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Dinner shows hit big

Yugel Losorata (The Philippine Star) - February 27, 2017 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines -  Two recent dinner shows were big hits among couples and families primarily for the singing artists featured, the classy ambience, the Big Band sound offered and how music and food went together well.

Gary Valenciano and Markki Stroem delivered the goods fine in separate Valentine shows attached to their names. Their choices of songs bring to the fore their vocal prowess as accompanied by Big Band music, as they both went through the classics Crazy Little Thing Called Love and The Way You Look with almost the same groove and gusto.

The iconic singer-songwriter best known for his moniker Mr. Pure Energy was featured in Love In Motion and did it for two nights at the Grand Ballroom of Shangri-La at The Fort, with live accompaniment from The AMP Band led by the respected Mel Villena. It was the first time in more than a decade that he did a solo Valentine show and the first backed up by a Big Band.

“I love anything that has the horn section and so when my son Paolo brought up the idea, I felt it was time for me to do it. Back in the day, I would listen to discs of Earth Wind and Fire (EWF) and Tower of Power,” shared Gary V who considers the AMP Band as one of the tightest horn sections in the country and puts trust in Paolo’s skill as stage director.

Boy did he do a cool party mood setting medley of EWF hits for the second night’s finale while as a tribute to the late Al Jarreau, he performed Spain on Valentine night.

Still energetic in his early 50s, Gary V also picked tracks that tightly fitted the show’s set-up such as the classic theme to the Spider-Man and Lady’s A Tramp. He could have gone on doing standards and got away with them, but he knew the well-dressed people in the audience were anticipating him to sing his own hits.

He did so, obviously carefully picking the Gary V cuts that landed on the set list, led by Di Bale Na Lang and Di Na Natuto which smoothly melded with the AMP-powered arrangement.

Yet, the most moving part of Love In Motion only needed the man singing while he played keyboards. With the silence hanging on to his every note and him playing piano in the dark, one of the most revered performers in the land performed his latest hit, his version of Sugarfree’s Wag Ka Nang Umiyak, and his classic song Take Me Out of the Dark. The latter he introduced by recalling how he one time couldn’t write during a songwriting session and then heard his wife Angeli say something he needed to hear. The result was a track that to this day gave light and hope to darkened souls.

Gary V did the two-night show for the benefit of typhoon victims and cause-oriented groups, announcing he won’t earn for it. Indeed, love was in motion.

For Markki’s bit of spotlight, he served as a proper complement to the dinner show called Modern Filipino Perfect Pair centered on the delectable five-course set menu by celebrity chef couple Lau and Jackie Laudico.

His set consisted of standards like Fly Me to the Moon and 21st-century hits Ordinary People and Happy. His version of Britney Spears’ Toxic was non-toxic at all and gave new light to the track even true Britney fans should have found alluring.

“In our lives, we always search for the one. But there’s always the selection process and the toxic that goes with it,” said the crooning heartthrob who is also into acting and hosting.

The Perfect Pair dinner show took place at one of the most romantic venues in the metro and the first full-service events venue in the land called Palazzo Verde, located along Daang Reyna, Vista Alabang in Las Piñas. (For more details, visit palazzoverde.com.ph).

Chef Lau surprised guests when he sang Ed McCain’s I’ll Be, even amiably altering its chorus hook line to fit his vocal range. Very few may know that the chef, devoted to his wife for 25 years (or more) now, used to be a band vocalist. He is currently collaborating with members of 6cyclemind for a project act dubbed Chef Loud.

Dinner shows, somewhat expensive yet classy as they appear, may just become bigger as a trend in the coming days because of the relaxing arrangement offered. What can be more delightful than eating good food and listening to music enticing to the ear.

GARY VALENCIANO
Philstar
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