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Tuesday, June 26, 2012

A Celebration of World Class Artistry -- the Icons at the Mall of Asia Arena (The Grand Launch of MOA Arena)


Since I started hearing about this event, I just know that Icons will make history!  I remembered Ryan Cayabyab during the Philpop Music Festival press launch when he himself performed the memorable winning songs of Metropop.  The audience were in goosebumps and nostalgia listening and singing with him.  So I thought, what more can we expect if OPM greats join forces and sing the songs dear to every Filipino's heart? 

The Mall of Asia Arena is a celebration of the achievements and glory of the “World Class Filipino”, who never gives up in his dreams and the achievement of excellence. With its 20,000 full seating capacity, Corporate Suites, VIP-level services and amenities, and a vast offering of food and merchandise, the MoA Arena is posed to become the country’s premier entertainment venue.

“We are very happy to be here at this landmark occasion as the MoA arena is a testament to the Filipino people and its spirit – resilient and persevering in the pursuit of excellence. Through the MoA Arena, we hope to give Filipinos a taste of world class entertainment in a truly innovative and luxurious setting,” said Mr. Hans T. Sy, President for SM Prime Holdings, who was accompanied by his family at the ribbon cutting.

Gracing the red carpet at this once-in-a-lifetime concert are some of the biggest names in the Philippine music industry from various generations including Lea Salonga, Gary Valenciano, Martin Nievera, Jose Mari Chan, Ogie Alcasid, Regine Velasquez, Basil Valdez, Freddie Aguilar, Dulce, Verni Varga, Rachel Alejandro, Christian Bautista, Erik Santos, Juris, Jed Madela, Piolo Pascual, Bamboo, Arnel Pineda, and the singing group, The Company. Host Jim Paredes and Pops Fernandez as well as comic TV personalities Pokwang, Jose Manalo, and Wally Bayola were also present at the grand launch.  With Johnny Manahan as Director, Ryan Cayabyab or Mr. C as how industry people call him, provided musical direction and conducted the newly set ABS-CBN Philharmonic Orchestra.

Right at the start, when Mr. C. and the orchestra started playing the award-winning song "Kay Ganda ng Musika", I already got excited and hurried to my seat.  The orchestra just made this musical event truly special, and with the master Mr. C at the helm, we really couldn't ask for more.  It was a musical scoring right from heaven! :)  Pops Fernandez and Jim Paredes were perfect to host the event, not only because they're good at it, but they know OPM by heart.  It was a ride to memory lane with them.  :)

Pops Fernandez and Jim Paredes

My favorites Christian Bautista, The Company and Jose Mari Chan were perfectly put together (with their music belonging to the same genre) and sang our well loved songs.  It was calming, it was relaxing, it was cool to listen to, it was music to my ears, that's literally and figuratively speaking!  :) 

Asiansation Christian Bautista

Jose Mari Chan

And then Jim and Pops presented Dulce, Verni Varga and Rachel Alejandro (who took the place of Zsazsa Padilla for the reason you already know) and the rest as they say is history.  They performed a medley of Louie Ocampo classics, one by one at first, and then trio later on.  And we were blown away!  Dulce's voice is so powerful that it can pull your soul and Verni Varga's ability to control her tones made her performance very soothing yet emotional.  Rachel was not left behind by giving her best sentimental performance.  And when they sang together, it was spectacular.  I could say, it's the best of the evening's performances.

Rachel Alejandro, Verni Vaerga and Dulce

Freddie Aguilar is magical!  The moment he played the strings of his monumental song "Anak", I could say everyone melted.

Rock singer Bamboo also gave a very spectacular performance with his signature song Pinoy Ako!  He is just one awesome performer, from sound to movement, he really stands like a God on stage.   This is the performance that can create a cult following! 

Another wonderful performance of the night is the medley of Ogie Alcasid songs.  Although a lot didn't find the visuals appealing (scenes from ABS-CBN teleseryes) to the eyes, the performance of Richard Poon, Juris, Jed Madela and Piolo Pascual were surprisingly good!  I love Juris' soothing voice but her performance revealed that she can belt in a very classy way.  I was never a fan of Piolo Pascual as a singer but he was the best in that segment, he just shone the brightest!  Aside from the fact that Ogie's songs are well loved by the Filipino audience, the four just blended really well.  I was amazed, I was in awe.

Piolo Pascual

Juris and Piolo Pascual

And then music royalties Ogie Alcasid and Regine Velasquez took over.  They sang another string of Ogie's hits.  It was another powerful performance although for me, "Hanggang Ngayon" should have been their last song as that song really demonstrates their vocal prowess, control and range.

At first, I was not amused why Pokwang, Wally and Jose were part of the show.  But after watching them, I became a fan!  They were so hilarious that my seatmates and me can't help but laugh loud from start to finish of their segment.  Pokwang's surprise Jessica Sanchez and Dionisia skit, Wally's impersonation of Gary V and Jose's version of Martin Nievera brought the house down!

And then Basil Valdez, Martin Nievera and Erik Santos did a medley of songs from OPM great song writers.  And we were astonished by Basil's golden voice and Martin's powerful performance.  Erik did well, in fact the songs he sang showed his range, but I just felt he's not yet in the league of Basil and Martin.  We noticed the difference of Basil's and Martin's voice, they're magnanimous from the lowest to highest notes.

Concert King Martin Nievera

Another most awaited part of the concert is the duet of Lea Salonga and Arnel Pineda.  And again, the audience were brought to memory lane as they sang the hit OPM songs of the 80s.

Broadway Star Lea Salonga

Gary V didn't perform live but he sang in a video the song especially made for the Mall of Asia Arena.  After SM Prime Holdings President Hans T. Sy delivered a very important message, the Icons went back to the stage and sang in glorious harmony the song "Impossible Dream" which is the most memorable song for SM Prime Holdings Chairman Mr. Henry Sy.

SM Prime Holdings President Hans T. Sy

Although it's not OPM, the message is very relevant to the affair and the collaboration of our OPM Icons is a history unfolding in front of our eyes.  The performance was very nostalgic.  And then they sang "Kay Ganda ng Musika" and I suddenly remembered being proud as a Filipino. 

Mr. Pure Energy Gary V

Bamboo, Richard Poon, Rachel Alejandro, Erik Santos and Jim Paredes

Arnel Pineda, Christian Bautista, Jose Mari Chan and Verni Varga

Pops Fernandez, Lea Salonga, Piolo Pascual and Juris

I love OPM and I hope there will be more of this kind... a great show on a grand stage.  Indeed, Icons at the Mall of Asia Arena is the perfect event to launch the Mall of Asia Arena.  When you combine World Class Venue and World Class Filipino Performers, there could be one result -- A Celebration of World Class Artistry!  And this exactly what took place during Icons at the Mall of Asia Arena.  And this Changes the Game and Elevates Philippine Entertainment!  Mabuhay ang OPM! :)

And this has been a life's mix TaDified!

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