Let’s hear it again from Dionne

SOUNDS FAMILIAR - Baby A. Gil - The Philippine Star

One of my most unforgettable concert experiences was watching Dionne Warwick at the old Folk Arts Theater way back in the late ’70s. It was that part of the show when she launched into her medley of hits by Bart Bacharach. And, boy, it was really looooong with so many songs. No wonder, she is tied in third place with Madonna as the most charted female vocalists of all time, behind only Aretha Franklin and Taylor Swift. A total of 56 of Warwick’s single releases made it to the Billboard Hot 100 list.  

Here are some of those titles by Bacharach and otherwise.  Don’t Make Me Over, Anyone Who Had A Heart, Walk On By, Reach Out For Me, Message To Michael, Trains And Boats And Planes, I Say A Little Prayer, the Theme From The Valley Of The Dolls, Do You Know The Way To San Jose, Close To You, Promises Promises, This Girls In Love With You, The April Fools, I’ll Never Fall In Love Again, Make It Easy On Yourself, Déjà vu, Then Came You with the Spinners, I’ll Never Love This Way Again, Heartbreaker with Barry Gibb, How Many Times Can We Say Goodbye with Luther Vandross, Take The Short Way Home, Friends In Love with Johnny Mathis, That’s What Friends Are For with Friends, Reservations For Two with Kashif, Love Power with Jeffrey Osbourne.

To this day, whenever I see spectacular concerts filled with light and sound gimmickry with acrobatic dancers, eye-popping costumes and mostly never heard of songs, I think of that Warwick show. I am still amazed about how Dionne dressed in a simple but elegant white gown, held the sold-out FAT audience enthralled with just her magnificent vocals and those songs.

I do not know if Dionne still does that hit medley in her shows these days. I hope she still does. It was quite a treat, not to mention the fact that it is also a most effective and subtle way of telling people, hey, I did all these. Besides, I do not know anybody who would not want to listen to those classics live and performed by the original artist at that. We will know the answer to the question of how Dionne presents her hits to audiences nowadays soon enough. This is because she will be back again for a series of shows in the Philippines later this month.

The Dionne Warwick Philippine Tour 2013 concert series begins on July 20 with a dinner show at the Manila Hotel Tent for the benefit of the Missionaries of Mary, Mother of the Poor a charitable organization founded by Fr. Fernando Suarez.  This will be followed by the SMX Convention Center in Davao City on July 21; the Smart Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City on July 23 and the University of Baguio in Baguio City on July 25.

Joining Dionne in the Manila and Davao shows is the R&B group Tavares. Another iconic sound from the ’70s, Tavares was responsible for the big hits, Heaven Must Be Missing An Angel, More Than A Woman, She’s Gone, Hardcore Poetry, It Only Takes A Minute, A Penny For Your Thought, Check It Out and others. The group is made up of the real Tavares brothers Ralph, Tiny, Chubby, Butch and Pooch.

And speaking of Burt Bacharach, the legendary composer is celebrating his 80th birthday this year with the release of a very special album. This is Anyone Who Had A Heart: The Art of the Songwriter, a 40 track, two-CD collection featuring various artists performing the timeless Bacharach songs. Dionne’s contribution is, of course, the title cut and one of her biggest hits, Anyone Who Had A Heart. Coincidentally, Dionne also marked her 50th anniversary as a music artist with Now, an album of songs by, who else but Burt Bacharach. It includes a gorgeous goosebump-inducing version of It Was Almost Like A Song that was originally recorded by Ronnie Milsap.

Some of the other big names joining the Bacharach birthday bash are: I Say A Little Prayer by Aretha Franklin; Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head by B.J. Thomas; The Look Of Love by Sergio Mendez & Brasil ’66; Wishin’ And Hopin’ by Brenda Lee, Any Day Now by Elvis Presley; What’s New Pussycat by Tom Jones; Alfie by Barbra Streisand; This Guy’s In Love With You by Herb Alpert; One Less Bell To Answer by The Fifth Dimension; You’ll Never Get To Heaven If You Break My Heart by The Stylistics; Wives And Lovers by Jack Jones; and That’s What Friends Are For by Kevin Eubanks.











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