It all started with a low rumble, when a flock of birds came flying from center stage and a flash of light introduced a vision of “Asia’s Songbird” Regine Velasquez-Alcasid onscreen. Hearts thumping, the crowd cheered as the LED screen was lifted to reveal Velasquez herself in a gorgeous coat of black feathers fluttering from the train behind her. Backup dancers snapped their moves as Velasquez opened the second night of her sold-out R3.0 concert with “Call Me.”
From the stunning opener that featured the backing vocals of rising singer Lara Maigue, a guitar riff reminiscent of <a href=”/music/metallica”>Metallica</a>’s “Enter Sandman” caught fans by surprise as Velasquez abandoned her feathered coat for a sparkling red and black piece that shimmered under warm lights as she sang the lyrics to <a href=”/music/donna-summer”>Donna Summer</a>’s “Hot Stuff” over the heavy riff.
Velasquez sang 28 songs at the SM Mall of Asia Arena (16 of them slipped into the set list as medleys), but that wasn’t the only reason why the second night of R3.0 ran for three hours. Showcasing hit after hit and introducing several special guests onstage, the concert was a spectacle that celebrated the singer’s 30 years in the entertainment industry and launched her triple album, which features original tracks and a nod to some of her most successful excursions in pop music.
“It’s a commemorative album. This has been my dream, actually,” Velasquez said, inviting the audience to pick up a copy of the record before performing the first single off the album, <a href=”/articles/news/international/7988777/watch-philippines-udd-studio-recording”>UDD</a>’s “Tadhana.”
Velasquez’s story was then told through the LED screen hanging above stage, turning back to 1984 with her former manager Ronnie Henares, Content Cows’ Wilma Galvante, Asia’s Queen of Songs Pilita Corales, film director Joyce Bernal, GMA’s Lilibeth Resonable, Robin Padilla, Jaya and Martin Nievera, telling their sides of the singer’s beginnings and praising her for all her accomplishments over the past 30 years.
“As you all know, I’m a different person,” Velasquez said after a breathtaking medley performance with Mark Bautista, Jed Madela and Erik Santos. “I’m a wife, and I have a wonderful husband who makes me laugh all the time. He really is wonderful. He’s the one giving me all the strength to do this concert,because I was feeling very insecure.”
She then turned to her little boy, Nate, in the audience. “And, of course, I have a son — a wonderful son, you always, always make me smile. You give joy to mommy all the time.” Velasquez invited her son to join her onstage for “I Can,” before her best friends Mikee Cojuangco and Donna Cruz joined them for the endearing number.
“It’s wonderful to be married, I realized — providing, of course, you’re married to the right person, and I just have to say that I’ve married my best friend,” Velasquez told the crowd before retreating backstage to lend the spotlight to her husband, Ogie Alcasid, who rushed to the stage for “Nakakalokal.” After the upbeat performance, Velasquez returned in a gorgeous red dress that stole Alcasid’s breath.
Together, they gushed about their son, and of course the night wouldn’t be complete without a little bit of stand-up comedy between the couple. They joked on about Alcasid’s height, comparing him to Nate, before Alcasid praised his wife for the crowd she drew for the weekend. Their love shone through their duet as they shared the spotlight through a medley of songs Alcasid wrote for Velasquez’s films.
“I think there are a lot of people who do not know that I am a balladeer. They keep asking me for songs that are not my forte or genre,” Velasquez opened up after warming the hearts of the audience with a series of ballads and sharing a colorful moment with the LGBT community with “Urong-Sulong” onstage. “I have to say that I had a difficult time. I am not an R&B singer. I didn’t know how to do R&B curlicues. But I was challenged.”
Velasquez then showed off more of her vocal prowess and comedic side, basking in different genres with <a href=”/music/swv”>SWV</a>’s “Weak,” <a href=”/music/mariah-carey”>Mariah Carey</a>’s “Butterfly,” <a href=”/music/Queen”>Queen</a>’s “We Will Rock You” and <a href=”/music/Beyonce”>Beyonce</a>’s “Single Ladies.”
But out of all the ballads and medleys, there was definitely nothing like the one Velasquez shared with <a href=”/articles/news/international/7882078/filipino-popstar-royalty-sarah-geronimo-29th-birthday”>Sarah Geronimo</a> that evening. Warm lights surrounded Geronimo as she held the stage with Gary Valenciano‘s heartbreaking “Sana Maulit Muli.” The unexpected turn in the show had fans screaming for Geronimo, and their cheers got even louder when Velasquez reappeared onstage to sing “Ikaw,” “Dadalhin” and “Ikaw Ang Lahat Sa Akin” with her.
The number called for a standing ovation from the audience, after the singers returned to the Gary V hit, when Velasquez told Geronimo, “I love you so much.” Geronimo then squealed in excitement and joked, pointing at the audience, “Miss Reg, I should just be sitting there with the audience!”
Velasquez called her mother, Teresita, onstage to sing <a href=”/music/vera-lynn”>Vera Lynn</a>’s “You’ll Never Know” with a recording of her late father, Gerry, singing with them from the LED screen. It’s obvious where Velasquez got her talent from: Her parents’ voices are just as beautiful. She knows it, and hopes to keep inspiring young artists to strive for their dreams. Velasquez saved her tribute to her father “The First Man in My Life,” a song Alcasid had written for her for later. Through her tears, she kept her composure as the powerful song moved the arena.
The spectacle continued with “Oceans” and <a href=”/music/michael-bolton”>Michael Bolton</a>’s “Go the Distance” before Velasquez took a breather for her encore “What Kind of Fool Am I.” Cannons shot metallic red confetti at the end of the song’s climax. As fans rushed up the steps to the stage for selfies, security escorted Velasquez to her dressing room.
Her legion of followers look forward to loyally sticking by her side for the next 30 years for Asia’s Songbird. She has touched many hearts in the past three decades, cutting through generations, and has proven that God-given talents are worth nurturing.
“Call Me” with Lara Maigue
“In Love with you,” “Muli,” “Forever,” Please Be Careful with My Heart” medley with Mark Bautista, Erik Santos and Jed Madela
“Kung Kailan Pa,” “Sa’yo Na Lang Ako,” “Ok Lang Ako,” “Sabihin Mo Lang” medley
“I Can” with Nate Alcasid, Mikee Cojuangco and Donna Cruz
“Nakalokal” with Ogie Alcasid
“Kailangan Ko’y Ikaw,” “Pangako,” “Sa Piling Mo,” “Hanggang Ngayon,” “Pangarap Ko ay Ibigin Ka” medley with Ogie Alcasid
“Weak,” “Butterfly, “We Will Rock You,” “Single Ladies” medley
“Shake Your Groove Thing”
“Sana Maulit Muli,” “Ikaw,” “Dadalhin,” “Ikaw Ang Lahat Sa Akin” medley with Sarah Geronimo
“You’ll Never Know”
“Leader of the Band”
“The First Man in My Life”
“Go the Distance”
“What Kind of Fool Am I”