Martin and Pops are 'twogether again' - at least on the concert stage

Leah C. Salterio

Posted at Dec 21 2019 08:26 AM | Updated as of Dec 21 2019 04:42 PM

Martin Nievera and Pops Fernandez. Handout

MANILA -- Just when everyone thought Martin Nievera and Pops Fernandez have gone their separate ways personally and professionally, the country’s Concert King and Concert Queen surprised fans when they revived their musical love team with a US concert tour.

Last August and September, the couple staged their highly successful performance series in the US with “Two-gether Again 2019," performing in Atlantic City (New Jersey), Jacksonville (Florida), Virginia Beach (Virginia), five places in California (Los Angeles, Santa Ynez, Sacramento, Cabazon, San Diego), Chicago (Illinois), Las Vegas (Nevada) and Seattle (Washington).

“We were extremely overwhelmed by the numbers we got in each show we did last August until September all over America,” Nievera said. “From the East Coast to the West Coast, we were surprised to see how many people have not yet moved on. We loved it!”

Fernandez was “more than overwhelmed” by the reception they received in that US tour. “It was very touching seeing all our fans gathered again to be with us and watch us perform,” she said. “Super sentimental.”

MODERN FAMILY

She particularly singled out the Las Vegas show, where Martin and his sons, Robin and Ram, plus Santino performed together on stage.

Nievera similarly found the Las Vegas concert simply unbelievable for all of them. “If I were to choose one that I will never forget, it would be the one we did at the M Resort Spa Casino in Las Vegas,” Nievera said. “That was a once-in-a- lifetime moment that I thought at the time could never be repeated. Try to imagine this. Now, read this slowly or you might miss an important detail.

“Pops was singing at my side, reviving the songs we did when we were still a team. Robin playing his guitar like a pro, Ram singing right beside me and Santino playing the drums behind us all. That happened. That really happened! Oh and this, too.

“In the audience cheering us all on was the mother of Santino. And if you think that was not special enough, helping me with my every need backstage was my current love. Yup, you read right. It was magical. Scary, yes, but magical. I thought I was going to have a heart attack.”

Nievera lamented, however, that his dad, Bert Nievera, was no longer around to see all those “magical moments.”

“The only thing that would have made that magical moment extra, extra special would have been my father, onstage, rocking with us. Sad to say, he didn’t live long enough to be part of that historical and unbelievable moment. I know he was there controlling the spotlight from above shining on us all,” he said.

The one person who made everything possible -- in fact, even encouraged it -- Fernandez.

“Ayyyyyy, talk about a super woman,” Nievera beamed. “I cannot thank her enough for being the person that she is to have put aside all the painful memories just to have us all there performing one song as a big, happy modern family. To this day, I still can’t believe it happened. Thank you, Pops!”

The shows were so well attended and so many were not able to watch, that’s why a repeat was staged last December 14 at the Aratani Theater in Los Angeles. The following day, Nievera and Fernandez rushed to the Bay Area for a December 15 repeat at the Pittsburgh High School Auditorium.

They will also perform at El Cajon, California – right outside of San Diego – at the new theater in the Sycuan Casino. Then, they wrap up at the M Resort Spa Casino in Las Vegas Nevada on December 21.

WELCOMING THE NEW YEAR

The demand for a repeat is enough proof that Nievera and Fernandez have remained a strong love team onstage and good friends off camera.

In 2020, the couple will do a Canada leg and will perform in Vancouver, Calgary, Winnipeg and Toronto.

Martin Nievera and Pops Fernandez. Handout

Meanwhile, the two will headline the New Year countdown at Solaire Resort and Casino, with a dinner-concert, “The Royal Affair,” at The Tent.

“We have long been courting Martin to do a show with Pops,” disclosed Solaire entertainment director Audie Gemora. “There are sensibilities on their respective personal lives. For three years, Martin has been Solaire’s celebrity endorser.

“Perhaps, he underestimated the demand for their tandem to be seen together again and the power of their tandem to perform onstage again. His reaction was, ‘Really, do people still want to see us?’ I told him, ‘If you can do a US show, why can’t you do one at Solaire?’ It took Martin to give his nod. I think he’s happy with it now.”

