Ruel, the Australian solo pop sensation, has graced Davao City SM Lanang Premiere to serenade his fans with his viral hit songs.
I wasn’t familiar with Ruel compared to his Gen-X fanbase and some millennial contemporary pop-soul enthusiasts. Upon learning that he would perform in Davao via SM Lanang’s Facebook page, I was intrigued and searched for him on Spotify. I found out that I had already heard one of his songs before, perhaps on Tiktok, the radio, or on my Discover Weekly playlist. The song is “Dazed and Confused,” which is my favorite, not just because of the beat and melody but ‘coz it’s the eponymous of one of my favorite 90s films.
I was surprised that the Ruel Live in Davao concert would be free for all and that he would perform at the North Wing Open Grounds (before the event, I didn’t know that he was huge here), and SM would even give away free meet and greet tickets. But I love the effort and the treat that SM has given Ruel fans. What’s great about it was that it was an early concert, especially since most of his fans are still young.
Upon entering the concert venue, I was shocked to see the mob of fans clogged within the whole premises of the area. Ruel sure was big here in Davao. But yes, I realized that given his contemporary pop and soul music and lyrics that are relatable, it would be no surprise if he made it more prominent in the next few months and came back again the next year.
Gem (my fellow blogger) and I were sitting on the VIP section on the right side facing the stage, and we could almost see everything: from the huge crowd to the van that entered where Ruel came out. After the opening act, most people saw the van coming backstage and realized it was already Ruel. We could just hear people scream at the top of their lungs.
Ruel finally came on stage. When you see him in photos alone, you will describe him as tall, handsome, mysterious, and quite intimidating, but seeing, meeting, and greeting him in person is a different experience. Yes, he’s still the same gorgeous and tall human being, but he was very amicable, accommodating, and sweet to his fans and everyone there. I didn’t feel a spark of ego. He was friendly but chill–not to the point of being overly cordial for publicity’s sake. His demeanor was calm, cool, and sincere.
As a musician on stage, Ruel was on a roll–he performed well with his soulful vocals and guitar on hand. It was a simple solo acoustic set, without the accompaniment that his songs have. He sang his songs heartfully and was touched and grateful to see that his fans sang along with him and knew his tracks by heart.
One moment I found funny in his set was that he was telling the audience that it was very hot, and when asking the crowd if we were also feeling hot, most of us didn’t answer, ‘coz it wasn’t hot at all. He was only feeling it ‘coz apart from being the performer (which takes up a lot of energy), he was wearing the blue sweater that he also wore on the pictorial of his latest album, “4TH WALL.” His reaction was cute and funny. It was also nice of him to have noticed some fans in the VIP section and even called their attention without dismantling the bigger general audience crowd (yes, he made sure to make lovely comments about them too).
The fans of Ruel were energetic and excited during his 7-song set. It was a short concert, but everyone was serenaded pleasantly. The song set was a mix of his viral hits like “Dazed and Confused” and “Face-to-Face” and tracks from his latest album, “4TH WALL,” including “Someone Else’s Problem.”
I was one of the few lucky ones to get a meet-and-greet pass, thanks to Miss Rhea of SM Lanang Premier events. I just realized now that seeing Ruel with only his acoustic guitar is a rare opportunity. Most of his songs have drums or drumkits, synthesizers, effects, and other instruments, so when he comes back to the Philippines, he might already bring a band with him. Hence, I will always treasure Ruel’s first-ever show here in Davao.
Thank you again, SM, for bringing Ruel and for allowing his fans to see him live in concert for free.