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Gary Valenciano still unstoppable after 40 years

MANILA, August 7 ------ After watching Gary Valenciano do 93 concerts at the Music Museum since the ‘80s, one would think Mr. Pure Energy can no longer deliver anything new onstage 40 years into the entertainment industry. But in his recent concert, “Gary V: Back at the Museum” held at the iconic venue, Valenciano proved everyone wrong. It was like watching Valenciano perform onstage for the first time – energetic, excited and ready to give his all without missing a beat.

He certainly owned the stage. Singing, dancing and entertaining, he graciously delighted the full-house crowd for nearly three hours. No change of wardrobe, no intermission. Before the concert started, there was a bit of confusion created by the succession of Martin Nievera hits being played on the background in the venue. Nope, the people didn’t enter the wrong place. Nievera’s songs were purposedly played for Valenciano’s, fans who readily distinguished the voice.

Concert director Paolo Valenciano admitted to ABS-CBN News that synchronizing the archive concert videos appearing on the monitor to Valenciano’s live performance onstage was tough. All of the songs Valenciano carried out live that night had corresponding videos through the years at Music Museum. The young Valenciano made sure the old video was in sync with the live performance. “Imagine all the videos I needed to watch in all his Music Museum concerts just to find the songs in his repertoire tonight,” the concert director said. “But everything went well. It was nice to watch the young Sharon Cuneta with the young Kiko Pangilinan in one of the concert videos,” the young Valenciano added.

Earlier in the week, with Typhoon Falcon spewing non-stop rains in Manila, there were buyers who had to return their concert tickets, apparently to be spared from the typhoon. However, when the sun came out the whole day last Friday, August 4, with no overcast skies, people came in droves to watch the first night of the five-weekend concert series. His signature (Gary V) dominated the stage and lodged in the center, with his five-man band and two back-up singers. Two huge TV sets were stationed on both ends of the stage to project the videos for every song in the repertoire. Opening act for the night was promising young singer Kai Buizon, who rendered her debut single, “The Meadow,” under Sony Music. She completed her performance with two other songs – “Kaibigan Lang” and “Pizza Guy.” “Forty years of different sounds,” said a voice over before Valenciano emerged onstage. “Different beats, different grooves, different moves.” Nostalgia was undoubtedly in the air. Within only seconds, Valenciano’s band played familiar strains of his hit songs then he sauntered onstage to render a familiar OPM hit, “Mahal na Mahal Ko Siya.” In “You Got Me Working,” Valenciano introduced the fourth generation Manoeuvres – Gringo and Mike – who were his back up dancers that night.

Valenciano took the audience down memory lane when he reminisced his nights as a scrawny singer at Tavern on the Square in Makati in the late eighties, which sent the audience oohing and ahhing. He carried out all familiar tunes like “One Hundred Ways,” “There’s No Easy Way (To Break Somebody’s Heart),” “In Your Eyes,” “Just Once,” “On the Wings of Love,” “It Might Be You” and “Whatever We Imagine.” “Please don’t get me emotional as early as now,” Valenciano told his audience. “I’ve done 93 solo shows at Music Museum and it was never easy to bring those shows to an end. “Standing on this stage in front of all of you who know my music, but I still feel nervous performing.” Still getting the jitters after performing onstage countless times in 40 years? That sounded unbelievable, but Valenciano was honest to his audience.

In some of his previous shows, Valenciano rendered some of his songs in its entirety and not part of a medley. Then, he crooned two of the early songs he wrote “Narito,” as well as “Fool Till the End” – which he sang in their full-length versions with his riveting vocals. Valenciano is looking forward to reaching 100 nights at the Music Museum with a few more shows in the repeat come October, after he returned from his US-Canada “Reenergized” concert tour.

Valenciano will perform September 2 at the Squamish Clearwater Casino Resort in Washington; September 9 at the Cache Creek Casino Resort in Brooks, California; September 10 at the Revolution Hall in Portland, Oregon; September 24 at Rajveer Banquet Hall in Calgary, Alberta, Canada; September 28 at Club Regent Event Center in Winnipeg, Manitoba; October 1 at John Bassett Theatre in Toronto, Ontario; October 6 and 7 at Pechanga Resort Casino in Temecula, California.



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