Even before the two celebrities performed in the US last July, Gemora, with the help of Nievera’s sister, Gina Godinez, who is a consultant at Solaire, made sure he got the nod of Nievera and Fernandez.

“It just took a little push for them to say yes,” Gemora said. “Marvin Querido is the musical director. Martin and Pops will sing all their hits.”

Gemora noticed the “kilig factor,” from the pictorial alone of Nievera and Fernandez, there was really a spark. “Their rapport was undeniable. You cannot downplay that. It’s about time the younger crowd sees that tandem.”

STILL FRIENDS

Most everyone knows Nievera and Fernandez first met in 1982, when they were both starting in the music business. They hosted “Penthouse Live,” where they got to know each other better and fell in love. In 1986, they tied the knot.

However, in 1996 their marriage broke up and they separated. Fernandez filed for annulment, which the couple eventually got in 2000. Nievera, meanwhile, sired a son with his non-showbiz girlfriend, Katrina Ojeda. The boy, Santino, is now 12.

After the break-up of their marriage, Nievera and Fernandez have stopped sharing the stage. Instead, they performed individually, but still successfully. “After Pops and I split up, we had not shared a stage nor a song until 2004,” Nievera recalled. “We then did a big concert to celebrate what was once thought of as impossible at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

“The response for that reunion was so positive that we had to add a matinee show, giving us both bragging rights to be the only artists who can say they did two shows at the Big Dome in one day. That much I know of.”

After the tumultuous wreck in their married life, Nievera and Fernandez have forgiven each other, with water under the bridge now.

“My relationship with Pops right now I think is the most stable it has ever been in a long, long time,” Nievera allowed. “Pops and I have always had a strong genuine friendship as our foundation before, during and after ‘the storm.’ This remains to be true even today.

“Because we started as good friends, we still are to this day. What you saw onstage probably only yesterday, you can still see today and probably always. We are in a very good place right now and this allows us to still perform onstage together.”

Fernandez attested to the same genuine friendship they share now. “We are in a very good place now. We have evolved into something that even I could never imagined before.”

She honestly admitted she initially had apprehensions to share the stage again with her former husband. “I haven’t performed in quite a long time,” Fernandez said. “I was apprehensive and anxious to be onstage again.”

However, performing with Nievera again is really a thrilling idea for the Concert Queen. “I would be more comfortable and confident [onstage] if he were with me,” Fernandez explained. “It’s always a breeze performing with Martin. He makes it easy for his co-performer.”

MORE SHOWS

Through the years, the offers for them to perform together again have not stopped coming.

“Thank God for that,” Nievera said. “ The only problem we constantly encounter when and if there is an offer is our respective schedules. But on a private note, what really convinced me was not just the offers, but more importantly my desire to see Pops perform again.

“Somehow, she has taken a backseat to it all and works more behind the curtains and I am very proud of her every accomplishment. But the Concert Queen needs to be the Concert Queen. She needs to perform. So we met and met and met again, until finally, she was convinced that it was time for her to sing again. I am just so blessed that she chose a platform to do so with me singing harmony.”

In all the concerts, Nievera and Fernandez have changed some numbers and added Christmas to the mix, making it a perfect holiday show. “With Pops, Robin, Ram and even Santino [playing the drums], this will prove to be a true, ‘modern’ family Christmas celebration,” Nievera said proudly.

“It’s very important for people to know, fans of Pops and Martin and even non-fans of Pops and Martin, we are a unique couple. We were the best of friends, fell in love and took the words, ‘love ream’ and turned it from ‘reel’ to ‘real.’

“We are living proof that love has no end. Love has no boundaries or limitations. Yes, sure, we are no longer all of the above, but the love carried us through the hurt and pain that, of course, I caused and brought us to a better place. We are better people because of it.”

If fans were to choose a chapter or an episode to admire, the Concert King highly recommends the chapter they are living in today.

“There is life after love lost. There is sunshine after the rain. There are infinite definitions to the word, ‘Two-gether.’ If you put your wife through the hell that I put Pops through, then she forgives you, then you know that love is really forever.”

After the New Year’s Eve countdown show, Nievera and Fernandez continues their musical tandem onstage, as they excitedly announced their Valentine’s concert series at Solaire. The show will have a different concept from their previous concerts. They will be singing “all love songs” to celebrate the Day of Hearts.