Fantarding over Regine Velasquez at the R3.0 Concert

I was four years old when I first heard her song on the radio. I know because we lived in our grandparents’ house in the province when I was at that age. I remember that day when my lolo, a music lover, was tuned in to the radio, using his stereo system that was connected to two large speakers. I remember this vividly, because I asked my mother, “Ano yung Ursula?”, and I tried singing it along with the song. My mother laughed, because the girl on the radio wasn’t singing Ursula at all. That girl, the new artist named Regine Velasquez, was saying “urong sulong ka”.

Regine Velasquez staged R3.0, her 30th career anniversary concert, last month at the Mall of Asia Arena, and I together with fellow Regine fans (!) Sed and Rich, were lucky enough to catch it live, on seats that were more or less 100 meters away from the stage. While waiting for the show to begin, we realized that we are as old or just a few years older than Regine’s professional career (2017 is actually her 31st year). Maybe that’s one of the reasons Regine and her songs have always been in my consciousness.

Although I wasn’t consciously following her while I was growing up, her songs have constantly been on the radio and TV (I hear Kung Maibabalik Ko Lang daily as a soundtrack to the drama segement of Tessie Tomas’ morning show). I started hearing her name constantly in the news when talks about her “stealing” the boyfriend of an actress from a very popular showbiz family broke out. Her music piqued my interest when music videos became the next big thing and hers would always look sleek and “imported” (turns out they were really made abroad, as part of her Asia’s Songbird years). And of course, she was the face of the brand and the voice that says it’s the best time for Wendy’s.

So I grew up with Regine as just an incidental in my pop culture-rich life. But that changed one sembreak. It is my elder brother Ellis who is the bigger Regine fan (In fact, I can declare he is one of the biggest Regine fans ever). One November day, he came home to the province from college, along with a cassette of Retro. I popped it in the player while reading the inlay card, and it was then that I realized that I was experiencing something unique, and so much different from the other Filipino albums that I have been listening to. This artist can alter her image to suit the theme of her music or to mark an era of her career. Her album has one central concept that fuses all the songs together. She experiments with the available format - recording a prologue, an epilogue and a hidden track in the album. And of course, although the songs were all covers, she makes everything sound fresh and completely her own. It was then when I realized that I am experiencing more than just an album but an artistic expression. More importantly, I realized that it was quite a pleasure devouring an output of a creative mind.

As someone who has always looked up to creative mavericks and visionaries, I was hooked. I became a fan from then on, following her albums, her music and all her other creative endeavors, whether it’s directing her own shows or videos, releasing a visual album (yes she did that first), a coffee table book, or a CD with a limited edition acetate cover or pendant. Every Regine fan knows that she takes conceptualization and creative process seriously and it just shows in her works and performances.

Her recent concert was no different.

For someone who’s been in the industry for three decades, it’s amazing how she can still inject freshness into songs that she has performed a million times already. And although she’s not one of the youngest concert performers around anymore, she can still deliver unforgettable performances that are visual spectacles.

During her show, Regine shared with her audience how she’s not the same anymore, losing her confidence after that Silver (the 25th anniversary concert) incident. She also acknowledged the changes in her voice, her instrument that we all though would be immortal. She also spoke her mind about how she’s become “complacent” in the eyes of those who’ve known her to be one of the most hardworking entertainers around.

All these would have been declarations of doom for any artist, but for Regine, it just showed how brave and secure she is of her place in the industry. And more importantly, it shows how happy and content she is with what she has accomplished with the career that she has built her whole life. During the concert, it was evident that Regine is one of the most respected and loved local artists - having given her all to an audience that’s not the easiest to please (we have high standards!) for more than 30 years. Regine has been known to work hard and do everything for her family, and that night, we were all her family.

A lot has been said about the concert (this is a very late reaction), but I think everyone who reviewed the show would agree that R3.0 was proof why, despite all the years of finding “the next Regine”, no one has ever found one. Only a few legends are born in every generation, and Regine has made her mark in ours. R3.0 Regine may not be the same as the R2K Regine but that is not a bad thing. Changing does not always mean fading. Sometimes, and in Regine’s case, it is growth. And it is quite assuring to know that we can always aspire for growth at any point of our lives, for it can happen to anyone, even to someone of her stature.


Anonymous said...

I love this blog.
I am a Regine fan as well, and I love reading blogs like this. How someone turned into Regine fan.
You may not declared that you looooove Regine Velasquez, but how you wrote it says it all. 😄
Buti ka pa naabutan mo si regine. Ako kahit nung R2K days nya wala pa kong muwang 😂

Elvin said...

Hello, thank you very young Regine fan.

Unknown said...

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