Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Concert Review: Olivia Newton-John Dazzles Manila

Title: Olivia Newton John Dazzles Manila 
Written by Jamie Ortega
Photos by Chris Lucas

It’s hard to believe Australian-pop superstar Olivia Newton-John’s first trip to Manila was during her one-night concert at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum last March 31, 2012. But it was, and for her legions of fans (of all ages, we must add), who showed up to watch her perform, it was nothing short of a dream come true.

Indeed, the English-Australian singer-actress Olivia Newton-John, who turned the song Lets Get Physical into an aerobics anthem back in the ‘80s, delighted Pinoys with her repertoire of hits including Hopelessly Devoted To You and Summer Nights from the hit movie-musical, Grease. Dressed in a black shining, shimmering, splendid ensemble, the music icon looked very regal, svelte, and elegant. It was very hard for this writer to believe she was 63, judging by the lively and entertaining way she danced onstage. Props must also be given to the dazzling backdrop which Olivia performed against, looking very much like a sparkling night sky. Combined with a handful of back-up singers who ably blended into Olivia’s crisp and beautiful voice, the whole stage set-up felt as if it was transporting the audience to a swanky cabaret.

Looking back at the concert there’s no denying the fact that each song she sang came from a specific period in her life. Olivia kicked off the walk down memory lane with a medley of country songs including Dolly Parton’s Jolene, Johnny Cash’s Banks Of Ohio, ending her number with John Denver’s Country Roads, Take Me Home.  As her fans will be more than willing to tell you, Olivia made significant contributions to the world of country music. Her 1973 album Let Me Be There charted No.1 on country albums for two weeks as well as 54 on the Billboard 200.
Olivia also shared bits and pieces of her life during the concert. She talked about her humble beginnings in London as a country singer while sitting down on a stool beside her band and back-up singers. After the mellow medley things began to get physical, LITERALLY! While still sitting down she began to sing the verses of the song, stopping midway to ask the audience if they would like to sing the original version. Of course they did! Olivia then stood up and performed a very lively rendition which made the audience dance and sing along.

A great part of the concert was how Olivia would relate each song to her life. She sang a song she wrote about surviving breast cancer, Not Gonna Give In To It. She also dedicated the song Grace And Gratitude to Earth Hour which was being celebrated that night. Being an Australian herself, Olivia proudly shared how the yearly event, dedicated to saving the environment, began in Australia.
As expected, one of the most applauded numbers that night was Hopelessly Devoted To You and Summer Nights from the hit iconic musical Grease. She jokingly shared to the audience how tired she is of having people ask her how it felt like to kiss John Travolta, her leading man in Grease. Her first song from Grease was Youre That I Want followed by Hopelessly Devoted To You. She asked for audience participation for We Go Together before leaving the stage.  However, like majority of concerts, Olivia saved the best for last. Her encore was the singer’s mega-hit, I Honestly Love You. It was a great concert, particularly because it was also a very personal concert. We were very happy and grateful to Olivia for sharing her life with us through her songs and we hope she comes back. We are sure Manila won’t mind “getting musical” with Olivia time and time again!

MCS Concert tidbit: After the concert some concertgoers posed for pictures beside Olivia’s poster outside the concert venue. We also spotted an Olivia fan named Jules Lacson who showed us old Olivia Newton John albums, we will post the pictures soon!

1 comment:

Ale said...

What do you think is the crowd estimate?