by Momar G. Visaya/Asianjournal.com
LAS VEGAS – “Tonight, a star is born!”
With those words, Grammy-award winning composer and producer David Foster officially welcomed Charice to the musical world. And with those words, Charice made it to the consciousness of the audience inside the jampacked concert hall, who trooped to Vegas to watch a tribute to the musical genius that is Foster.
The event was the star-studded David Foster & Friends concert held Friday, May 23 at the Mandalay Bay Event Center. It was an almost fourhour musical extravaganza that featured tour de force performances from Foster’s friends such as Andrea Bocelli, Josh Groban, Michael Buble, Katharine McPhee, Peter Cetera, Brian McKnight, Babyface, and Boz Scaggs.
Charice, a day after the once in a lifetime show, was still on a natural high the following day when we had a chance to chat. “Ang tindi po ng nerbiyos ko kagabi. Sobra sobra. Para akong si Cinderella, kasi para siyang fairy tale. Para akong nananaginip lang. Parang hindi totoo,” Charice said, recalling the experience of the previous night.
Charice was the penultimate performer to take the stage and Foster introduced her as someone whose talent “you’ve never seen before”. She sang a medley of I Have Nothing and I Will Always Love You, from the movie TheBodyguard.
After her stellar performance, the audience rose to its feet and awarded her with a standing ovation. Trying to contain her tears, Charice exchanged high-fives with Foster.
Only three other performers received a standing ovation when they performed, and rightly so.
Foster received his the moment he entered the stage, Bocelli got his in each and every song he did and Groban got his standing ovation after his four-song set.
After her medley, Charice performed And I Am Telling You, the song that catapulted her into world-wide YouTube fame. With such poise, grace and precision, the young singer belted her way out of the Dreamgirls song and earned yet another standing ovation from the audience. Charice approached Foster and they hugged.
This was when the audience got up on their feet and cheered for the young singer. “That was just incredible. I can’t think of anybody who can top that,” Foster said, “Charice, don’t forget that name.”
“Nakakaiyak po, kasi hindi ko in-expect na makakapagperform ako sa harap ng ganun kadaming tao. Tapos kasama ko pa sa line-up sila Andrea Bocelli at saka Josh Groban,” Charice shared. When she reached backstage after her twin knockout performances, Charice said Andrea Bocelli congratulated her.
“Yun siguro yung pinaka highlight na. Yung kinongratulate ako ni Andrea Bocelli. Sabi niya sa akin sana daw next time, mag-duet kami ng The Prayer. Ako naman, parang, “Ha? Yes Of course, Thank you” kasi hindi ako makapaniwala. Dream na dream ko kayang makaduet siya. Sana matuloy,” she said.
Asked about her favorite part of the concert, Charice quipped, “Ah yung kay Bocelli po, kasi ang galling galling talaga niya kahit may kapansanan siya. Ang sarap sarap pakinggan ng kinakanta niya kahit hindi ko maintindihan kasi Italian.”
Concert viewers are one in claiming that Charice more than delivered the goods that night.
According to the Las Vegas Review Journal, “If Groban is one of Foster’s most renowned discoveries, this night truly belonged to a newer one, doe-eyed 16-year-old Filipino belter Charice, whose voice is like a jetliner taking off from her sternum.”
“Ang suwerte suwerte niyang bata. Ang galing galing niya! Just imagine. Para mapasama siya sa show na ito na puro superstars. This is really something,” a Filipino couple from North Hollywood exclaimed. Marisol Lagmay and some of her friends drove to Las Vegas earlier on Friday to catch the show.
“Nakakakilabot. Mangiyakngiyak kami when David introduced her as from the Philippines. I’m so proud of her. I’m so proud to be Filipino,” she said.
A trio of Caucasian fans expressed their admiration towards Charice. “She has an amazing voice, incredible presence and charisma. She’s very phenomenal and we hope she keeps this up. Definitely one of the best performers of the night,” they chorused.
Atty. Michael J. Gurfinkel and his wife who were both instrumental in Charice’s ascent to international stardom were quite emotional as well.
Like doting parents, the couple felt proud.
“It is very rare to see aFilipina talent on the stage, alongside the top names in the musical industry. We’re very, very happy for Charice for all the success she has been reaping,” Atty. Gurfinkel said.
A Filipina fan from Victorville was ecstatic. “Naka-bonus tayo. I didn’t realize that there was going to be a Filipino talent in this show. I’m very, very proud of her and her insanely big voice. Napaiyak ako sa kanya. She made all of the Filipinos in the audience proud,” she said.
In between the medley and her second song, Charice responded to Foster’s question about her and where she came from.
“I’m from the Philippines and I started singing when I was 4,” she said, and the Filipinos applauded wildly. “May mga Pilipino ba diyan?” she asked, and was met by louder screams.
Charice wore a black and gold number by noted Filipino designer Alan del Rosario, who also created Paula Abdul’s red dress during last week’s American Idol finale.
Tennis legend Andre Agassi introduced Foster and said that it was a great honor for him to introduce one of the greatest musical talents of our time. “He started with a vision, then it became a calling, and now it is a movement,” Agassi said as he described Foster’s other passion aside from music.
The musician has raised hundreds of millions of dollars for his own foundation which assists families with children in need of organ transplants and other causes such as the fight against cancer and AIDS.
One by one, a cavalcade of stars happened and performed a song or two with the man of the hour.
Kenny G, Michael Johns, Brian McKnight, Katharine McPhee, jazz artist Renee Olstead, Cheryl Lynn, country singer Blake Shelton, Boz Scaggs, Eric Benet, Peter Cetera and Andrea Bocelli, who was the finale of the first part of the show.
The second half opened with pianist William Joseph, followed by Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds, Michael Buble, then Charice and Josh Groban, who served as the evening’s finale, and as Foster said, “the only one person tonight who can follow Charice”. Groban performed five songs, including his signature hit You Raise Me Up and a duet of Bridge Over Troubled Water with McKnight.
“He is going to be around for a very, very long time,” Foster said of Groban. The illustrious Bocelli, who flew from Tuscany just for the show, had a larger than life stage persona and the audience just lapped at every song he sang. I had goosebumps listening to the man. To describe him as amazing would be an understatement.
He performed The Prayer with American Idol alum McPhee, who was just resplendent and captivating every time she appeared onstage. McPhee’s natural charm and her melodious voice are a potent combination. Michael Buble was the wild one in the bunch. He goofed around both in his performances and during the spiels. It was a welcome sight, especially for those who always see him in very formal clothes during very formal gatherings. He had spot numbers and sang Save the Last Dance for Me and his own duet, with country crooner Shelton as they sang their hit Home.
“I truly had no idea of the magnitude of his talent,” Foster said of Buble before he introduced the singer.
The $2 million one-night only musical event was filmed for broadcast this December on all PBS stations nationwide while the CD/DVD of the show will be released by Warner Bros. this fall.