Nina makes it through the rain
- Alvin M. Ching () - June 9, 2006 - 12:00am
Last Friday and Saturday night, Metro Manilans were taken by surprise by the sudden downpour. The rains – and the resulting traffic jams – kept a lot of people from making it to the opening night of Very Manilow, Nina’s concert series that paid tribute to the music of Barry Manilow.

Which was too bad, because the show was undeniably one of Nina’s best. The Soul Siren sang her way through nearly two dozen songs from Manilow’s repertoire, including Looks Like We Made It, This One’s For You, Even Now, Ready To Take A Chance Again, Copacabana, Could It Be Magic, Somewhere In The Night, As Sure As I’m Standing Here, Could It Be Magic, Tryin’ To Get The Feeling Again, Can’t Smile Without You, Somewhere Down The Road, Weekend In New England and I Write The Songs, but pulled a few surprises that made braving the rains and traffic worth it.

The problem with doing a show featuring the music of an artist as popular as Manilow is that you can’t perform his songs exactly the way he did them or you run the risk of being called boring. So many people know Manilow’s music. As an artist, he is one of the most prolific, having recorded over 30 albums and logging record sales that have exceeded 65 million worldwide.

Nina knew this, so she set out to do something different. With the help of her musical director Soc Mina, Nina played around with the arrangements on most of the songs.

It was a delight, for instance, to hear Manilow’s familiar ballads performed every which way and given every musical twist imaginable, from reggae to pop/jazz to acoustic. Bandstand Boogie became a cabaret-style number. The opening song, Daybreak, was made to sound like something straight out of James Bond or Mission Impossible. All The Time sounded different as Nina alternated with guest artist Kasper, who rapped some of the lyrics. Can’t Smile Without You didn’t have that toe-tapping beat; instead, it started out with an instrumental portion that segued right into a reggae-flavored beat.

Even the set design was inventive. If you get to watch the show, check out what happens when Nina performs As Sure As I’m Standing Here. Despite the size of the Music Museum stage, it was quite a surprise to see what they did with the set, especially on that particular number. Another number you should watch out for is Could It Be Magic, which was made more haunting by the blue lighting that added a nice touch that fit perfectly with the song.

Nina’s duet with special guest Christian Bautista on Sandra was also a joy to watch, as was Christian’s own spot number, Mandy and the performance of Nina’s brother King, who gave a spirited rendition of Copacabana (At The Copa).

Vocally, however, Nina’s most outstanding moment in the show was Somewhere In The Night. You’ve got to hear it to realize what a truly gifted artist Nina is.

And talk about a fitting ending: with the weather the way it was, Nina couldn’t have chosen a better encore number than I Made It Through The Rain. It was an inspired – if a bit ironic – choice!

Even if you missed the first two shows, there are still other chances to catch Very Manilow at the Music Museum. Other shows will feature Nina with Jed Madela (June 10 and 16), Nyoy Volante (June 17 and 30) and Troy Montero (June 23 and 24).

Very Manilow
is presented by Goldilocks and PLDT, with sponsors Manila Bulletin, Bagaberde, Ponstan 250SF and Caffe Americana. Tickets are available for P1,200, P800 and P500 at Ticketworld outlets and at the Music Museum Ticketron. For details, call 721-6726 or 721-0635.

ALL THE TIME AS SURE AS I AT THE COPA COULD IT BE MAGIC MANILOW MUSIC MUSEUM NINA SMILE WITHOUT YOU SOMEWHERE IN THE NIGHT STANDING HERE VERY MANILOW
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