrier single from Grip Stand Throw, the band’s first album. They played more recent hits such as “Betamax” and “Timelapse” during the first half of the show, reminding the audience of how the band has evolved but remained relevant over the years.
Towards the end of the first half, Sandwich played a slightly tweaked yet ever as endearing version of “Hairpin,” with guitarist Diego Castillo taking over soothing vocal duties.
Another pleasant turn was when bassist Myrene Academia—all pretty and ageless after changing into a more feminine outfit—and guitarist Mong Alcaraz sang “New Romancer,” a track from the 2013 album Fat, Salt & Flame.
The band then rounds up a bunch of crowd favorites during gigs, including "Jetlag," "Masilungan," and "Nahuhulog."
"Sugod" was, not surprisingly, the encore song, even if the concert wasn’t about to end, just yet.
The best place to catch a glimpse and take pictures of the band was at the SVIP section; but the perfect spot to listen to them live was father down, towards the back.
Before the audience had time to realize what was about to happen, the Sandwich’s members –Diego, Myrene, Raimund, Mike, and Mong—had found their way to the back of the venue and began performing on the stage front acts like Ciudad, Autotelic and Diego Mapa used earlier in the evening.
This was such a touching gesture for those who were content to simply listen to the band perform live even without seeing the members in the flesh. Raimund even crowd-surfed during that brief set, diving into the mosh pit while songs like "Cheese Factor Set to 9" were being played.
Sometime during the first half, Raimund shared what he claims is the secret to keeping a band intact.
He said that it was all about taking care not only of the band’s members, but also of its supporters.
And this is what Sandwich and the concert’s producer and director made certain that evening: that everyone was well taken care of and having a great time, as they witnessed the band perform all night, under the glow of the satellite.