It all started with a low rumble on Sunday night (Oct. 22), when a flock of birds came flying from center stage and a flash of light introduced a vision of Asia’s Songbird Regine Velasquez-Alcasid onscreen. Hearts thumping, the crowd cheered as the LED screen was lifted to reveal Velasquez herself in a gorgeous coat of black feathers fluttering from the train behind her. Backup dancers snapped their moves as Velasquez opened the second night of her sold-out concert R3.0 with “Call Me.”
From the stunning opener that featured the backing vocals of rising singer Lara Maigue, a guitar riff reminiscent of Metallica‘s “Enter Sandman” caught fans by surprise as Velasquez abandoned her feathered coat for a sparkling red and black piece that shimmered under warm lights as she sang the lyrics to Donna Summer’s “Hot Stuff” over the heavy riff.
Velasquez sang 28 songs at the SM Mall of Asia Arena (sixteen of them slipped into the set list as medleys), but that wasn’t the only reason why the second night of R3.0 ran for three hours. Showcasing hit after hit and introducing several special guests onstage, the concert was a spectacle that celebrated the singer’s 30 years in the entertainment industry and launched her triple album, which features original tracks and a nod to some of her most successful excursions in pop music. “It’s a commemorative album. This has been my dream, actually.” Velasquez said, inviting the audience to pick up a copy of the record before performing the first single off the album, UDD‘s “Tadhana.”
Velasquez’s story was then told through the LED screen hanging above stage, turning back to 1984 with her former manager Ronnie Henares, Content Cows’ Wilma Galvante, Asia’s Queen of Songs Pilita Corales, film director Joyce Bernal, GMA’s Lilibeth Resonable, Robin Padilla, Jaya, and Martin Nievera, telling their sides of the singer’s beginnings and praising her for all her accomplishments over the past thirty years.
“As you all know, I’m a different person na,” Velasquez said after a breathtaking medley performance with Mark Bautista, Jed Madela, and Erik Santos. “I’m a wife and I have a wonderful husband who makes me laugh all the time. He really is wonderful. He’s the one giving me all the strength to do this concert, kasi talagang sobrang na-iinsecure ako.” She then turned to her little boy Nate in the audience. “And of course I have a son—a wonderful son, you always, always make me smile. You give joy to mommy all the time.” Velasquez invited her son to join her onstage for “I Can,” before her best friends Mikee Cojuangco and Donna Cruz joined them for the endearing number.
“It’s wonderful to be married, I realized. Providing of course, you’re married to the right person and I just have to say that I’ve married my best friend,” Velasquez told the crowd before retreating backstage to lend the spotlight to her husband Ogie Alcasid, who rushed to the stage for “Nakakalokal.” After the upbeat performance, Velasquez returned in a gorgeous red dress that stole Alcasid’s breath.
Together they gushed about their son, as parents usually do, but of course the night wouldn’t be complete without a little bit of stand-up comedy between the couple. They joked on about Alcasid’s height, comparing him to Nate, before Alcasid praised his wife for the crowd she drew for the weekend. The love and support between the two speaks levels in how their relationship works. It’s the kind of love many only read about and dream of. It’s the kind of love that shone through their duet as they shared the spotlight through a medley of songs Alcasid wrote for Velasquez’s films.
“I think maraming hindi nakaalam na I’m a balladeer. They keep asking me [for] songs that are not my forte o hindi ko genre,” Velasquez opened up after warming the hearts of the audience with a series of ballads and sharing a colorful moment with the LGBT community with “Urong-Sulong” onstage. “I have to say na hirap po talaga ako dun. Like the first time they asked me to sing an Rn’B song–nyare? Bakit Rn’B song? Hindi nga ako Rn’B singer. Hindi nga ako marunong magkulut-kulot. But I was challenged.” Velasquez then showed off more of her vocal prowess and comedic side, basking in different genres with SWV’s “Weak,” Mariah Carey‘s “Butterfly,” Queen‘s “We Will Rock You,” and Beyonce‘s “Single Ladies.”
But out of all the ballads and medleys, there was definitely nothing like the one Velasquez shared with Sarah Geronimo that evening. Warm lights surrounded Geronimo as she held the stage with Gary Valenciano‘s heartbreaking “Sana Maulit Muli.” The unexpected turn in the show had fans screaming for Geronimo, and their cheers got even louder when Velasquez reappeared onstage to sing “Ikaw,” “Dadalhin,” and “Ikaw Ang Lahat Sa Akin” with her. The number called for a standing ovation from the audience, after the singers returned to the Gary V hit, when Velasquez told Geronimo, “I love you so much.” Geronimo then squealed in excitement and joked, pointing at the audience, “Miss Reg, dapat nanunood lang ako diyan eh!”
The entertainment industry worldwide displays this trope that makes their artists appear so untouchable, they’d be compared to gods, but there is something about Velasquez that keeps her grounded. Yes, she is a queen. Yes, she knows how to command an audience. But she remains humble and real in every single way.
Velasquez called her mother Teresita onstage to sing Vera Lynn’s “You’ll Never Know” with a recording of her late father Gerry singing with them from the LED screen. It’s obvious where Velasquez got her talent from—her parents’ voices are just as beautiful. She knows it, and hopes to keep inspiring young artists to strive for their dreams. Velasquez saved her tribute to her father “The First Man in My Life,” a song Alcasid had written for her for later. Through her tears, she kept her composure as the powerful song transcended through the hearts of everyone under the roof of the Arena that night.
The spectacle continued with “Oceans” and Michael Bolton‘s “Go the Distance” before Velasquez took a breather for her encore “What Kind of Fool Am I.” Cannons shot metallic red confetti at the end of the song’s climax, a point where the crowd could no longer contain themselves anymore. A whole lot of them rushed up the steps to the stage for selfies, cutting the show short as security escorted Velasquez to her dressing room. As confetti continued to shower down into the audience, stars were left in their eyes. There will be another thirty years for Asia’s Songbird, and her legion of followers will loyally stick by her side. She has touched many hearts in the past three decades, cutting through generations, and has proven that your God-given talents are worth nurturing.
- “Call Me” with Lara Maigue
- “Hot Stuff”
- “Reason Enough”
- “In Love with you,” “Muli,” “Forever,” Please Be Careful with My Heart” medley with Mark Bautista, Erik Santos, and Jed Madela
- “Kung Kailan Pa,” “Sa’yo Na Lang Ako,” “Ok Lang Ako,” “Sabihin Mo Lang” medley
- “I Can” with Nate Alcasid, Mikee Cojuangco, and Donna Cruz
- “Nakalokal” with Ogie Alcasid
- “Kailangan Ko’y Ikaw,” “Pangako,” “Sa Piling Mo,” “Hanggang Ngayon,” “Pangarap Ko ay Ibigin Ka” medley with Ogie Alcasid
- “Narito Ako”
- “Weak,” “Butterfly, “We Will Rock You,” “Single Ladies” medley
- “Shake Your Groove Thing”
- “Sana Maulit Muli,” “Ikaw,” “Dadalhin,” “Ikaw Ang Lahat Sa Akin” medley with Sarah Geronimo
- “You’ll Never Know”
- “Leader of the Band”
- “The First Man in My Life”
- “Go the Distance”
- “What Kind of Fool Am I”