|PHOTO BY RAYMOND SANTOS|
The recent Piolo Pascual solo concert at the John Bassett Theatre was announced just a few short weeks before the event; very little time to organize anything let alone a show of this kind. Fortunately for Jeng Guiyab Productions, the team behind this undertaking, it was Piolo they were marketing. Piolo, of course, is one of those rare individuals who can make women of any age swoon. His striking good looks made him the most popular actor in the Philippines and has won him a loyal following around the world. His movies and television shows have garnered him numerous acting awards and his foray into the music business produced several gold and platinum albums. These accolades however, are very different from performing live; a task Piolo undertook with ease.
Prior to the event, it was rumoured that he would only sing less than a hand-full of songs, reminiscent of his days touring with “The Hunks” and “The Heartthrobs”. This speculation was quickly squashed by Piolo himself who joked about it at the beginning of the show. The concert went on for nearly three hours with Piolo singing the theme songs for his films and television shows. As simplistic as it may have appeared, Piolo alone on stage was more than enough to entertain an enthusiastic, near sell-out crowd. In what was revealed as an impromptu inclusion to his set, he sang acoustic versions of some of his most popular hits like “Kailangan Kita”. His exceptional rapport with the audience was evident as he walked them through the highlights of his career. Although at times it felt like an intimate show, the theatre was abuzz from start to finish with women from opposite ends of the age spectrum clamouring to get near Piolo especially when he briefly ventured off stage to hand out roses.
Special guest star and YouTube sensation Maria Aragon was also a great addition to the show. In only her second major appearance, she conducted herself with ease as she performed the Lady Gaga song that made her famous. Her brother also joined her on stage to accompany her as she sang the Bruno Mars hit “Just the Way You Are”. With obvious wisdom beyond her years, she encouraged other youngsters to continue pursuing their dreams pointing out the fact that it took 72 uploaded videos on the site to get her where she is today.
It should also be noted that guest performances by RJ Roa and front acts “The Brothers” and “MNP” were short but very entertaining. All three were extremely talented and deserving of the audience’s attention. It would not surprise me if these youngsters are asked to perform again at many other Filipino-Canadian events.
I have to mention the fact that the meet and greet with Piolo the day before the concert, the event itself and the autograph signing after the show were organized impeccably. I have been to many events ill-prepared for the inevitable onslaught of fans but I must give kudos to the organizers of Piolo’s Toronto stop. The show and everything arranged in conjunction with it was impressive and deserving of its own applause. Well done Piolo! Well done Jeng Guiyab Productions!