A Night With Noli Aurillo

Oct 14, 2011

After 36 years, finally touched base with Noli.
We were Kalayaan dorm mates during our freshman year at UP. Why I stayed in the dorm while we lived just one bus ride away from school is another story 🙂

The onset of disco was bad news for guys like me with two left feet.
My good friend Vince, on the other hand, had a grand time ‘swinging’ as girls would swoon by. 🙂

So rock and jazz were my comfort zones.

Guitar in hand, Noli usually played by the entrance steps of the dorm or by the walkway to the caf.
I was his only audience then.

He was fresh out of Tacloban(?) and me, – well I was fresh out of money, that’s why cheap weekends meant smuggling a couple of beers to Noli’s room and watch him play.
We parted ways after that year in the dorm. I never saw him since but memories of those ‘weekend concerts’ have happily haunted me from time to time all these years.

Recent years, I’ve been hearing that Noli was doing the usual round of the bars here in Manila.
I’ve always wanted to catch him play but I was either too tired or too lazy. But on the way home last Thurs, I passed by Route 196 and guess who was on the marquee?
Rainy night, Thursday night solo flight? . . . Why not?– sounds good!

Anyway, to cut the story, we met before his first set. Had the usual bro hugs, high fives and toasts.
He opened the set with 2 songs, which I guess, were part of his regular repertoire.
After those two numbers, he announced that he was going to deviate from his usual selection of songs and do a little something different for the night as he introduced me, his long lost bud, to the audience.
I thought to myself – Pucha! Kung mag Rock-rockan itong si Noli para sa akin, baka mag alisan yung mga tao – kasalanan ko pa!
He started with a blues number then segued to a classic rock medley of People Are Strange by the Doors, Deep Purple, Zep, Layla, Sabbath, etc and ending with BohRap.
Ika nga ng mga assumptionista – SIYEEET!!!
The audience, mostly young ones, old enough (or young enough) to be my kids were amazed!
This was followed by Sunshine of Your Love, Light My Fire, then a Steely Dan medley – siyempre sing-along time pagpasok ng Deacon Blues at Dr. Wu.
The man is possessed!! – an animal with the guitar!!!
Sounds like Andres Segovia on rock steroids.
Last time I enjoyed a concert that much was when I was dancing during the Commodores concert at Delirium (ok, that’s a joke)
Of course the night wouldn’t be complete without his famed Michael Jackson medley – simply awesome!

I would have enjoyed watching Noli play even if he stuck to his regular repertoire.
But having that night dedicated to classic rock threw me back those dorm days 36 years ago when I was his solo audience then.

And last Thursday, he made me feel, I was his solo audience once again.

Thanks Noli.

2 Responses to “A Night With Noli Aurillo”
  1. Tom says:

    Amazing guitarist – thanks for sharing.

  2. bb3 says:

    Yup, amazing is the word Tom.
    Thanks too.

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