Big music acts to dazzle Manila

By | December 28, 2011

Manila Standard Today

American rapper Pitbull, pop rock band Train and singer-songwriter Richard Marx were the last foreign acts that staged sold out shows in Manila for 2011. And as the Philippine capital continues to rise as one of the most preferred concert destinations in Asia, a lineup of big names on the international music scene is set to make the concert circuit much more alive.

If Katy Perry and Simple Plan excite concertgoers, they would be more thrilled to hear that Avril Lavigne, James Ingram, Edwin Mccain and Bryan Adams are scheduled to set foot Philippine shores to treat music aficionados. To top that, ’90s boy bands like Hanson and A1 are also coming here.

In January, the only female recording artist to have five singles (from an album, Teenage Dream) at no. 1 in the Billboard Hot 100 chart, is set to return to the Philippines to stage another concert at the SM Mall of Asia Concert Grounds on Jan. 22. “California Girls” and “Fireworks’ singer Katy Perry, who has been named by MTV as its first artist of the year for 2012 due to her remarkable achievements, first visited the country in 2009 for a one-night performance. With ticket priced at P10,000,00, her concert is one to watch out for.

Before we see Katy, the Canadian quintet Simple Plan famous for its pop punk songs like “Perfect,” “Addicted,” and “Crash and Burn” to name a few is the concert scene’s opening salvo. On Jan. 12, Pierre Bouvier (lead vocals), Jeff Stinco (lead guitar), Sébastien Lefebvre (rhythm guitar, backing vocals), David Desrosiers (bass guitar, backing vocals) and Chuck Comeau (drums and percussion) will be sure to entertain their Filipino fans at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Avril Lavigne, another Canadian star, will visit the country to promote new album Goodbye Lullaby. The pop rock princess who scored a string of international hit singles such as “Complicated,” “Sk8er Boi,” “I’m With You,” “My Happy Ending,” “Girlfriend,” “When You’re Gone,” and “The Best Damn Thing” performed in a sold out arena in Manila in 2008.

One of the most anticipated concerts this 2012 is that of the Hanson’s. The American pop rock band formed in Tulsa, Oklahoma, by brothers Isaac, Taylor, and Zac Hanson, is best known for the 1997 hit song “MMMBop” from the album Middle of Nowhere, which earned three Grammy nominations. The trio is scheduled to do two concerts in the Philippines, one in Manila and another Cebu.

Concert season

In the first quarter of the year, if the schedule does not change, at least 20 foreign acts are expected to stage a concert in the country. From February until the summer season ends numerous concerts are expected to be staged both by local and foreign acts. Music promoters and producers call it the concert season.

Exactly one year ago, in the wake of upcoming concerts by foreign artists like Taylor Swift and Justin Bieber, singer-actress Kuh Ledesma called for the immediate regulation of such concerts. She asserted that lawmakers should study ways to protect the interests of local acts as the concert season nears.

As expected, Kuh made a lot of buzz and got the support of OPM artists. But then again no solid initiative had taken place to look into the appeal of local artists.

In an interview, Kuh Ledesma insinuated that proper authorities must make immediate move to protect the interests of Filipino artists who are being challenged by concerts staged by international acts. She furthered that the presence of foreign acts greatly affects the number of attendees to their concerts. The singer made this statement while she is promoting her show with other OPM singers as guest artists.

It’s easy to understand the sentiments of Kuh and all the local artists that will only benefit from the spillover from international concerts. But the issue is that Filipino concertgoers are looking for quality entertainment. We can’t deny that from the set list to choreography and from entire stage design to sound engineering, which are all essential in music events, local concerts are no match to the ones staged by foreign acts.

Why would concertgoers watch local artists who sing foreign song if they can just pay more and watch the original artists, who are apparently foreign musicians? Staging a concert is like selling a product. Is our product good enough? Is it original and will it satisfy the consumer? Although most local artists believe so, the real situation is otherwise.

It’s interesting that in 2011, more foreign artists have set foot on our tropical shores to either promote their album or entertain their fans with sold out shows in big concert venues. In October alone, 15 international musicians held a concert in Manila including Jayson Mraz, Black Eyed Peas, and David Foster and Friends.

On the other hand, local singers were only impelled to stage their concerts in small venues, which they even failed to fill up considering that more often than not the performances were collaboration of two or more local artists.