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Monday, October 28, 2013

[Concert Round Up] Back 2 Back 2 Back with Stephen Bishop, Michael Johnson and Joe Puerta

Words by Kix Suarez

Last October 18, the Smart Araneta Coliseum hosted another night of celebration for love, romanticism and a soundtrack of a generation that has passed as American singers Stephen Bishop, Michael Johnson, and Joe Puerta of Ambrosia took to the stage to perform some of the most memorable sounds of the '70s and '80s.

There was a lost time that suspended thickly in the arena that faithful Friday evening. It was a calm crowd; proper in the way they sat patiently waiting for the show to start.  It was a crowd mixed of the young and the wizened looking forward to a night of classics, of nostalgia and of hits to remind them of a time when music was much more sentimental – much more heartfelt.

And soon as the lights went down, the murmurs died The Angelos took to the stage. The Award winning group dubbed as the local counterpart of Il Divo opened with a mix of their own originals and renditions of popular hits instantly setting the night off to a trip down memory lane. They were a refreshing and fitting first act to keep the audience looking forward to what’s to come. 

It only gets better as one of the Philippines greatest bands take to the stage. By then, the crowd was slowly warming up. They open their set with some of their most loved hits. Romance and nostalgia filled the air as theme song after theme song was sung and painted smiles on faces of the crowd. Indeed, it was a night of love songs as Generoso put it but also a night of dancing. As Tuloy Pa Rin Ako’s intro was busted out, people started to stand and two step their way to the next performer of the night.
The J Michaels’ Band hits the stage and finally the crowd was really on their feet. With the shake of hands, he greets the first row. Introducing himself, he gets everyone excited. In the crowd he spots a familiar face, he asks a young man to get on stage with him. Apparently he turns out to be the son of the legendary Jackie Wilson. It felt a bit staged, as they were ready with a set and visual presentation for his number but with a voice like his, the staged act was quickly forgiven.
Michael Johnson is up first. On his third visit to Manila he recounts how it was all because of Jose Mari Chan that he found out people knew his music over here in the Philippines. He starts to sings his songs and as always blows the crowd away with Bluer Than Blue as well as This Night Won’t Last Forever. But more than that, in between eat gut wrenching and emotionally heavy number; he cracked the funniest jokes. He closes with I Will Always Love You, a song dedicated to his long lost daughter who he recently reunited with. It was nothing short of beautiful.
For the 9th time, Stephen Bishop hits the stage and for the 9th time, people stood and danced the night away to his most popular hits such as On and On, Save It for A Rainy Day and felt every emotion as he sang Never Letting Go and the anthem of love songs, It Might Be You. In his neon kicks and goofy antics, Stephen Bishop made it quite obvious why the Filipinos will never get tired of his own brand of entertainment.
Finally, Joe Puerta of the legendary band Ambrosia. Without any frills, Mr. Puerta starts with How Much I Feel and hit after hit came soon after such as Biggest Part Of Me, You’re The Only Woman and I just Can’t Let Go. The energy in the room was hard to contain as suddenly everyone was brought back to high times: of riffs and solos that were best appreciated on ‘something’

The show closes with a tribute to The Beatles. The whole group comes out and sings Let It Be. It didn’t matter what age you were in the room that night. The song seemed to hit the right spot. The crowd held their hands to the air and sang every word loud like an anthem and softly as a prayer. More than a concert, it was a celebration of a lost time -A time when things were much more simpler. With that, the lights go out and the night ends but the songs, we’ll remember. Until the next one at least.

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