" The Night
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
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.
Nov. 24, 2001