Monday, August 27, 2012

Love Rocks Manila: Listening to Old Love Songs (Feb. 11, 2011)

February 11, 2011

Love Rocks is a nostalgic triple concert of artists who had their prime back in the 70s and 80s.  I had never before watched a concert of this sort before.  The triple combination for this show included familiar names like Stephen BishopYvonne Elliman and Dan Hill.  I was particularly excited to see Dan Hill.  However, we did not buy tickets for this until the concert night itself since we were not sure if we would make it.  

We did, and just bought ourselves General Admission tickets.  It was not a full house up in the cheap seats. I would not say I was surprised.  The most expensive patron area though was surprisingly full.  The show began a little after 830pm.  The front act was the J Michael Band.  I'm sorry but J Michael seemed lackluster as an emcee, and I did not recognize any of the songs he sang.  Certainly not the high-energy performer touted in the press release.  A couple of Filipina back-up singers did a respectable version of "Chain of Fools."  Big-haired, soul singer WT Greer had a little more luck engaging the audience with his own stylized versions of "Hello" and "All I Ask of You".

People were clearly waiting for the stars, and cheered when Yvonne Elliman was introduced.  Ms. Elliman was quite friendly and very laidback.  We cannot hear her spiels very well from where we sat.  Unfortunately, I did not recognize her first four songs.  Of course, the audience woke up when she began to sing the song that put her on the music map "I Don't Know How to Love Him" (VIDEO).  Even this hit a snag, when Ms. Elliman found the key to high, and asked the band to lower the key a half-step in mid-song!  It was a very classy excuse and transition, though still felt a bit awkward and unprecedented for me as a concert goer.  She ended her set with her Number One disco hit "If I Can't Have You" (VIDEO).  Nice, but did not really get the audience on their feet.

Next up was Stephen Bishop.  Mr. Bishop was more engaging with the audience.  He should, this is already in sixth time holding a concert in Manila.  He spoke very clearly in his spiels, including his funny anecdote about eating balut in the dark.  His set was all-hit and great to listen to.  His first song was "On and On," then "Something New in My Life" (VIDEO)"Separate Lives," "Save It for a Rainy Day." Of course, his final song for his set was his signature hit "It Might Be You" (VIDEO).

The singer I was waiting for came on last, and it was already very late.  Dan Hill came on looking much older and friendlier than his old photos. He tended to slur some of his spiels and did not understand much of it.  He suddenly launched into "Can't We Try" as his first song.  He sadly spoke about the mental illness of his mother as he introduced "Never Thought (That I Could Love)" (VIDEO).  He sang a new duet with his back-up singer who caused quite a ruckus when the big screen revealed that her t-back underwear visible from her low-backless gown.  On purpose or not, I would not know.  He also sang a good new song about his father, again sad and dramatic.  His next song was "Why Do We Always Hurt the Ones We Love"and finally his signature hit "Sometimes When We Touch" (unexpectedly sang as a duet)(VIDEO).

All the featured artists came back out the stage to sing Dobie Gray's (or Uncle Kracker's, depending on your generation) "Drift Away."  Overall, the concert was much slower and sedate compared to concerts with the artists of today, as expected. It reached a late hour so everyone was very tired when Dan Hill came on.  They could have done away with all those front acts I think and it would have been a more compact show.  Instead of J Michael and WT Greer, they could have gotten Benny Mardones or Jamie Jamison who also do Love Rocks shows, for more familiar material.  Anyway, next time maybe.

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