Regine Is 'flying' Colors
() - April 11, 2000 - 12:00am

There's a figure of speech in Pilipino that describes a decidedly daring or risky action: tumulay sa alambre (roughly translated, to balance oneself on a wire), derived from those heart-thumping high-wire acts of circus performers.

ent2In her 30th birthday and first concert for the millennium, R2K, Regine Velasquez did not exactly walk on wires, but one of her numbers approximated that Pilipino figure of speech: while performing the Mariah Carey hit Butterfly, Regine was hoisted -- literally -- high above the plexiglass stage by two wires strategically connected to her back, which slowly transported her from the back to the front of the stage as the audience gasped in astonishment (and fear no doubt) that she just might suddenly fall off. As Regine crooned, the skirt panels of her bright yellow Rajo Laurel gown billowed and flapped, making her appear like a butterfly (if not a fairy) in the wind. Wow!

So it is not an understatement to say that Regine literally risked life and limb for this two-and-a-half-hour concert, which (even without that one spectacular number) from start to finish reflected Regine's (and her team's) meticulous preparations. Nothing, it seemed, was left to chance, and the effort showed. The result: a fully loaded electrifying concert (Regine sang no less than two dozen songs including her Tagalog hits, Top 40 smashes and '70s classics) which gave the audience much, much more than their money's worth.

R2K showcased Regine's vocal pyrotechnics to the hilt, whether she sang solo or with guest performers who could hold their own with Regine without upstaging her. This set-up proved that unlike other concert "artists" who "require" guests to act as concert "fillers" to compensate for the main star's "deficiencies," Regine is blessed with enough talent to depend on. Her concert guests thus looked as if they were simply there to have fun with Regine -- which they did in large measure by the way -- from the wacky Ogie Alcasid and Janno Gibbs who sang inspirational songs with Regine before bringing the house down with their riotous spiel and take on Tom Jones' Sex Bomb; Gabby Eigenmann and KC Montero with their rap numbers; and the four remarkable gay performers/impersonators who sang McArthur's Park with Regine while dressed in gowns like those -- as the giant TV screens showed -- the songbird had worn in past concerts.

Spiels were brief but engagingly funny, one number segued seamlessly into another, and the Hotlegs went into overdrive with their funky numbers. What was also touching about this concert was that-- without proselytizing or "sermonizing"-- it celebrated the major reasons behind Regine's 15-year-long showbiz success: her faith in the Lord (before singing inspirational songs with Ogie and Janno, Regine said a heart-felt, "Thank You so much God for the gift You've given me. I sing this for You"); her strong family ties (her duet of Dance With Me with her mom was one of the show's most applauded numbers; sister Cacai amazed everyone with a ballet number); and Regine's own boundless energy and creativity (for those who still don't know, she conceptualized and directed the concert herself).

The only thing one didn't appreciate about R2K on its second night was that it started an hour late. But not to worry -- the wait gave this viewer ample time for celebrity watching. Mikee Cojuangco, Gary and Angeli Valenciano, Kris Aquino, Bing Loyzaga, Joanne Quintas and husband Domini Primero, Marvin Agustin, Viva boss Vic del Rosario and Aga Muhlach were some of those I spotted lending Regine their morale support. And speaking of Aga, the Big Dome positively reverberated up to its newly refurbished rafters when fans went kilig and berserk when he joined Regine onstage. Whether this was scripted or not was immaterial; the fans obviously lapped it up.

And lastly: It was definitely a stroke of genius choosing Jaya for a climactic duet with Regine. Who better to provide Regine with a musical tit for tat -- decibel for decibel, lung power for power -- than the Queen of Soul? Besides Jaya's solo jazzed-up rendition of You've Got a Friend, listening to their Habang May Buhay duet was exhilirating down to the last note.

R2K was defintely A-okay. Do I hear a repeat in the works?

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