BRAVO, ANTHONY CASTELO!
BY: DENNIS ADOBAS
The intermittent rains didn’t dampen the spirits of Anthony Castelo’s admirers, fans, followers, family and friends to drive to Greenhills, San Juan City to watch his concert “Songs of Love & Peace”. They came in droves, some of them travelling all the way from Nueva Ecija.
ANTHONY CASTELO: Former leading man to Ms. Vilma Santos, ex-Quezon City councilor, former member of Gentle Rain (with Nonong Pedero, Boy Camara and Rody Picar) of UP-Diliman and the Time Machine, former member of The Young Americans in Los Angeles, California, a US Presidential awardee during President George Bush’s administration, now doing a show after so many years of absence from the music scene!
It was almost concert time and Teatrino (a sister-concert venue of Precy Florentino’s Music Museum) was almost filled to capacity and yet there was a long queue of late arrivals at the gate! Blame it on the slow traffic caused by the heavy downpour! Yes, attendance-wise, the event already hinted signs of a successful show!
Concert proper. Overture: An instrumental medley of Anthony Castelo’s past hits. At the moment he entered from the left side of the stage singing “Hahanapin Ko”, suavely handsome minus the moustache, I knew he was in his best elements and the audience already assured of a show worth their time, effort and ticket price!
Yes, the unmistakable Anthony Castelo baritone voice which earned for him the title “King of Love Songs”, the verve, the charm, the macho appeal first seen on the big screen via Elwood Perez’ “Pakawalan Mo Ako” are still all there!
No spiels? Forget it! What’s more important is that he’s singing! That’s what we’re here for!
On to “Nang Dahil Sa Pag-ibig” followed by Josh Groban’s “The Prayer”.
Then he greeted (and acknowledged the presence of) some important guests. He thanked his relatives from Nueva Ecija who braved the rains just to watch his concert.
This time, he interpreted Spiral Staircase’s “More Today Than Yesterday” with some sexy choreography, wiggling and kicking at times. Then, the videoke favorite “Kaibigan”.
After singing “Babaeng Hinugot Sa Aking Tadyang” he called in balikbayan singer JayV Valledo who we heard will soon sign up with Viva Records. JayV did well with his own takes of “Spain” (a difficult, tongue-twisting song!) and “Lately”.
Anthony took the stage again with “Wildflower”, ably reaching the high notes, going down the stage and stumbling on jazz singer Art Manuntag and another singer (whose name we couldn’t recall) who both finished the song with him.
At this juncture, Anthony picked a pretty girl from the left side of the audience and introduced her as his daughter Carla! Anthony is her “Hero”, she sang! The father proudly announced that the daughter will soon make movies under Viva Films!
It was nostalgia time with Anthony singing “The Times of Your Life”, segueing to a medley of Paul Anka songs: “Diana”, “Put Your Head on my Shoulder”, “You Are My Destiny” and “Garden of Eden” plus a couple of Elvis Presley hits, this time with more wiggling and shaking and some help in the vocals from Art Manuntag! Omigosh, his “lady killer” tag comes back to mind!
“Balatkayo” (written by Tito Sotto and Joey de Leon) and “Ibig Kong Ibigin Ka” ended Anthony’s repertoire for the night. After thanking everyone, he made an exit amidst shouts for “more! more!”. He appeared again and obliged with “Dakilang Lahi” (which, I recall, he co-wrote with Tito Sotto especially for the Philippine Centennial celebration as commissioned by then President Fidel Ramos and ex-Vice-President Salvador Laurel)!
Congratulations, Anthony Castelo! With “Songs of Love & Peace”, you proved to everyone that you still have what it takes to be one of the Philippines’ great balladers and a crowd-drawing concert artist!