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Girl in a jacket

Debbie Gibson electrifies Manila with unforgettable 35th anniversary show: ‘Electric Youth’

Popular 80’s and 90’s pop singer-songwriter and actress Debbie Gibson just celebrated her 35th Anniversary show dedicated to her hit 1989 double-platinum studio album “Electric Youth,” at the New Frontier Theater in Araneta City. Titled “An Evening with Debbie Gibson,” it was a treat for all the Diamond Debheads at that concert, and it was definitely an evening to remember.

Debbie Gibson

It’s quite easy to assume that most of the attendees are from the older generations, that is why seeing people as young as grade schoolers was heartwarming knowing that Gibson’s music will continue to live on. It was amusing to see first-hand the level of Gibson’s influence–hard-core fans from across the globe even flew in just to see the pop star.

A night filled with surprises, the concert kicked off with one of Debbie Gibson’s close friends taking the stage and igniting the crowd’s excitement, hyping them up. Introducing her as “the original pop princess,” Gibson burst out onstage filled with energy and charm, greeting her audience with one of her hit songs on the Electric Youth album, “Who Loves Ya Baby?” The crowd went wild finally seeing the glowing woman, taking her fans back in time by dressing in her nostalgic black vest, white t-shirt, and black hat combo—Gibson did not look like she aged a day at all.

Debbie Gibson was stunning; her charisma, energy, and sick dance moves were just as encapsulating. Her Filipino fans were delighted whenever she made an attempt to speak in Tagalog, extending warm wishes for the evening with a spirited “Magandang Gabi, Manila!” However, as she continued her first song, there were a few technical difficulties that had occurred with her monitor. She said to her production team, “You know it’s a party when your in-ears break.” Taking out her earpiece and almost throwing it into the crowd. “I almost in the moment just threw it out there and I was like, ‘No, I’m going to need this.’ I’m just kinda crazy like that.” She bantered.

Debbie Gibson

Gibson’s connection with her fans that night even drove her to join the crowd who were all seated near her, as she was singing her 1987 album song “Out of the Blue,” surprising everyone with her cheeky impulsiveness. The audience surrounded her as the superstar enthusiastically plopped herself down from the stage.

What the crowd was unaware of was that this was not going to be the last time Debbie would join her audience again. “Am I allowed? Where’s security- They’re gonna kill me. Can we do it now?” The star asked her security team while giggling as she made her way up to join her fans who were on the balcony of the theater.

Throughout the night, the enchanting pop star delighted in entertaining her fans, and making sure they felt fully immersed in the experience. Whether it’s by coaxing cheers from her devoted 80s aficionados, consistently removing her shoes on stage in order to dance properly, or humoring her audience with her witty banter, Debbie effortlessly amused the crowd.

At one point, she even had everyone laughing as she playfully searched for her apple juice after singing one of her 1989 tracks “Helplessly in Love” in the renowned Electric Youth album. A fan shouted in reply, “Sure,” sarcastically implying that the apple juice she was drinking was alcohol. Debbie responded chuckling at her fan’s sardonic approach, “No, old habits die hard. I am a healthy, healthy gal.”

Electric Youth

Soon after, Debbie introduced another surprise she had up her sleeve. “Being that this is an Electric Youth concert, I wanted to incorporate some of your local youth,” she exclaimed introducing a group of Filipino performing students, their group name being “The Between Group” inspired by their school’s name “Between.” And giving the four young girls an opportunity to sing another Electric Youth track “No More Rhyme” with her on stage.

Doing an adorable and “Newstalgic” impromptu outfit change right on the stage, Debbie fills the night by singing her popular songs such as “Love Don’t Care” from her latest 2021 album “The Body Remembers” and back to her past albums like “Out of the Blue,” singing her second single, the song “Shake Your Love.”

