Photographed by: Xin Sy
Video Taken by: Geraldine Gallardo
Written by: Leez Escalona
Think New Year’s was the best time to head out and watch fireworks? Not quite. The annual Philippine International Pyromusical Competition will blow your mind. If you have no idea what a pyromusical is, imagine synchronized swimmers dancing along some sweet jazz music or catchy pop song but instead of their swimming caps and athletic legs peeking out of the water, you’ve got fireworks. YES. Fireworks. If you still don’t get what I mean, it’s music + fireworks.
I’ve been to five of the eight Pyromusicals so far, and this year’s performances make me promise to never miss one again. MOA is swamped with people every weekend to just see it—in fact people go so far as to reserve tables for next year’s competition. And it’s worth it.
It’s good to note, though, that even if you didn’t get the best seats, it doesn’t matter. It’s fireworks. The sky is literally the stage.
But who are the people behind all this? This year, each participating country fielded two of its best fireworks creators per night. For China, for example, two of their representatives were their biggest manufacturers of fireworks: the new challengers from the Lidu Fireworks Group, and returning favorites Polaris Fireworks. In my interview with Lidu, they explained that it can normally take up three months to merely prepare the show, and a week to prep the set before the big night.
But China’s participants in the competition need an extra month—due to it being very close to the Chinese New Year. Preparations are extremely tight, owing to the one-off nature of fireworks. If one thing goes wrong, the entire routine fizzles like pouring out fresh Coke from the bottle.
Funnily enough, the entire thing is a good mix between good ol’ fashioned high-tech digital wiring systems, and button pushing. In fact, did you know that there are actually people on the barges that set off the fireworks? Must’ve been hell of a view on the boat. But the Pyromusical is more than just about pretty lights—there’s also the music. The show is composed of five to eight songs, all of which have to suit the lights in the sky.
“All we really want you to do is go (shocked face)”, Lidu’s staff explained. “We really just want the people to enjoy the show.”
And China was lit. After all, they INVENTED the things, and there wasn’t a small dragon in sight yelling dishonor on their cows.
Better luck next time, Mushu.
The Lidu Group’s performance went first, starting off their show with the theme from the Halo series, followed by a series of eargasmic video game and iconic movie references. As Marc Boreinstein (Lidu’s VP in International Sales and Marketing) said: “It starts with an idea […] We just really wanted to take everyone on a journey.” Mission accomplished, Lidu. The first performance was the fanboying of every geek rolled into a great big sparkler in the sky.
Balancing out the incredible energy of the fireworks were the soothing tones of the long-time band MYMP, regaling the audience in between performances and inviting them to sing along. It was a welcome breather in the middle of all the intensity of the show.
But what about Polaris Fireworks? Throughout the interview, Polaris joked with Lidu that their presentation was just as good as theirs. “We try to balance our musical routine with a mixture of the old and new,” Polaris said. And it was true: they started off with a strong soundtrack of Chinese music with their performance.
But what about Polaris Fireworks? Throughout the interview, Polaris joked with Lidu that their presentation was just as good as theirs. “We try to balance our musical routine with a mixture of the old and new,” Polaris said. And it was true: they started off with a strong soundtrack of Chinese music with their performance. Then, this happened.
That audio wasn’t edited. Polaris called in the Black Parade themselves: My Chemical Romance. As if calling in Linkin Park wasn’t enough. Yes, they also called in New Divide.
This was all of our faces for both performances.
If that wasn’t enough to convince you to go to the rest of the performances until March, I’m not sure what will. But as for me, I’m already booking a table for next year. ‘til next time!