The return of a legend

Danee Samonte - The Philippine Star
The return of a legend

Russell Thompkins & The New Stylistics will hold an Asian tour that kicks off tomorrow, Sept. 7 at The Theater at Solaire Resort & Casino, and ends in Singapore

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines is uniquely the only country in the world where The Stylistics has the most hits. I validate this because I was one of the ’70s DJs at the top music AM station DZBM that made the phenomenon happen. We played all cuts from all its albums released in the ’70s. The Stylistics has 14 Top 20 hits worldwide, that number is doubled in the Philippines.

In fact, when I first discussed the set list for 2014 Philippine tour with Russell Thompkins Jr., he was flabbergasted with the set list I requested which contained songs that the group never sang in concert throughout its close to four decade illustrious career like We Can Make It Happen. 

Being the trooper aiming to please his fans, Russell scheduled a week’s rehearsal to rehearse the Pinoy hits. The set list for the 2014 Philippine tour wasn’t only warmly received but was a huge success and garnered two to three standing ovations at all the sold-out concerts.

A lot of Stylistics fans may not be aware that the group has over 228 releases worldwide consisting of singles, EPs (extended play singles), albums and compilations. It has been nominated and won various awards including being inducted in the vocal group hall of fame in 2004. Founded in 1968, Russell was the original lead singer and founding member until he left the group in 2000. Russell went on hiatus after he left The Stylistics until he got the itch four years later to tour again and assembled his very own group with another Stylistics vocalist Raymond Johnson. The new group was called Russell Thompkins and the New Stylistics and has 12 members including a brass section.

At the beginning of the first concert in 2014 Philippine tour, I was concerned if Russell could sing falsetto the whole night because he is already in his 60s. Singing falsetto or at a high register at an older age is always a challenge because most singers have to adjust and lower the keys. To my relief and amazement, Russell could sing nonstop for over two hours in the original key. What’s more surprising is that he sold out all three concerts in the Philippines on the 2014 tour. From then on, I was a big fan of the group and toured them every year around the Philippines and as far as the US West Coast. The Asian tour this month promises to be another memorable one for Stylistics fans in Asia that kicks off this coming Sept. 7 at The Theater at Solaire Resort & Casino and ends in Singapore. The comprehensive set list for the Solaire show includes all the Stylistics hits you could think off like Stop Look Listen, I’m Stone In Love With You, Betcha By Golly Wow, Rock & Roll Baby, Jealousy, Point Of No Return, Can’t Give You Anything, Break Up To Make Up, You’re As Right As Rain, You’ll Never Get To Heaven, Peek A Boo, You Are Everything, Can’t Help Falling In Love, People Make The World Go Round, It’s Too Late, Let’s Put It All Together, The Miracle, We Can Make It Happen, You Make Me Feel Brand New and many more.

Tickets to the concert are available at TicketWorld online, TicketWorld outlets and the box-office at Solaire Resort & Casino.

Russell Thompkins & The New Stylistics concert is presented by Grand Leisure Corporation, Solaire Resort & Casino and Steve O’Neal Productions in collaboration with Manila Diamond Hotel the official residence, Park & Ride Lawton Terminal, Multi-Modal Terminal, IBC 13, Telenovela Channel, Rice-in-a-Box, Chicharrific, Waffle Time and RJ100.3 FM.

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