Thursday, August 14, 2008

Guest Concert Review: Tony Hadley (GOLD)

Ladies, Gentlemen, and everyone in between... i proudly present what i hope will be the first of many... I bring to you BROKEN RECORD's first guest blog!!!

Delivered by a first rate music lover, a vocalist par excellence, a one-time showband frontman, a Kundirana veteran, and a member of an almost-was boyband called Soul Purpose back in... dammit, i forgot when... and even he has chosen to forget that episode in his life...

Should have been the linchpin of what became Jeremiah (THAT boyband...)... the inimitable (assuming anyone wants to imitate him in the first place)... Mr. Carlo Emmanuel Rodriquez Balingit!!!


Tarnished "GOLD"
by Carlo E.R. Balingit

Before anything else, I would like to warn you that I can’t write for shit and stuff I do get to jot down always end up a tad skewed, largely due to the fact that I just write things as they come to my head. You are reading this horrendous essay simply because the blog’s owner asked me to contribute my experience hoping that this initial contribution will start a chain of other contributors filing up his blogspot and hence turning his little corner of the cyberspace into a e-pop culture phenomenon… blah-blah… dream on…
So here goes the tragedy.

Pre-e-e-esenting, Gold! Ex-Spandau Ballet Tony Hadley (and John Keeble) in concert at the Araneta Coliseum… Ok, ok, gig’s up, I admit I belong to the minority that is anti Duran-Duran and pro Spandau Ballet, so shoot me for being TRUE (pun intended).

Really looked forward to this show, after all, unlike the last time Tony Hadley was in town, this time he had John Keeble with him (in idiot math that sums up to ¼ of Spandau Ballet.). Like, hell yeah, that’s as close to the full band as it’s ever going to get—me thinks.
Arrived at the venue a little under 7pm, since I thought that parking was going to be a bitch. Rumaged through the concession stands for snacks, and snuggly tucked myself ever-so-firmly on my seat… and waited…

and waited…

and waited…

and waited…

Then miraculously at a little over 8:40pm the house lights were turned down and the front act started their, uhm, act. Can’t seem to remember the band’s name, but what I do remember is that they sang the much personally despised PCSO radio/tv jingle. Seeing as this irritating form of so-called lyrical prowess is what made them famous (duh?), they covered that as well as a song entitled Miss, and a not so bad instrumental number… so ends act one.

Act two (yes, there’s a second act.). Now the second act was a bit interesting. This band of merry men go by the name Sabado Boys (Saturday Boys). Former front men for various local bands who have made a mark In the local band scene. These people being Luke Mijares, Paolo whatever, Mike Chan, DJ Mike, The Frestyle guy who looks like Aiza Suigerra and Jimmy “no-talent-whatsoever-so-help- me-god” Bondoc. As much as I’d like to dwell on how most of these guys were actually good and that Jimmy Bondoc deserves a spot in musical hell, I would rather just save that for some other time and move on to the main act… (Jimmy Bondoc deserves a spot in musical hell!)

After both acts, the venue is once again shrouded by darkness. As the crowd clap and hiss waiting for the main act to start. There was a 2 second chord struck by the back-ups, which the crowd thought was the beginning of the show, but unfortunately it was only a sound check conducted on the mikes… the audience once again begin their hissing. I mean I could relate, I’m getting tired of waiting myself—haha.

Then, small blue penlights start running all over the stage, as the hissing change into cheer. Then “BAM” vocals sound in unison with the instruments and the hair on the back of my neck. Then as the music played I saw Spandau’s front man take the limelight… I gasp and tell my star-struck self—damn he’s old.. and damn he’s fat. Now it’s sad since my brain isn’t cooperating with me and I can’t remember what the opening act was… was it She’s highly Strung or Lifeline? Honestly it didn’t matter I was re-living my musical teen years and that was enjoyment enough. Tony then took a break to greet the crowd and thank everyone for the very warm welcome with thank you, salamat, cheers capping each and every spiel.

I’d like to say that each song was delivered the way I remembered them but in truth Mr. Hadley improvised on the stanzas, which for me gave the song a breathe of new life. He covered all the Spandau songs like True, Round and Round, and my personal favorite Through the Barricades. Personally, though old, I think he has vocally matured well, technique has improved drastically, not that he needed improvement.

What came unexpectedly for me was when he started covering songs by other artists. U2’s “With or Without You”, a Duran-Duran song that I just can’t remember, an excellent version of Mike Cohn’s “Walking on Memphis”. Which started me thinking that “normally” once an artist starts filling in his show with songs that he never covered before, doesn’t it only show, if not prove, that his career fell so short that he does not even have enough material for a 90 minute show. Well, regardless of the fact, Hadley still “has it”.

Mr. Hadley improvised on the stanzas, which for me gave the song a breathe of new life.

Now going back on the “old” comment… lemme move-on to John Keeble. Now the guys was more wrinkled and bald but man, the way he assaulted those drums you’d think he was 18. Truly, Keeble proved that he can still hack it.

The show was closed with Gold as the crowd cheered to one of the most famous Spandau Ballet songs, and was later followed by two encore numbers that I have never heard.

All-in-all, the show was “enjoyable”. It brought a lot of people back into a time they well remembered, and I think… or would like to think, that above everything else that’s what music is really all about. Making each person lay back and relish our own lives personal GOLD (again, pun intended.).


I would like to thank Carlo Balingit for sharing his time, creativity and endless love for gay music. I hope you guys enjoyed the above review as much I tried... (kidding!) it was great!


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