When music royalty face off
DIRECT LINE - Boy Abunda () - July 2, 2003 - 12:00am
Even the Big Dome looked small. Everything looks small beside Martin Nievera and Regine Velasquez, two musical giants who will perform for the last time their 2003 World Concert Tour, The Repeat at the Araneta Coliseum on July 5.

President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo was present in one of the performances. And so was every Martin and Regine fan who savored every word, every note, every line in every song they sang in the show. Every breath they took was wildly applauded.

Both singers sing straight from the heart, and how they love to sing! I think this Martin and Regine’s single most important quality. They love music. They’ll kill for a good song. They’ll go to jail for contempt of a bad song.

One of the most exciting songs in this concert is their duet of You Are My Song. Martin and Louie Ocampo wrote this for Regine as theme song for her movie Wanted: Perfect Mother. This became a Regine Velasquez song and still is. But Martin also recorded this for his album Journey. Who sings the better version of the song?

I cringed thinking about this question until I went to see this concert, which, by God’s grace, opened with a duet of You Are My Song. I’m not really sure but when Martin and Regine were singing it, I thought I heard a hundred angels doing back-up vocals.

Gerard Salonga did a superb job as musical director despite the hellish pressure of being able to come up with a repertoire that would do justice to the two music royalties whose hit songs can fill up a week-long marathon concert. And you have the loyal followers of both singers to please. This two must have been tough. Gerard did brilliant arrangements of a James Ingram medley; a new version of Regine’s Kailangan Ko’y Ikaw especially arranged for Martin, in response to Regine’s version of Ikaw Ang Lahat Sa Akin (a Martin classic). There were pop cover versions of hits by Daniel Bedingfield and Vanessa Carlton, a medley of Josh Groban hits which ended in the immortal The Prayer, sang to perfection by Martin and Regine. But what most people were waiting for was the much-touted Broadway medley which the two referred to as the night’s most challenging piece.

There were no ala-Matrix gimmicks. Nobody disappeared ala Michael Jackson. David Copperfield was nowhere in sight. No helicopter landed on the Araneta stage – only the brilliant voices of Martin and Regine wove magic straight into the hearts and souls of all the people who trooped to the Coliseum.

It may have been unintentional but Martin and Regine dueted vocally and found their match in each other like Sampras and Agassi in their heyday or the formidable Williams sisters today.

When you watch Martin and Regine onstage, you realize how blessed we are with their talents, with their songs that have now become parts of our own storied lives.

Bravo, Martin and Regine!

Martin and Regine: The 2003 World Concert Tour THE REPEAT
is a production of Maxi-Media International and is presented by ABS-CBN, Samsung and Smart, in cooperation with Mossimo, Beam Toothpaste, KFC Kapag Fried Chicken and Farlin Baby Care. It is also brought to you by The Philippine STAR, Tokyo, Tokyo, Makati Shangri-La, Alberto Shoes and Manila Bulletin.
Elbow Room party
Elbow Room, the newest and hippest billiard-bar-resto at the Podium, recently hosted a cocktail party for the Miss Philippines candidates . ABS-CBN and Carousel Productions, organizers of the beauty pageant, together with Elbow Room’s Aldwin Ku (president) and Sunny Ku (VP for Marketing) presented the lovely candidates.

The Miss Philippines candidates enjoyed the delectable food and exciting drinks as they played billiards with Elbow Room patrons in a mini-billiard tournament sponsored by Chivas Regal, Skyy Vodka and Cruzan Rum.

Joining the Miss Philippines candidates at the party were PDI’s columnist Raul Teehankee, Peachy Veneracion, Carousel Productions EVP Lorraine Schuck, Joey Pineda, Ryan Besido of Chivas Regal, Carlo Ocampo of Joey 92.3, Rod Nepomuceno of MTV Asia, Anthony Lim, Nelson Aguinaldo, Jerry Lim of Elbow Room, Joe Guerrero of Avana Phils, Pam Pamintuan, Jun Regalado and Norman Tioco of Masterminds Asia.

Elbow Room is a great party place. If you want to party, make a reservation now at Elbow Room, tel. nos. 635-2881 or 634-1404. It is open from 11 to 2 a.m.

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