" The Night           
                          Soared! "
by Jannis Montañez 

The show, called ''Regine at the Movies,'' didn't really promise 
anything new, movie themes being the perennial favorite of concert 
performers who want to be formulaic by singing popular tunes from 
equally-popular films. But as soon as Regine came onstage with 
hardly any fanfare, garbed in a simple but very elegant gown and 
sang her first note, I knew distinctively that there was nothing 
formulaic about this concert.

There, she perched herself on her high chair, practically throughout 
the evening, and took her audience with her to places only she 
can go., No, she didn’t just sing movie them songs. She took each 
song, wove her vocal magic around it, gave it a entirely new context 
and made it her very  own. Now I am in awe because I was short of 
oblivious of the waiters and latecomers coming and going around me, 
otherwise a usual source of irritation.. What I wasn’t sure about was 
whether or not Regine was  keenly aware of she held her audience 
in the palm of her hand, spellbound throughout her two–hour show.

Of course, the imaginative and oftentimes clever arrangements 
by her musical director Raul Mitra only made the experience even 
more unique. First the band was an unusual combination of piano, 
three guitars, a violin, a cello, saxophone, flute, drums and 
percussions, and yes, a kulintang.

Some highlights: She gives a surprised twist to a medley of pop 
themes from the ’80s blockbusters including love themes from 
“St. Elmo’s Fire,” “Superman,” “Tootsie,” “Arthur” and “Zapped.” 
She “raises” the Titanic to even greater heights in her own version 
of “My Heart Will Go On.” She becomes poignant, and close to 
tears with a medley of love songs from “Moulin Rouge,” and, lest 
her movie fans go home disappointed, a medley of theme songs 
from her recent blockbuster including the Song of the Year, 
“Kailangan Ko’y Ikaw.” Her one and only guest that evening was 
her protégé and friend Gabby Eigenmann, who perhaps nervously, 
stood his ground with the diva as they sang the Gwyneth–Huwey 
duet, “Cruisin.”

Regine closed the show with the classic from West Side Story 
as she spoke of the uncertainty of the times. Then came back 
with the “Armageddon” theme for her encore. The audience 
wouldn’t let her go. But just like any movie, the closing credits 
had to roll.

As expected in most intimate shows, Regine’s staging was simple, 
almost bare and—very white. The band members and back up 
singers were all in pristine white and cream, and she in a flesh 
colored chiffon gown that draped her svelte body. Occasionally 
there was a surprise shower of white and then red petals, here 
and there. But nothing to distract the audience from the singing, 
which was truly the main focus that night.

And I can bet that the most people who were there with me 
that night at the Music Museum will agree that Regine was 
in top shape vocally. She was hitting high C’s with elegant 
ease, moving along her long notes with a full reservoir of 
breath in her lungs, exquisite in her hushed , almost 
whispering pianissimos, and explosive with her show–
stopping endings. She was consistent. She was dependable. 
She never let us down.

That night at the Music Museum, the Songbird was soaring 
o high all other “birds” would not have kept pace. At a time 
when almost every female singer is referred to as a “diva,” 
“Regine at the Movies” redefined the word anew for 
Ms. Velasquez. And after all is said and done, and whether 
other equally–talented singers join her in the firmament of 
singing stars, Regine Velasquez, the ultimate Songbird 
will effortlessly hold a very special place up there . .
one radiant, enduring and singular sensation.


Manila Bulletin  
Nov. 24, 2001   




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