MANILA -- “We’re the next new boy band,” said Dingdong Avanzado inside one of the locker rooms two hours before the "Green & Go" concert at the Filoil Flying V Centre last Saturday.
Avanzado shared the locker room that was converted into a dressing room alongside fellow Lasallians and former Kundirana members Randy Santiago and batchmate Ogie Alcasid.
Santiago chuckled. “A boy band of 50-somethings making a comeback performance.”
The last time Gary Valenciano, Santiago, Alcasid, and Avanzado all shared a stage together was back in 1989, pointed out Santiago. “It was at the old ULTRA (now called the Philsports Arena).”
“Gary was the first of us from Kundirana who showed that puwede pala,” pointed out Avanzado of their dreams of pursuing a musical career. “And it opened the gates for many of us.”
The “us” -- the quartet -- were brought together this time for a benefit show for the De La Salle-Dasmariñas Cavite medical facilities.
Ironically, Valenciano made the news a few days before the show for recovering from a bout with cancer. That wasn’t something that was lost on Alcasid.
“People know me as the guy cracking jokes, but this is real,” he said, referring to Valenciano. “I too recently lost a good friend (Cathy Nazareno of artist management group A-Team of which Alcasid is a co-owner) to similar reasons so this hits home.”
Valenciano’s good health and this unlikely reunion is a good blessing enough.
“You know, I’ll be hitting 60 in about a year,” admitted Santiago. “So you think about health, your life, your friends, what you value the most, relationships… a lot of things. I have a lot to be grateful for.”
Despite his age, Santiago looks in marvelous youthful shape. “That’s clean living and being very active,” he said.
“I think performing has kept us in good shape,” chimed in Alcasid. “We are all pushing into past our third decade in the entertainment industry and I cannot tell you how good a feeling it is.”
During the concert, the four time and again wondered if the millennials in the audience knew their hit songs – and they did, much to their surprise and pleasure.
“I think we put in a lot of ourselves into our careers,” shared Alcasid. “The cliché is heart and soul. But that is the truth and if we are rewarded by having a good career in which we can raise our families and to continue performing today? I am thankful as I am sure the other three are.”
The sum of their respective careers are numerous hit songs and albums, films, television shows, sold out concerts, and the cache of goodwill and credit as befitting OPM legends.
During the "Green and Go" concert, the four constantly thanked the crowd and the fans for making them realize and live their musical dreams.
The quartet took the stage collectively at the start and after a couple of songs that paid homage to English rock band Queen, they branched out into individual performances.
“I’m going to sing some original Pilipino music,” informed Avanzado of the crowd. “Okay lang ba ‘yon?” The crowd roared as he launched into his hit song “Tatlong Beinte Singko.”
“What is three 25 centavo coins worth today,” he asked. A timeless classic that had people in the audience singing, swaying, and dancing along.
Before the final collective act, Valenciano took the stage. The man they call “Mr. Pure Energy” still moved like the youngster who was our own version of Michael Jackson back in the 1980s. He sang as passionately as always has and the crowd loved it.
And lastly, the reunited for an OPM medley as well as an Earth, Wind & Fire medley that brought a close to the two-hour show.
“This was great. I am truly grateful that I grabbed the opportunity to do this with my musical brothers,” summed up Alcasid. “New old boy band? Who knows if this will happen again? We just have crazy and hectic schedules. But this is good for the soul.”