If superstar Anne Curtis did “Luv Anne” a year ago, she would have opted for a digital concert, which would be minus the interaction with an audience, something that she missed most.
It helped that Curtis returned to “It’s Showtime” two weeks ago, which prepared her to deal directly with a live audience before mounting the stage for “Luv Anne.”
The jitters were hardly evident even though she admitted her nervousness once she agreed to do a live performance onstage.
“Luv Anne,” a play on the Filipino word “laban” which means fight, is a concert title that Curtis easily agreed to. “Palaban” was her message to her audience and the public in general -- to pick up from where they left off in this pandemic that changed the world.
The concert was Curtis’ first major event since taking a nearly three-year hiatus to give birth and raise Dahlia Amelie, her precocious two-year-old with husband Erwan Heussaff.
In “Luv Anne,” Curtis only proved she is never less daring after more than two decades in showbiz. Apparently, performing onstage is not just singing for Curtis or delivering those high notes to impress.
She opened the concert with Dua Lipa’s bouncy “Levitating,” in striking lime green outfit from head to toe. Interacting with her crowd was important to her. After only the second song, she immediately addressed her audience while catching her breath.
“Ayan, may hingal factor na,” the 37-year-old Curtis casually told her full-house crowd. “Nahahalata na ang edad ko.”
She reminded the audience about what she said in her 2018 concert, “Anne Kulit: Promise Last Na ‘To.”
“Sabi ko nu’ng last concert ko, last na ‘yun. This is so scary. But I’m glad that you’re all here. It has been so long. Sana na-miss niyo ang boses ko na nakaka-torete.”
That was apparently her intro before she launched into her next, familiar OPM pieces, “Torete,” that segued to “Torpe.” Noticeably, Curtis changed into stunning outfits every after two songs.
The clothes enviably revealed her toned body and sculpted abs, quite miraculously after childbirth. She hardly gained excess pounds.
A poignant video clip of her film debut, Peque Gallaga and Lore Reyes’ “Magic Kingdom” (1997), was shown on the LED screen. That reminded everyone how a 12-year-old Curtis easily stole everyone’s hearts on the big screen from that time on.
Her guests that night were artists whom she never featured in her previous concerts, led by Darren Espanto, with whom Curtis carried out “Cold Heart,” followed by singer-rapper Ez Mil (Ezekiel Miller). Curtis and Ez Mil rendered “Tayo’y Pilipino,” a brilliant take on the traditional “Cariñosa,” that even allowed Curtis, in midriff baro’t saya, to rap. The song was also rendered timely, June 12 being Philippine Independence Day.
Curtis never shortchanged her audience when she performed onstage. In earlier years, she would inevitably get off key or out of beat. In “Luv Anne,” she considerably improved a lot.
She consciously made an effort to study her songs repeatedly. She seriously shared a part of herself and maybe more with her audience. It was easy to sense that. And that was more important.
“Sabihin niyo na nag-improve na,” she smilingly told her amused audience midway into the show. Towards the end, she also convinced them again that her voice has considerably improved. The crowd agreed with glee.
She promised her audience that ”Luv Anne” would be a visual spectacle. From the more than half-a-dozen outfits that she donned – thanks to leading stylists, Pam Quiñones and Liz Uy – to the hanging pulley onstage where she sang, Curtis didn’t disappoint.
Something that visibly wowed the crowd was the movable, hanging pulley with an axle that allowed Curtis to sing standing with a harness on a small platform, while seeing her audience from a 360-degree angle.
Dishing out “Empire of Pink,” in her hot pink outfit and block heels, that looked scary for Curtis since it was high. But the brazen singer-actress projected her confidence and bravura several feet above the ground. Not just once, but in two production numbers.
She excitedly shrieked and endlessly waved to familiar faces below her, including her “It’s Showtime” family.
Five minutes before the concert started, Vice Ganda created quite a stir when he entered the venue happily draped into the arm of Ryan Bang. That sent the crowd screaming.
Curtis loves derring-dos. It will be remembered that in the 2016 “Magpasikat” on “It’s Showtime,” she and two other female artists performed atop the 14-story high ELJ Building of ABS-CBN for their presentation. And they took home the cash prize.
Covers of Selena Gomez’s “Lose You To Love Me” and Alessia Cara’s “Scars To Your Beautiful” made it to Curtis’ repertoire. The concert had a number of new tunes in the line-up, songs that Curtis adventurously sang for the first time.
She also performed with the popular all-male group SB19 and they rendered their original hit “Mapa” written while the band was on tour before the pandemic. “Una kong narinig ang ‘Mapa,’ naiyak ako,” Curtis disclosed.
Another guest was the female quartet, Litz.
Thankfully, the live concert “Luv Anne” that was over in nearly two hours went without any hitches onstage. At least nothing that was known to the appreciative audience. Curtis’ director, Paolo Valenciano, has become better in every concert he worked on.
The guesting of Paolo’s dad, Gary Valenciano, requested by Curtis, happened largely because of the director-son. Curtis said she had performed with the likes of Martin Nievera, even Regine Velasquez. Curtis wanted Valenciano for “Luv Anne.”
Their duet of “’Wag Ka Nang Umiyak” was one of the most-applauded numbers. Even if Curtis had to sing an octave lower, she didn’t falter amid her jitters.
“It truly is an honor to share the stage with you,” a visibly shaken Curtis told Valenciano after their duet. “I hope I gave justice to the song.”
Valenciano was the last guest onstage before Curtis went into her final outfit change and wrapped up “Luv Anne” with the belting of Aegis’ “Halik,” something that she always loved to render.
Louie Ocampo, with his four-man session artists, backed up Curtis. Writer was G3 San Diego and Georcelle Dapat Sy was the creative director.
Curtis proudly belted out her Celine Dion number, “It’s All Coming Back To Me Now,” elegant in black gown with an extended train, but accentuated with a wide-brimmed white hat.
Admittedly, the past two years that Curtis spent on hiatus were the “best years” of her life to date, where she enjoyed being a mom to the hilt, away from the glare of the klieg lights.
But she insisted there’s also nothing compared to performing live onstage again before an audience, something that she is wont to do for a long time yet.
“Super it took me a while to do this [concert],” Curtis admitted. “I was so praning. I thought I didn’t have the confidence anymore. I am not the best singer, but [I’m] improving.”