As current as she is classic
- Nicole Valdez () - November 17, 2002 - 12:00am
In the local concert scene, it is no mean feat for any artist to do a concert of only his or her songs. Maybe so for a comebacking performer or a semi-retired singer, but for someone at the peak of her popularity, the formula is always a little Top 40, some classic covers, and the usual dose of her own hits.

But then again, Regine Velasquez has been known to take risks and to ditch formula. Her concert series at Onstage Greenbelt attests to this. All she needed to do was look back at her many hit songs and sing those that are still on top of the day’s charts. Result: Asia’s Songbird at her very best.

Regine herself admitted during the show that it was difficult to select which songs to sing from dozens of possibilities. So she instead followed with her heart and chose songs that have special meaning for her. She aptly opened the show with a rousing ethnic take on the very first song that legitimized her as a recording star – Narito Ako (on old ’70s ditty by Maricris Bermont which became Regine’s anthem early in her career).

That Saturday (her opening weekend), Regine’s awesome voice was in perfect form – soft and melancholic in songs like Sana Maulit Muli and Linlangin Mo, playful and vivacious in Perris Wheel and Follow the Sun, endearing in her movie themes You Are My Song and Kailangan Ko’y Ikaw and grand in her show stoppers On the Wings of Love and What Kind of Fool?"

Most of the songs, including her duet with guest Gabby Eigenmann were given a fresh, often surprising treatment by her ever-imaginative musical director, Raul Mitra. Based on the audiences’s screams and applause at the intro, highlight and end of most songs, we were convinced they got what they came for that evening and more – the signature high notes sang perfectly in the right moments, the self-effacing humor and charming demeanor, and her heart – which she displayed for all to see throughout the evening. What was evident is that this show, unlike many others she has done in the past, is Regine’s from start to finish. When she sang Love Me Again, her first recorded song (which was barely noticed when it was first released) she dedicated it to her parents whom she thanked for "struggling with me from the very start".

Before she said goodnight, Regine said that "this show is a tribute to the many beautiful songs I’ve been privileged to record." Regine is not the country’s premiere singing star for nothing. And this show more than ever showed us why.

She was not an overnight sensation. She was not a one-hit wonder. She is who and what she is, because she deserves it. Having seen her rise from an amateur singing champ to a pop diva, one can surmise she had it all – grit, ambition, determination, luck generosity, humility and talent – genuine talent. Everything else fell into place.

Songbird Sings
runs at Onstage Greenbelt through all weekends of November and December.

FOLLOW THE SUN GABBY EIGENMANN KAILANGAN KO LINLANGIN MO LOVE ME AGAIN MARICRIS BERMONT NARITO AKO NOVEMBER AND DECEMBER ON THE WINGS OF LOVE ONSTAGE GREENBELT SONGS
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