What goes on in a 'new normal' concert: Myrtle Sarrosa, Ferdinand Topacio share experience

Maridol Ranoa-Bismark - Philstar.com
What goes on in a 'new normal' concert: Myrtle Sarrosa, Ferdinand Topacio share experience
From left: Atty. Ferdinand Topacio, Myrtle Sarrosa and Gerald Santos
Photo release

MANILA, Philippines — Like many things in showbiz these days, concerts are not what they used to be.

Fans no longer buy tickets in the ticket booth and troop to their favorite venue. Gone are the days when the Music Museum, the Big Dome (Araneta Coliseum) and other venues are places every artist dreams of performing. The pandemic has shut down these venues the way it rendered cinema houses almost empty.

But not all is lost. Music lovers can still watch their idols virtually, by purchasing tickets online and logging in to the concert producer’s Facebook page.

Lawyer Ferdinand Topacio, for instance, decided to enter concert production the new normal way. After producing the Mamasapano Massacre movie, he is bankrolling PBB ("Pinoy Big Brother") Teen Edition 4 grand winner Myrtle Sarrosa’s first major concert, "Still Love Me" on Saturday, November 28, 8 p.m. The concert will be livestreamed on the ticket2me FB page. Ticket buyers will get a password that will allow them to watch the show online.

Myrtle, who has joined fellow artists in concerts in the Philippines and abroad, admitted that a virtual concert such has hers is riddled with challenges. The absence of a live audience to applaud her and push her to perform better is not only new. It can be disheartening.

Only the camera is there to physically watch and "listen" to her.

Veteran performer Gerald Santos, a guest in her concert, offered pieces of advice.

“Talk and sing to camera,” he told her. “Be spontaneous. Just go on and on and making sure there’s no dead air.”

He admitted that facing the camera without an audience in front of you makes him feel stupid. But that’s the new normal. Besides, virtual concerts have other things going for them.

The virtual audience is bigger, since fans from all over the world can watch the show. It’s more convenient because anyone can watch the concert at the comfort of home, at a time he or she prefers to sit back and relax. Imagine propping up your legs on the table as you hum to the tunes the artist is performing. Or lying in bed while tapping your fingers to the rhythm of the music.

Producing a concert in this new normal times is just as challenging. Topacio plunked in almost P100,000 more to the production cost to comply with spent safety protocols. The staff sanitized the stage before rehearsals. The 60-member staff took swab tests before stepping foot in the venue. An onsite doctor monitored everyone’s temperature. Two hundred face shields and 10,000 disposable face masks were used. There were handwashing stations and gallons of alcohol. Members of the disinfection team wore PPE (personal protective equipment).

The staff disposed of the face masks every four hours, following the advice of an occupational safety and health officer onsite.

“As a lawyer, I have to follow the law,” enthused Topacio.

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