Celeste Legaspi showed why she is regarded as one of the finest singers in the Philippines in her Mother’s Day showcase with ABS-CBN Philharmonic Orchestra led by Ryan Cayabyab held at the Shangri-La Plaza.
Although still recovering from a cold, Celeste gave a soul moving performance, with her voice remaining as exquisite as ever even after more than four decades in the business. For this performance, she and Ryan Cayabyab have unearthed his orchestral arrangements from her concert back in 1985 giving the young ones at the audience a chance to hear music that she described as vintage, classic, and timeless.
Celeste’s music were indeed proven timeless as the audience gave generous applause upon recognizing the opening strains of her greatest hits namely Tuliro, Gaano Ko Ikaw Kamahal, and Mamang Sorbetero.
She in turn gave tribute to Ryan Cayabyab aka Mr. C who celebrated his birthday less than two weeks before by singing one of his songs, Nais Ko. She was full of conviction when she expressed her desire for Mr. C to be awarded as National Artist for Music.
Her rendition of Lupa was epic as it was a masterful display of not just singing but also in communicating and being one with the song. I had goosebumps during this song and it felt like the entire mall was all ears during this number and this moment was only broken with the audience’s rapturous applause. It was remarkable that despite the usual noise inside the mall, Celeste commanded attention and was able to deliver heartfelt renditions of La Vie en Rose that she dedicated to her mother and the finale Never Ever Say Goodbye in which she was almost in tears.
The affair wasn’t just filled with tear jerkers as Celeste showed that she could sing anything with numbers like Bakyang-Bakya, Mister Musikero and a “classical” Pipit. Her encore, Minsan ang Minahal ay Ako, was also very well appreciated although there were clamors for her to sing Saranggola ni Pepe. This was actually played the by the spot on ABS-CBN Philharmonic Orchestra serving as an overture to the concert. The orchestra also did Liman-dipang Tao while Celeste took a breather halfway through the concert.
For me, it was during the upbeat numbers that the arrangements felt very 1980’s and somewhat dated but the ballads remarkably stood the test of time. I just wish that the Mamang Sorbetero was performed with the arrangement from the actual recording that had the strings, flutes, a slapping bass, and of course, the bells.
It is noteworthy that almost all of the songs that Celeste performed were in the Filipino language and also by local composers. Thank goodness that Shangri-La Plaza is a mall where Filipino music and artists are celebrated as evidenced by recent performances there by Joey G., South Border, Rivermaya, and Up Dharma Down. This reminded me of a controversy at a different mall when a rock band was forbidden to sing any songs in Filipino.
After the concert, a lot of senior citizens were brought back in time and became fangirls once again as they crowded around Celeste showering with her well wishes and having their photos taken with her. I saw a bunch of mothers and grandmothers who were very excited to have their children and grandchildren meet her. It was like the older set proudly showing their generation’s treasure to the younger ones. On the other hand, Ryan Cayabyab showed his mastery in taking selfies with fans who patiently waited in line. I wish that in the future, there will be a more organized meet and greet session for the convenience of the artist and the fans and also for everyone’s safety.