Original members of Side A to reunite for special online benefit concert

Rick Olivares

Posted at Jan 06 2021 06:22 AM

Original members of Side A to reunite for special online benefit concert 1

MANILA -- Side A, one of the country’s premier bands, is reuniting for a special online benefit show titled “Calesa Side A Redux” on January 30 for charities sponsored by Ateneo de Manila University Batch ’88.

The concert will feature the original line-up of Side A that includes brothers Rodel (lead vocals and saxophone) and Naldy Gonzalez (keyboards), Mar Dizon (drums), Joey Benin (bass), Pido Lalimarmo (guitar), and Kelly Badon (guitar).

“It’s amazing how there’s a lot of people that used to watch us at the Hyatt Calesa Bar that are now professionals and have remained loyal to us,” said Rodel Gonzalez. “For example, Ateneo Batch ‘88. These were college students back in the day when they were watching us. Now they paved the way for us, and sponsored us for our first-ever virtual concert this coming January 30, 2021.”

“We want to bring back the old songs that we used to play at Calesa plus more. We’re excited for this virtual concert since we’re like kids again enjoying what we love to do, create songs and play together.”

Side A was formed in 1985 when various members of Filipino bands performing in Singapore returned to Manila and found themselves jamming together and making music.

By 1987, they were mainstays in the old Hyatt Regency Manila’s popular Calesa Bar and Lounge where they performed seven days a week.

It was during one packed show at the Hyatt where the band was spotted by Bert de Leon, the director of "Eat Bulaga" and "The Sharon Cuneta Show" to name a few, became a big fan. He offered to help the band secure a recording contract and that turned out to be Ivory Records.

Included in that first album were songs like “Di Pa Huli,” “Windows of Our Souls,” and “Eva Marie.”

When Rodel Gonzalez and Mar Dizon left in 1990, Joey Generoso and Benjie Mendez joined the band and wrote hits like “Hold On” to “Forevermore” that brought the group to a higher level and became a household name in the country.

“Side A is already an institution,” reflected Rodel. “It’s a family from the first to the second generation to its current line-up that is composed of Naldy Gonzalez, Ernie Severino (drums), Leevon Cailao (guitar), Ned Esguerra (bass), and Yubs Esperat (lead vocals and guitar).”

“Why a Side A reunion online concert,” asked Ateneo Batch ’88 representative JP Cariño? “Because many of us frequented the Calesa Bar to listen to Side A that has since gone on to become one of the premier bands in the Philippines. We are sure that even younger audiences who watch this online benefit will enjoy the show.”

Since the pandemic hit in early 2020, Ateneo Batch ‘88 has raised over $60,000 (P3 million) for Alpabasa, PJPS, Tanging Yaman Foundation, Inc., JesuitAid, and the Jesuit Volunteers Philippines.

Tickets to the “Calesa Side A Redux” online concert may (slated for 11:30 a.m. and 9:30 p.m.) cost P1,000 or US$20. Tickets may be purchased at carlopacific.com or KTX.ph.