(Watch out for more pics and articles on the other artists from the Concert Ng Bayan on this blog)
Written and photographed
By Jude Bautista
Mawalanggalang na kay Craig David na international artist at MTV award winner and Grammy nominee. Pero di mapagkakaila na talagang masmagaling lang si Gary Valenciano. The mega event in question is Concert Ng Bayan (National Concert) March 23, 2012 held at the Mall of Asia Concert grounds celebrating the 100-year anniversary of Coca-Cola Bottler’s Phil. establishment here in our country.
It was one of the biggest concerts of the year with artists such as Sarah Geronimo, Ebe Dancel, Rico Blanco, PUPIL, Parokya Ni Edgar, Someday Dream, Gloc 9 with Denise Barbaceña, Callalily, Itchyworms, Sandwich with Jay Durias, Chicosci, Sponge Cola, Wolfgang, 6 Cycle mind with Eunice of Gracenote and Best Urban Group awardee: Q YORK. The whole concert lasted more than 12 hours.
Many technological breakthroughs were achieved with the event. Large screens showed the Tweets and facebook posts of audience members. Interactivity was the keyword for it along with live video streaming of the event. Free Wifi was provided in the venue by PLDT and SMART. The concert was not meant to be a contest of who’s better, far from it. In fact there were quite a few collaborations between the artists: Jay Durias and Sandwich, Gloc9 and Wolfgang, Sponge Cola and Chicosci, Ebe Dancel and Itchyworms etc.
But it was difficult not to compare specifically with Gary Valenciano who took his performance to a level that no one could have anticipated. To the benefit of Big Picture and Coca cola Bottlers Phil Mkt. Activation Group Manager Rogie Delena, they were able to produce a show with a crescendo slowly building up to the climax of the celebration. Sarah Geronimo surprised everyone by dancing impressively along with her famous vocals.
When Gary V went on the energy level immediately shot up. He sang the fast paced hits he was known for like “Di Bale Na lang.” His son Gaby Valenciano may have even improved on the dancing talent. In the middle of the stage Gary stood back gave Gabby some space and suddenly he was in the air doing an incredibly high somersault.
Father and son were in perfect sync executing one spectacular dance move after another. Gary V dusted off the robot move from the 80’s and used it again in that historic night. And it looked as fresh as it did when he first wowed millions of fans nearly 30 years ago.
Gary spoke from the heart preferring NOT to use the script for the show. He admitted that it was his 29th year in showbiz and they put the oldest guy as one of the last performers. Ironic, that the ‘oldest guy’ put on the highest energy performance of the night. As if his fast paced songs and dance moves weren’t enough, he also slowed things down with his soundtracks “Sa Dulo Ng Walang Hanggan” and “Minsan Lang Kita Iibigin.” He also incorporated his faith in his performance by singing “Could You Be Messiah?”
I was able to talk to Connie De Leon of AEDI about Gary’s performance. She reminded me that Gary is practically the same age as Martin Nievera, Sharon Cuneta and Zsa zsa Padilla. It was that batch in the 80s that produced the biggest names in both music and film of today. They are ALL exceptional vocalists. Both Sharon and Zsa zsa are more awarded actresses. But Martin and Gary have a stronger concert and record sales.
It is incredible to think that those immensely talented people came from one batch. ALL of their kids also happen to be coming to their own in music / showbiz: Robin Nievera released “Overwait” and has also produced both his parents’ albums. Zia Quizon (Zsa zsa’s daughter with Dolphy) is applauded by critics for her songwriting and vocals on her self-titled mini CD “Zia”. Her half sister Karylle has proven herself many times over most recently in “Kitchen Musical.” KC Concepcion is the most well known as TV host, endorser and her emotional breakdown in a Boy Abunda interview (post Piolo Pascual). Gabby is the only one however, to perform with his famous dad regularly. Incredulously, Gabby may well be a better dancer.
20 years old AGAIN
Going back to Gary’s performance at the Concert Ng Bayan, he surprised everyone with a fresh song list. The original hits were expected but when he sang a medley of current dance/party hits like the Black Eyed Peas “The Time”, David Guetta and Usher’s “Without You” and LMFAO’s “Party Rock Anthem” the whole venue seemed to implode with excitement. Gary just appeared to sing and dance better than even the original artists. It was as if he was 20 years old again. Most of the people watching him at the Concert Ng Bayan weren’t born when young people like me (in the 80s) were already awestruck with what he could do THEN. And he just got better and better with age. The Coca cola event gave an even younger generation the chance to know and see why Gary V is known as Mr. Pure Energy.
Days later, at the Olivia Newton John concert I was able to talk about the Gary V’s performance with music executives like Myx Channel Mgr Mila Labendia. Myx Channel Head André Alvarez wondered, “What else could he (Gary) possibly do in his next concert to top what he did at the Coke event? That makes me think and excited at the same time really want to go to the concert.” Gary V has his “On Higher Ground” concert series at the Music Museum on April 12, 13, 19, 20, 26, 27, May 9 & 10, 2012. LMFAO will also be in town at the SMART Araneta Coliseum on April 11.
The Concert Ng Bayan was unique in a sense that a big international artist like Craig David followed one of the top tier Filipino performers. And even if it wasn’t a competition you can’t help but compare. After Gary V’s performance, Sarah Geronimo and Rez Toledo of Someday Dream joined him on stage for the Coke anthem and the spectacular fireworks show.
Craig David then went on stage as the lone foreign artist and was the intended ‘climax’ or another high point for the event. David is both a multi awarded British singer and songwriter winning MTV Music awards for (Best UK and R&B act). He’s also a 2-time Billboard award winner for Best R&B New Artist and Dance (New Artist) clip of the year and was even nominated for a Grammy.
Most young teenage audiences may even be more familiar with Craig than with Gary V. And it’s no disrespect or indication of David’s performance itself. But there was a marked dip in energy level comparing with Gary V, the previous act. Gary took the performance and pace to such a high level that audiences needed to sit down and take a break by the time David went on stage. Gary out did himself so much that no one would have anticipated the disparity in energy level and pace. No artist would have been able to sustain what Gary did that night except maybe the late MJ himself. Gary has admitted in the past that Michael Jackson was a huge influence in terms of music and dance.
There’s no question that today Filipino music lovers have the benefit of seeing a lot of foreign artists. Greyson Chance will be at the Smart Araneta on April 22, Lady Gaga is scheduled to open The Arena at MOA on May 21. One of my songwriting heroes Morissey (formerly the lead singer of The Smiths, also from the 80s) will be at the World Trade Center on May 13th.
Along with these foreign artists Pinoy fans knowing the incredible level our local performers should consciously look for events that feature Pinoy talent. For example PULP Summer Slam on April 23 will feature Intolerant, Kamikazee, URBANDUB, Chicosci, Franco and Slim along with foreign artists Arch Enemy, August Burns Red, Blessthefall, Darkest Hour, Periphery, and We Came as Romans.
Another example of Pinoy music you can catch is Spirit of ‘67 at Eastwood mall every Tuesday. Cris Villonco and Audie Gemora are a two of the many talented cast members in “The Sound of Music” at Resort’s World Newport Theater that can be seen until May 27, 2012. Jett Pangan is spellbinding in Repertory Phil.’s “Jekyll & Hyde” until April 22, 2012. We Filipinos have the talent and skill. There are concerts, musicals and events we can find. All we have to do as consumers is make the conscious decision to support Filipino music. Alam naman natin masmagaling si Gary V kay Craig David.