We travelled down memory lane last May 21 in a concert of performers of the ‘70s whose bond of friendships have defied time. Through the years, they had bumped into each other, through big and small gigs. Yes, as the popular line in a James Bond movie put it, “We never left!” Of course, the social media was a big help in keeping them intact through the years. But this one was the Big Concert that brought all of them together.
The idea sparked in one of their reunion gatherings where each one agreed to have a reunion concert, showcasing their music. It should be timeless, a concert one that will bring the audience down memory lane. A concert that will resonate not only in the ears, but, also in the hearts of listeners.
From a handful of friends, the news spread like wildfire up to their peers in America. Spearheaded by Darius Razon, the show was supposedly for his birthday celebration, but moved to a later date, and finally set on May 21 at the Music Museum in Greenhills, San Juan.
The queue was long at the venue lobby; and the audience age ranged from the young ones to the young once. As soon as people were ushered in to their respective seats, the venue was filled to the rafters.
The show started with a bang, with musical director Tex Cimafranca playing a medley of Darius hit songs, while photos flashed on the big screen showing the budding years of his singing career, and zooming into a radio booth, where Tessie Lagman was on board, greeting the audience, as if she were on her vintage radio program. She then “played” a music request by a listener of a Darius song from his hit movie, Sweet Caroline. Then lo and behold: Darius emerged from the audience to sing the requested piece. As the last note was song, he segued to the classic, “The Sensations” of the ‘70s group headed by Darius himself, as he started to call out his contemporaries, Perla Adea and Romy Mallari, ‘70s love team and now couple in real life. Perla and Romy sang their trademark vintage songs, “I Honestly Love You,” “Portrait of My Love,” and “Love is A Many Splendored Thing.”
It was a pleasant surprise that Perla and Romy have preserved their voices all these years, indeed,walang kupas! Next to be introduced was Eva Vivar, the Connie Francis of the Philippines, who sang her trademark songs: “Mr. Love” and “Sad Movies.”
Tessie Lagman did her share, singing her own composition, “Come Back to Me, My Love.” Darius ended up the first part of the show, with the immortal love songs of Matt Monroe. After a short repartee with the audience and acknowledging some of his friends among the audience, his repertoire would not be complete without singing Tagalog love songs. As the show progressed and leveled up to the second part, he introduced another friend performer, the Jukebox Princess of the Philippines, Cynthia Garcia who sang Mac Arthur’s Park, with back up dancers. She called out her BFF Adrian Panganiban to join her for a duet, with the song “Umagang Kay Ganda.”
It was Adrian afterward alone on stage, belting an inspirational medley. Then came forth the timeless Diva, Lirio Vital, who came all the way from America to perform her Broadway medley of songs. She also sang “Maalaala Mo Kaya” with Darius, which they used to sing for the TV show, Aawitan Kita.
As if all these had not made our day enough, another great talent was introduced, Dulce. Belting out a medley of George Canseco Classics that literally brought the house down, Dulce was a storm. With all the applauses, screams and shouts of “More! More!” Darius sang another duet with Dulce: “How Do you keep the Music Playin’.”
Darius would not let the night end without the audience’s most requested hit songs. As he thanked all the sponsors and donors for the concert, he also paid tribute and well wishes to cancer patients of the Philippine General Hospital, the beneficiaries of this concert for a cause.
Now it was all right to get emotional as he sang his semi-finale song, “Handog,” a piece that seemed to both express thanks and gratitude to the audience, as also to bid them good bye. The whole cast joined him at the middle of the song on stage, this time up to the last party song, “Happy Together”.
It was a night to remember: the gift of songs and the music shared, the friendship and bonding of all the artists, witnessed, seen and felt by the audience. After all, relationships and friendships are what life is all about. And that was what the real message of the concert.
Darius, keep the music playing!