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Love rocks Arnel Pineda

The pre-Valentine show of Arnel Pineda at the Waterfront Cebu City Hotel during the weekend somehow helped me understand why the crowd loves him... so much!

He loves what he is doing and he loves to be loved by the people he loves to entertain.

Arnel knows how to toe the line. He understands how some rockers stick to “conventional rockism”. He sings the songs rockers crave. These are songs that suit his voice type — and vocal range – well: the raspy thingy. Rough but tough. Grating but beating. Aside from the fact that he has already come this far to prove he isn’t just the ordinary YouTube recruit, people adore him for responding well to the demands of the journey itself.

Now he swims in a sea of adulation for every time he owns the stage.

He is too honest to live up the dream of making it big by zeroing in on work: that to replace Steve Perry is the job, but to never allow the Perry shadow to overcast just because they sound the same; and to yield – but not succumbing — to the judgment of hardcore Journey fans who first served a platter of slurs against his race and color.

He has learned much, or rather too much, from being a street urchin as young as 12 to being an urban nomad hopping from one entertainment joint to another; surviving on the forming and dissolving of bands.

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His recent concert here in the city serves as an affirmation that Arnel is indeed “the voice.” For one, I have come to terms with my own biases after witnessing how he has won the admiration of this community’s “hard to please” lot after giving his heart out to Europe’s “Alone” and how he has personified kinetic energy through Bryan Adam’s “Summer of 69”.

After losing his voice twice – to drug dependence and alcoholism in 1995, and to exhaustion and TMJ dysfunction (temporomandibular joint or the part where the lower jaw links with the temporal bone of the head, which allows you to open your mouth, talk and chew food), he decided to move back in Manila in 2006 from a 15-year singing stint in Hong Kong. He after all had this little dream of making it big in the Philippines, just “alone” in the Philippines, he said.

It would be redundant now to discuss how the Internet…erm, World Wide Web paved the way for that dream to take tangible form.

Let me just mention that Rachelle Ann Go was with him in the “Love Rocks Arnel Pineda!” concert, but because I really haven’t much to say about her performance, let me just skip that part to save my throat from being slit by the fanatics. Peace!

I would be very honest to say that I would rather listen to more of Arnel’s band Ammo over Rachelle. “Honestly” is one song on her repertoire last Friday that makes me regret I’ve first heard it from “Harem Scarem”. I could have been fair with my assessment, at least!

Suffice it to say that songs, like dresses to bods: “may binabagayang boses.” Such makes Arnel Pineda rock. He is fit for the journey.

So, after Friday’s banging like a doghead-perched-on-spring atop a dashboard, watch out for the screening sometime this year of “Don’t Stop Believin’: Everyman’s Journey.” A film by Ramona Diaz of CineDiaz & Defining Entertainment, it stars the journeymen themselves — Neal Schon, Jonathan Cain, Ross Valory, Deen Castro and (introducing) Arnel Pineda.

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