Leah Salterio

Veteran artists share stage in one hit concert

February 22, 2024 Leah C. Salterio 766 views

VeteranVeteran1Veteran2Veteran3Veteran4Veteran5Veteran6Veteran7FROM Sampaguita and Leah Navarro to Jun Polistico and Anthony Castelo, it’s rare that audiences see those singing veterans on one stage these days. It was great to see a grand gathering of OPM (Original Pilipino Music) giants sharing the stage in one concert.

Most of them are semi-retired and no longer accept live performances. Yet, in the one-night concert, OPM Stars, Wednesday night at The Theater at Solaire, the stalwarts of Filipino music displayed their flair for performing anew.

The venue was packed, mostly with the long-time fans of the OPM artists. “Noong araw, ang fans ko kolehiyala,” balladeer Anthony Castelo smilingly told the audience. “Ngayon, mga lola na. May ambulance pa daw sa labas at naka-on ang engine. May stretcher at paramedics pa.”

He gave the audience the well-loved ballads that he popularized – from his signature anthem, Balatkayo (penned by Tito Sotto) to Nang Dahil sa Pag-ibig and Hahanapin Ko.

Wadab, the group with Nonoy Tan and bandmate Rey Magtoto, opened the concert with their hit, Ang Jeepney, followed by another tune, their hit pop ballad, ‘Pag Tumatagal Lalong Tumitibay, strongly identified with them.

Mon Espia of Labuyo immediately rocked the stage with Tuloy Pa Rin Ako.

Eighties heartthrob Gino Padilla rendered his own hits and the audience was singing with him – I Believe in Love, Gusto Kita, Closer You and I. He particularly donned pink to celebrate Women’s Month this March.

His introduction carried that line that Gino is the only Filipino who performed with rock icon and queen of rock n’ roll, Tina Turner, with whom he recorded the 1986 Pepsi commercial jingle.

Gino is undoubtedly thrilled that he is performing in the same stage as the veteran artists billeted in OPM stars.

Leah Navarro has not graced the live performance stage in a long while. In fact, it was her first time to sing at The Theater at Solaire. “Performing is just a break for me, but I’m singing again now,” Leah told her audience.

She regaled the crowd with her well-loved hits – Isang Mundo, Isang Awit, Kailagan Kita, Ligaw Tingin and Ang Pag-ibig Kong Ito – and the audience sang with her.

“Do these songs mean anything to you?,” Leah asked her audience.

She insisted she didn’t really like to sing Ang Pag-ibig Kong Ito since the song is so heartbreaking. But she nonetheless rendered the ballad in her beautiful vocals.

Monet Gaskell and Male Rigor of VST and Company rocked the house down and got the audience up on their feet with Disco Fever, Swing and other VST hits like Ikaw ang Aking Mahal and Ipagpatawad Mo.

Jun Polistico, tagged as the Man with the Velvet Voice, admitted that he was performing onstage even before OPM was around.

“Before OPM, I was already there,” Jun said. “I came in the transition of kundiman and OPM. I’m very fortunate to still be here. I live my life with no stress.”

He gave the audience such hits as Mahiwaga, Dahil sa Isang Bulakak and Usahay.

The OPM Hit Men – Rannie Raymundo, Chad Borja, Richard Reynoso and Renz Verano – carried out their respective hits. Chad with Ikaw Lang, Richard with Paminsan-Minsan, Rannie with Why Can’t It Be and Renz with Remember Me.

They also rendered much-applauded ballads and paid tribute to its original artists – Chad with Didith Reyes’ Araw-Araw, Gabi-Gabi, Richard with Claire de la Fuente’s Sayang, Rannie with Imelda Papin’s Kung Liligaya Ka (Sa Piling ng Iba) and Renz with Eva Eugenio’s stratospheric and much-applauded Tukso.

Sampaguita regaled the audience the with her signature hits – from Bonggahan to Nosi Ba Lasi and Laguna – that still very much rang familiar tunes with everyone present.

All the performers gathered onstage and brought the house down with dance hits by VST and Company – Sumayaw, Sumunod, Rock Baby Rock, Awitin Mo at Isasayaw Ko.

If there was a second night for the concert, OPM Stars, we knew it would be another full-house crowd at The Theater at Solaire.

The show was presented by the Zonta Club Muntinlupa, Zonta Club Makati-Legaspi and Zonta Club International. Line producer was Mark Manalang.