Electric Youth

After being cheered on by the crowd continuously to dance and “shake,” the singer wanted to get a little more sentimental. As Gibson moved over to her piano getting ready to play another recent song she wrote titled “Legendary” which she devoted to her fan club the DGIF or the Diamond Debheads. She then expressed how amazed she was with how long it’s been since she had signed for Atlantic Records. As she showered the crowd with compliments, remarking on how everyone seemed to have maintained their youthful energy, she quoted, “Staying eternally Electric.”

Referencing once again Gibson’s impeccable sense of humor, the singer suddenly began talking about her recent addiction to the show “The Masked Singer” on Fox; and her experience of being able to perform on it. Debbie shared a heartbreaking moment with the audience, recounting the day she received a call on the first anniversary of her mother, Diane Gibson’s passing.

Despite the somber occasion, she was asked to step in as a last-minute replacement for a performer who had fallen ill with COVID. Without hesitation, Debbie responded with determination, declaring, “Put me in, coach!” Her willingness to seize the opportunity, even amidst personal grief, spoke volumes about her dedication to her craft.

The singer sang an ABBA medley, explaining that it was “ABBA night” during her time on the “Masked Singer.” The monitor behind her flashed Debbie in an owl mask while singing. Debbie’s ability to transform a sad moment into one filled with strength and joy reverberated throughout the theater, touching the hearts of everyone who was there to witness it. She had earned adoration from her audience. In that moment, Gibson became more than just a performer; she became a symbol of a spirit that never gives up and one that takes pride in those who love and care for her.

Gibson had not only complimented her fans but also commended her loyal team who had been on stage with her for the whole night. She introduced her talented two-man band and two of her best friends and best dancers, Gibson calls Bennet and Buddy (her dancers) “The Bookend Baldies,” who have been performing with her for over 24 years.

Another one of the last few surprises Debbie Gibson had that night—this was anticipated by many as well—was when she invited famous Filipino-Canadian YouTube vlogger and singer-songwriter Mikey Bustos to sing with her after he sent Gibson a demo. She reacted to it with, “This needs to be on the show.” The two sang a beautiful duet of one of Gibson’s track songs “Me Not Loving You” in her recent album “The Body Remembers.”

The night was almost coming to an end, however, Gibson reassured the audience that it wasn’t over yet for what was coming next was something everyone had been waiting for. For her closing, the pop star sang three most popular Electric Youth Tracks in the Philippines: “We Could Be Together;” where she shared the stage with her hardcore Debheads, and The Between Group, “Lost in Your Eyes,” a Filipino fan favorite where at the end of the song plastered on the monitor was a sign that read “SCREAM FOR DEBBIE TO FINISH THE SONG” and without hesitation, everyone in the theater yelled their hearts out for Debbie to effortlessly end off the song. And we cannot forget, the most awaited, her hit album song, “Electric Youth.” This left the crowd in awe, and for some, in tears.

Even after everything, Debbie Gibson couldn’t leave her fans just like that, she had to end on an “electrifying” note. After one last encore by the audience, she ran back out on stage to sing a song that meant a lot to her, her song “Cheers” on her 2022 album “Winterlicious” played during the last phone call she had with her late mother. Gibson passionately sang her heart out to the crowd, giving one last piece of her heart and soul to everyone who was there that night.

As Gibson finished off the evening, she wrapped her fans in a blanket of heartwarming nostalgia, transporting them back to the very moments they first discovered her music. Her performance resonated deeply with her devoted followers, leaving an indelible mark on their hearts.

Debheads were particularly overcome with emotions–one particularly moved 25-year-old fan couldn’t contain her emotions, her tear-streaked face telling the story of the impact Gibson’s music had on her, “The night was amazing, if I had to rate it on a scale of 1 to 10, it’s 20!” She expressed.

Another Debhead named Ken—being a Debbie Gibson fan for over a whopping 16 years, had also joined Debbie Gibson on stage for “We Could Be Together.” After being asked to rate his experience from 1 to 10 he responded, “Of course, I will rate my night a 10! I got to join Debbie!”

It truly was an “Electrifying” and “Youthful Evening with Debbie Gibson.”

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