Title: Triple Threat - A1, Blue, and Jeff Timmons of 98 Degrees wow Pinoys!
Written and Edited by Jamie Ortega
Co-written by Jeffrey Osoc
Photos by Kris Rocha
Boy band fever swept over Araneta as pop vocal group Blue, UK band A1, and former 98 Degrees frontman Jeff Timmons took to the stage last February 28, 2012. The three acts converged as part of the The Greatest Hits Tour: Jeff Timmons, A1, and Blue Live In Manila, a show staged by topnotch concert promoter Wilbros Live. It’s been nearly a decade since their last visit and, judging from the smiles, cheers, and whoops from the crowd, Pinoys, particularly the kids who lived through the ‘90s, missed them dearly.
‘90s babies will always remember the sadness that enveloped them when 98 Degrees disbanded 8 years ago, and even if the entire group did not perform that night, the presence of founding member and lead vocalist Jeff Timmons made the concert worthwhile as he sang some of his band’s unforgettable hits. During the show’s press conference Jeff declared he wasn’t pressured to sing alone because there was so much talent surrounding him. The singer serenaded the crowd with Invisible Man, Because If You, The Hardest Thing, and My Everything. When he sang the hit I Do (Cherish You) the handsome and charming singer grabbed a girl from the audience and started singing to her which, naturally, made the crowd grow wild. One of Jeff’s most applauded performances was when he was joined onstage by popular Pinoy band South Border as they sang the bands hit single, Rainbow. The performance even made several journalists in the audience comment, “ Pinoy pride at its’ finest!”
After Jeff Timmons set, British-Norweigan group A1 churned out some of their well-loved hits. Scores of fans sang and danced to A1’s Same Old Brand New You, Ready Or Not, and Take On Me. The kilig meter was high in the air as the group sang One More Try, Heaven By Your Side, Walking In The Rain and One Last Song. Of course, the highlight of their performance was the monster hit Like A Rose which drove the crowd crazy! The band also did some cover songs like Black Eyed Peas I Got A Feeling, and Lady Gaga’s Poker Face.
However, Wilbros saved the best for last! When the announcer uttered the words “Simon, Lee, Duncan and Antony give it up for Blue!” the noise in Araneta was deafening. Some people stepped over their seats in a mad rush to get to the front of the stage. Blue’s set opened with the song Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word. Looking incredibly dapper, the four men appeared wearing alternating gray suits and white polos. For the song Breathe Easy the handsome lads sang in front of their mikes. This was followed by another hit, You Make Me Wanna. For the song If You Come Back they executed several synchronized, snappy dance movements. All Rise was one of Blue’s most popular performances that night as the crowd snapped their fingers and threw their hands up in the air.
During If You Come Back, Lee, one of the group’s friendliest members, ran along the stage shouting, “What’s up people over here, what’s up?” He segued to the next song, the upbeat Fly By by uttering the words, "I just want to say that, I'm sorry we can only be here for one night. You're gonna get us back? The way I see it, we coming here just to ‘fly by.'"
Blue’s tunes made the crowd get up and dance, but one moment during their set made the audience scream with giddiness. Before they ended their number the boys threw roses into the audience. Before he gave away his rose Duncan kissed the flower while uttering the words “Who’s gonna be my Valentine?” There’s no doubt in our minds that, even for just one night, a lot of people would give an arm and a leg to do so!
Breaking the steady stream of songs was a comical moment courtesy of Simon and Lee. In the middle of their number, Simon wiped Lee’s face with a towel -then threw the towel into the audience! A lucky ABS-CBN employee caught the towel and told this writer she would never give it away. As expected, Blue ended their set with one of their biggest hits, One Love. As the group was singing, a screen set up onstage flashed photos of fans all over the world holding signs saying, Blue One Love. It was the perfect ending to an evening filled with nostalgia, cheers, and loads of hearty fangirling! The only complaint this writer has was the limited number of songs Blue performed to. Blue sang around 8 songs while A1 sung 13- hopefully they have more songs if ever they do come back!
SPECIAL THANKS TO THE AWESOME GLEN LLAMAS, WINSTON LLAMAS OF WILBROS, GRACE FORONDA OF MCA MUSIC, WILSON CRUZ OF MCA MUSIC, AND THE WONDERFUL STAFF OF WILBROS MEDIA RELATIONS OFFICER VIL BAYACA, MS ALMA NAVARRO, JHEN BATAQUIN, POLYEAST MARKETING MANAGER ETHEL CACHAPERO AND MANY MORE!