Martin, Lani and the pandemic concert experience
Martin Nievera and Lani Misalucha headline New Day, the first live concert in the country.
STAR/ File

Martin, Lani and the pandemic concert experience

SOUNDS FAMILIAR - Baby A. Gil (The Philippine Star) - June 14, 2021 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The New Day concert was held at 11 a.m. US time and 8 p.m. Philippine time last June 6 at The Theatre at the Solaire Hotel and Casino.

It was streamed worldwide or wherever viewers could access KTX or iWantTFC or VEWD, plus other platforms or whatever those are called. Watching was on laptops, Android devices and Smart TVs.

I still cannot make head or tail of that stuff. All I know is, please send me the link, then a click or two and I would be in. But if this will be the way we will be watching shows while this pandemic is going on then, I have to learn how those things work fast.

It was the first live concert in the Philippines since the lockdown was imposed and mass gatherings banned. So, to put up this one, strict safety protocols had to be observed. You know tests, masks, face shields, social distancing, etc.

Headliners Martin Nievera and Lani Misalucha performed in an empty house with empty seats in front of the stage. Wonder how that felt. It is often said that singers derive their energy from the audience. They had nothing to draw from.

But then for the first time in over a year, they had a live band led by musical director Louie Ocampo. That was a big change from all those virtual shows we have gotten used to watching where singers had canned music minus ones for accompaniment.

It was also the first live gig together for those musicians and background singers and the technical crew during this pandemic period. Work for them was not only scarce these past months. They had nothing.

Makes me wonder if any help was provided for them just like for other sectors. Most especially for artists who make their living through nightly gigs. Pray, pray please that New Day will be the beginning of more live shows to come.

Cheers to Martin for daring to be the first to agree to do this. Not only for us but also for Filipinos overseas who have gotten used to having our local artists on tour during the summer months. Ever the consummate showman, he was in top form vocally and with his jokes. He was upbeat throughout, hopeful that life will be back to what we knew as normal soon.

Cheers, too, for Lani for daring to do New Day so soon after a scary bout with bacterial meningitis that left her deaf in one ear. That took guts and she strained at times. But then the voice is as beautiful as ever and I am sure that vocal cords, like other muscles in the body, have built-in memory. Lani’s will be back in top form soon.

Cheers, too, for StarMedia for putting on the show. I do not know if they made any money. The tickets cost only P1,200. Remember how fans used to pay as much as P20,000 for a concert ticket? Well, New Day came cheap.

But certainly not the quality of the show. How nice to hear Martin belt out his famous medleys again. That one of his Vicor hits like Say That You Love Me and Ikaw ang Lahat Sa Akin is a classic. So is his show-stopping Broadway Medley that he did this time around with Lani. Cats, Phantom of the Opera, Les Misérables, etc.

Having the hitmakers — Rey Valera, Nonoy Zuñiga and Marco Sison — was a brilliant idea. Those guys are incredibly fun to watch and really made hits for the ages. Never Ever Say Goodbye, Kahit Maputi Na Ang Buhok Ko, Si Aida, Si Lorna At Si Fe. And I really got teary eyed when Martin took over the late Rico J. Puno’s portion and sang Together Forever.

New Day made for a most enjoyable evening. Of course, I missed dressing up and having a good dinner out instead of nuts and chocolates in front of my laptop. I also missed going around and saying hello to friends in the audience. Also applauding and laughing and cheering.

But then I was comfortably watching from bed wearing a T-shirt and shorts. I was fully entertained without having to worry about the long drive back and forth to Solaire, the search for parking, the late night, etc.

I certainly wouldn’t mind watching another one.

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