Vertical Horizon promises hit songs, surprises in Manila concert

Matt Scannell, frontman of the American alternative rock band Vertical Horizon, can’t forget the first time he visited the Philippines. It was in 2007, when he and his then batch of bandmates headlined a solo concert at the Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City.

“I just got goosebumps thinking about it,” said the singer. “It was absolutely magical. When we landed in Manila, we were stopped by people at the airport who wanted to say hi. There was an excitement in the air. I never ever imagined to get to the Philippines, invited to sing my songs. I remember the food was amazing. My mind exploded with these amazing flavors.”

“I do remember one dessert, which is absolutely fantastic,” he said during the recent online presser for Vertical Horizon’s return engagement, which is set to take place on 18 July at the SM North Edsa Skydome in Quezon City. “It’s like milkshake but with fruits.”

He nodded when one of the reporters asked if that dessert had shaved ice. “Yes, like shaved ice with different layers.” His eyes then beamed at the mention of halo-halo. “That’s it!”

Scannell vowed he’d once again feast on Filipino food when he and the rest of the band get here. “Our bass player, Mark Pacificar, his mom and dad are from the Philippines. So probably, what we’ll do before we go is I’ll ask them what I make sure to try.”

Favorite tunes

In return, Scannell promised that they would be playing the band’s well-loved hit songs and other favorite tunes in their upcoming concert. This is Vertical Horizon’s fourth visit to the country after conquering Araneta Coliseum in 2007 and 2012 (with rock singer Ed Kowalczyk of the now defunct band Live), and then the Newport Performing Arts Theater at Resorts World Manila in Pasay City in 2014.

Vertical Horizon, with Scannell as chief songwriter, has recorded seven studio albums since starting out in the music scene in 1992. Their third album, Everything You Want (1999), proved to be the most successful, producing the wildly popular and catchy song of the same title along with the heart-stirring karaoke staple “Best I Ever Had.”

Scannell fondly talked about those two compositions of his: “‘Best I Ever Had’ was the song about a woman I was totally in love with, but at the same time, we both knew it wasn’t gonna work. It couldn’t work, and it was okay… There’s a beauty to that, knowing that it can’t last forever. It makes it more special and [allows us to] recognize the importance of the moment. ‘Everything You Want’ changed my life here in the United States and around the world. It gave me a pat on the back — ‘Everything will be okay’ as a songwriter.”

Scannell said he’d like to dedicate another song he’s written for the band’s Filipino fans. It’s called “Forever,” a track on their fourth album, Go (2003), which has lyrics like “I will feel you in my heart forever.”

His personal favorite among his compositions, though is “More,” from the last album The Lost Mile (2018), with a chorus that goes something like, “I love you more, I could be more for you.”

No, they won’t be playing any of the new music they’re working on in the upcoming concert, because, as Scannell explained, “I want people to hear the record for themselves and get to know the songs before we get to play them.”

Tickets to Vertical Horizon’s concert on 18 July are available at SM Tickets and Ticketmax for P5,500 (VIP, assigned seating) and P3,500 (general admission, free seating).