Saturday, March 1, 2014

The Circus + The New Minstrels

Words by Kix Suarez

Back in the day, (when I was not born yet), there were not a lot of DJs for parties just yet. Ragers weren’t about CDJs or beat makers. It was either you had a vinyl player playing the most current hits at a party or if you were part of the cool clique, you’d have a show band, which was called a ‘combo’.

Two of the most sought after ‘combos’ back then were The New Minstrels and The Circus band. The New Minstrels was formed over at San Beda College. Ding Mercado and Eugene Villaluz were two of the members that started it all. As they started playing more gigs and making more buzz in the local college circuit, they began to open the group to girls and other guys to join in the fun. Some of these notable members were Louie Reyes of Holy Ghost College and Joey Albert from Assumption.

The New Minstrels were known for their wonderful Top 40 and kundiman renditions. They had sophistication about the way they interpreted and performed the songs. They were jazzy but at the same time pop. Enough to keep the crowd entertained.

The Circus band members on the other hand hail mostly from Ateneo. Founded by Atek Jacinto, the group was unique in the way that they performed well together but had something distinctly theirs on their own (this was probably why they all had solo careers after). Notable members were Hajji Alejandro, Tillie Moreno, Pat Castillo, Jacqui Magno and Basil Valdez. Staying true to their name, the Circus band was known for their elaborate costumes and make up (Kind of like the Empire of The Sun of the 70’s). What made them stand out though was their very precise ways of covering songs. The repertoire consisted of anthems such as Never Can Say Goodye, The Harder I Try, Love The One You’re With, Happy People, Wildflower and You Got The Love. It was even claimed fondly by the crowd as being even better than the original ones.

It was no surprise that when the two bands announced their reunion concert, there was a clamor for tickets. Though their audience was mostly retired or heads of their own businesses and the like, they managed to get them out of their offices and homes to fill up PICC’s concert hall. It was a much senior crowd but you could tell that they were avid partyphiles back during their prime.

Since it was a Valentine’s concert, the song list was mostly covers of classic love songs. Though mush was a recurring theme, they also did upbeat tunes such as an Earth Wind and Fire medley as well as each artist’s most popular singles. It was a very light evening; a lot of jokes about age was thrown out and taken lightly. Haji, Ray-An and Joey Albert were crowd favorites. Some of the folks in the audience event screamed and chanted the artist’s name ala High School – College fair days.

All in all, it was a great show. It was a nostalgic worthy trip down wonder years of a lovely era. Even though it ended quite late (way past the audience’s bed time), the crowd still cheered and danced.  The only thing the audience wanted was more.


We Got The Love - The Greatest Hits Reunion was brought to you by Viva Live and Redstone Media Productions.

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