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Martin, Lani mark brand-new day in the concert scene
After their New Day concert at The Theatre at Solaire, Martin Nievera and Lani Misalucha hope for better days ahead for the entertainment industry.
STAR/ File

Martin, Lani mark brand-new day in the concert scene

Leah C. Salterio (The Philippine Star) - June 9, 2021 - 12:00am

Everything important and essential in a concert was covered in Martin Nievera and Lani Misalucha’s New Day — major venue, musicians, back-up singers, guest artists, stage director, even sponsors. The works. Only, the seats were veritably empty.

Martin pointed out it has been almost two years now since The Theatre at Solaire was used again as a venue for a concert performance. Yet, he also insisted they are now used to following all the protocols wherever they are. In fact, the concert was recorded with COVID-19 protocols.

“This is the first time in two years we are not in boxer shorts,” Martin smilingly shared. “When somebody invites you to perform virtually, you cannot say no. Because you’re just at home in your boxer shorts and you can easily record.”

Martin, however, was handsomely garbed in Francis Libiran suits this time onstage at Solaire for New Day, where Lani also donned elegant gowns.

Aptly opened by the two artists with the upbeat A Brand New Day, the show had Louie Ocampo as musical director, joined by session musicians and back-up singers onstage. Martin and Lani immediately segued to I Love You More Today Than Yesterday and Tomorrow, before addressing their virtual audience.

“We’re back here,” Martin said. “We’re here to spend a brand-new day today. Somehow, someway, we were able to bring everybody back, the production, the musicians, to celebrate a new day together. We’ve been through this pandemic together. We will celebrate better days together.

“Let it also be written in history, this is our very first concert, after all the lockdowns and the acronyms, it was you and me, Lani, together. It’s so good to see a jampacked audience. Whatever!”

For her part, Lani also welcomed everyone to the New Day concert. “We’re thrilled to be able to sing for you once again here at Solaire.”

The last time Martin and Lani shared the stage was back in 2019, when they did a concert tour in the Middle East — Dubai, Bahrain, Abu Dhabi — for the Alliance of Overseas Filipino Workers.

“Funny how the minus one became the biggest star of the pandemic,” Martin said. “We can’t wait to have you real in Solaire one day soon.”

The Concert King crooned his best-loved OPM (Original Pilipino Music) ballads, written by Louie Ocampo, like Ikaw Lang ang Mamahalin, Kahit Isang Saglit and Ikaw.

Lani, meanwhile, rendered her popular tunes, first was Tila, followed by an intense number for her biggest hit, Bukas Na Lang Kita Mamahalin, that should be a must in her every concert repertoire and one of her most requested songs. She also paid tribute to the late Claire de la Fuente by singing the latter’s hit, Sayang.

Martin and Lani playfully carried out songs they can no longer do in this new normal, like Kiss, Close To You, Embraceable You and even O, Lumapit Ka or Yakap sa Dilim.

Martin and Louie wrote Give the World A Chance many years ago, but somehow, the song found its way to the repertoire of the New Day concert, where Martin and Lani were joined by new talents Marvin Aritrangco, Sharon Tanyag, Razmin Diaz and Temi.

And no Martin concert will be complete without his Broadway medley which he dramatically shared with Lani — Memories, Music of the Night, All I Ask of You, This Is the Moment, I Dreamed a Dream and Somewhere. Of course, he also did a medley of his hits — On the Right Track, Please Don’t Throw My Love Away, Pain, Be My Lady, Say That You Love Me and You Are My Song.

Performing as special guests in New Day were The Hitmakers — Rey Valera, Marco Sison and Nonoy Zuñiga — now without Rico J. Puno, who passed away in 2018. In fact, Martin teased the group he wants to apply as the new member, replacing Rico. He was given a chance to do that for that night, though.

All qualifications aside, Martin gamely joined the trio for a stirring medley of Nonoy’s I’ll Never Say Goodbye, Marco’s Make Believe, Rey’s Kung Kailangan Mo Ako and Martin pinch-hitting for Rico J’s Together Forever.

Expectedly, the Hitmakers brought the audience down memory lane with their respective hits — Marco with Si Aida o Si Lorna o Si Fe and My Love Will See You Through, Rey with Kahit Maputi Na ang Buhok Ko and Kumusta Ka, Nonoy with Doon Lang and Kumusta Ka.

For the finale in New Day, Martin encouraged all those watching them to hold hands. “I promise you, it will again be a wonderful world,” he assured. Martin and Lani closed the concert with If We Hold On Together and What A Wonderful World, with a powerful encore of Umagang Kay Ganda.

New Day was produced by Anna Puno’s Starmedia Entertainment. Stage director was Paolo Valenciano. The band, the “real stars” of the night, were Roy Mercado on drums, Bobby Taylo on bass, Ardie de Guzman on guitar, Marvin Querido on second keyboards. Back-up singers were Sui Medina, May Ann Casal-Soriano and Brenan Espartinez.

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