Sedaka back at the Big Dome for 3rd time
SOUNDS FAMILIAR - Baby A. Gil (The Philippine Star) - April 28, 2008 - 12:00am

The Philippines was the scene of one of Neil Sedaka’s early triumphs overseas. His recordings, mostly uptempo ballads geared towards the teenaged market were big hits in this country. He became an even bigger star after he came here to perform at the Araneta Coliseum. The Filipinos were glad to discover that he was as charming in person as his infectious songs and showed their affection by filling up the Big Dome during his shows.

How apt then that Sedaka has included Manila in the itinerary of his current and very important tour. He is set to perform once more at the Araneta Coliseum on May 17. The show celebrates Sedaka’s 50th year as a pop star. He had his first hit as a singer with The Diary in 1958.

Filipinos are suckers for nostalgia and they want hits, lots of them in the shows they watch. So you can bet that his fans will have a great time watching Sedaka perform his hits live. And he has many. Truth to tell Sedaka is one of the greatest pop composers of all time. That is why he was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1983. That is why he is in the Hit Parade Hall of Fame.

The Diary, I Go Ape Oh Carol, Stairway to Heaven, You Mean Everything to Me, Calendar Girl, Little Devil, Happy Birthday Sweet Sixteen, Breaking Up is Hard to Do, Next Door to an Angel, Laughter in the Rain, Solitaire, That’s When the Music Takes Me, Stepping Out, The Hungry Years, Bad Blood and Should’ve Never Let You Go are the most popular among those he recorded himself.

He also wrote for other artists at times provided them with career making breakthroughs. Stupid Cupid and Where the Boys Are for Connie Francis; When Love Comes Knocking on Your Door for The Monkees; Working on a Groovy Thing for the Fifth Dimension;  Love Will Keep Us Together and Angel Face for Captain and Tennile.

His songs have endured and are now considered standards. You find them in films like Princess Diaries, (Stupid Cupid) Click, (Love Will Keep Us Together), I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry (Calendar Girl). American Idol runner-up Clay Aiken made his mark with Solitaire. Sedaka himself fueled his comeback bid in 1975 with a reworking of his own Breaking Up is Hard to Do from 1962. He took out the mashed potato beat of the original and turned the song into a sexy, bluesy ballad.

Bluesy and sexy with lots of piano, is how I like Sedaka best. That is why Circulate is my favorite among all his albums. It has standards like Angel Eyes and I Found My World in You and shows off Sedaka’s skills as an interpreter. Unfortunately, I haven’t heard it in a long time because it does not seem to have been reissued on CDs.

I do not think those songs will also be among those he will do at the Big Dome this time around. The show is billed as Greatest Hits Live in Manila. No way I will be disappointed though. Neil Sedaka’s was the very first concert I ever saw and I am already excited at this opportunity to be able to revisit a joyable experience.

Tickets are priced at P5,250 (VIP); P4,725 (Patron); P3,675 (Lower Box); P2,625 (Upper Box A); P1,325 (Upper Box B); and P525 (General Admission). For details, call Ticketnet at 911-5555 or Concertus at 813-2617.

P.S. for the curious. Although she inspired The Diary and had big hits with Stupid Cupid and Where the Boys Are, Connie Francis and Sedaka were never an item. They were simply friends. Connie was then in love with another new boy singer named Bobby Darin while Sedaka’s girlfriend was a girl named Carole. It was for her that he wrote Oh Carol. I do not know if she ever wrote something titled Oh Neil but she also made a great career for herself as a singer and songwriter. Her name is Carole King.

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