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‘Face to Phase’ – a review

I didn’t know what to expect as I navigated through the traffic that rainy Saturday evening to watch the much publicized concert of comedy concert queen Ai Ai delas Alas and Dinagat Island Governor and performer Jade Ecleo entitled “Face to Phase.” I didn’t know what to expect because these two ladies come from different worlds, Ai Ai from show business and the Governor from politics, and can’t exactly figure out how these two worlds will come together through music.

Upon reaching the concert venue, the Aliw Theatre, I was surprised to see people queuing up to get in. My surprise was partly because the other star of the show, the governor, is a relative unknown in terms of public persona especially here in Metro Manila where the concert was held. If it were held in Dinagat Island, then that would be a different story.

Even for a more seasoned and celebrated performer, to fill a 2,000 plus venue like Aliw Theatre is a tall order. As I made myself comfortable in my seat, I was still half believing as I saw the venue filled almost to its full capacity. I told myself that maybe the comedy concert queen has such loyal following that they would really brave the rain to support their idol but from the screams and applause that greeted the governor as she appeared on stage for her intro production number, I figured that the majority of the audience were actually from Dinagat Island and they were there in support of the Governor and her JEV Foundation which is the beneficiary of the concert.

From the first number to the last, the governor showed that she can give any more seasoned performer a run for his/her money. The fluidity by which each number was executed just goes to show that the production was well thought of and planned. A standout was the Governor’s haunting rendition of the ballad “If I Could” which allowed the audience to take a glimpse at the softer, feminize side of the Governor – that of being a mother. The production design, that of the Governor suspended in mid air on a beautifully decorated swing supported by an almost invisible harness, further heightened the drama of this piece. Another noteworthy production was the well executed tango dance number of the Governor performed with such eloquence and grace thus, highlighting the years she spent with the Bayanihan dance troop. A heartfelt rendition of the Tagalog classic “Handog” proved to be a perfect ending as this song embodies what the show is all about – a governor giving back to her people.

Not to be outdone, Ai Ai delas Alas shows why she is on top of her game. From her candid commentaries to her spontaneous repartee with her audience, Ai Ai captivates. Her impeccable timing, her ability to laugh at herself and the wit by which she pulls it off truly puts her on a league of her own. Although not really a gifted singer, Ai Ai more than makes up for it with her trademark humor and strong, raspy singing style.

Commendable performances were also given by the two guests: Dingdong Avanzado and Erik Santos. Although belonging to different eras, these two showed that talent and charisma are indeed universal and timeless. A welcome surpise that evening was the special participation of MMDA Chairman Bayani Fernando. Singing his signature song “Lahat Tayo’y Tsuper,” the chairman showed that he can carry a tune. A highlight of the concert was the production number of all the performers as they performed a medley of “Telenovela Theme Songs.” Peppered with a little comedy, since apparently it is impossible for Ai Ai to maintain a straight face amidst a serious, heart-wrenching material, overall this number still managed to thug at the heart strings.

The concert was indeed a celebration of two lives brought together by a common love for music and performing. It exemplifies that no matter how different two people are, there will always be a common ground somewhere that brings the two worlds of these two very distinct people together.

“Face to Phase” showed the public that night that, though two people come from different worlds, these two worlds can fuse together and blend beautifully as one through music, laughter, life, love, and of course... BEAUTY! -LOVELY RIVERO, MB

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