REVIEW | Gary V. highlights greatest hits, guest performers in latest concert

May 22, 2017 - 5:25 AM
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Gary Valenciano performs with The Maneouvres. (Photo courtesy of Manila Genesis Enterainment)

During the portion where he thanked sponsors, musicians and everyone who participated in his successful “Gary V. Presents” concert, Gary Valenciano gave a special shoutout to wife Angeli Pangilinan for inspiring a set list that consisted mostly of his classic hits.

“She told me, ‘People love your songs, Gary. You should sing them,’ ” the iconic performer shared as he also confessed about wanting to cover the hits of foreign sensations like Michael Jackson and Earth, Wind & Fire.

With a distinguished career spanning over three decades and characterized by dozens of hit singles and albums, Gary has more than enough popular tunes of his own to sustain an entire concert.

That he chose to perform most of his well-loved originals with both rising and established performers at the “Season Finale!” of “Gary V. Presents” at the Theatre at Solaire is a testament not only to their timeless appeal but also to the generosity of his spirit and admiration for fellow artists.

In what he described as a “dream performance,” Gary happily shared the stage with Mitoy Yonting, Carla Guevara-Laforteza, Allan Silonga, Bullet Dumas, Janice Javier, RJ dela Fuente, Tim Pavino, Katrina Velarde, Lara Maigue, Jimmy Marquez, The Manoevres featuring Jason and Joshua Zamora, the Addlib dancers and his own daughter Kiana Valenciano.

At 52, Gary still has the moves that earned him the well-deserved and still appropriate moniker, Mr. Pure Energy. This was typified in upbeat numbers like “Shout for Joy” which opened the show, the spirited “Di Bale Na Lang” with his guests serving as backup singers, “Look in Her Eyes” where he literally went toe to toe with the Manoevres, “Hataw Na” where he tried to keep up with the fancy footwork of Janice Javier and a Michael Jackson medley with his guests during the climactic final stretch.

Gary was equally outstanding in some of the show’s more tender moments, including a duet with Lara Maigue featuring Ogie Alcasid’s “Kailangan Kita” and her own composition “Sa ‘Yo Na Lang Ako.” There was also a compelling reading of “Take Me Out of the Dark” with RJ dela Fuente and Tim Pavino and a soaring, show-stopping performance of “Natutulog Ba ang Diyos” with powerhouse Mitoy Yonting.

He also dug deeper in his back catalog with a folksy arrangement of his anthemic OFW-inspired smash “Babalik Ka Rin” which he performed as a duet with troubadour Bullet Dumas. Then there was also his criminally underrated 80s radio hit, “What More Can I Say?,” a jazzed-up mid-tempo ditty that he affectionately sang with daughter Kiana.

Gary Valenciano shares the stage with his numerous guests. (Photo courtesy of Manila Genesis Entertainment)

In between tunes, Gary also had a running and engaging banter with his guests as they all shared their humble and inspiring beginnings — such as the amateur singing contests in makeshift truck stages where Katrina Velarde a.k.a. Suklay Diva began her career and the late blooming triumph of Mitoy in the very first season of “The Voice of the Philippines.”

What made Gary’s performance all the more remarkable is the fact that audiences can also hear his insulin pump beep from time to time. A Type 1 diabetic, Gary tells the crowd not to worry as the device which is attached to his stomach keeps his blood sugar in check.

Although the show has finished its Solaire run last Saturday, Gary will continue to perform with some of his special guests in upcoming shows scheduled in the United States until June.

Directed by his son Paolo Valenciano and with musical direction by Gary’s longtime collaborator, Mon Faustino, “Gary V. Presents Season Finale” was also made possible with the help of Voyager Innovation.

Voyager helped promote the concert via digital and mobile means through its mobile marketing arm Hatch, which targeted specific users in Pasay, Pasig, Taguig, Makati and Manila. These efforts were made in recognition of the power of digital and mobile in promoting brands and events via real-time and location-driven forms of marketing.