Al Jarreau/George Benson Take Manila by Storm (literally!!!)

I am a jazz lover and a child of the 70s/80s in terms of my music taste. There is a wide range of jazz artists I listen to but 2 of my favorites are Al Jarreau and George Benson. When a friend told me that they were holding a one-night concert in Manila, I called up yogini friend Chona who agreed to watch with me. This was my first concert again — in ages!!! And I am not exaggerating!

On the night of September 8, just when Chona and I were waiting to be seated at Italiannis Gateway, the heavens opened and a downpour of cinematic proportions came crashing down on the entire Araneta Coliseum area. Many of those eating dinner at Italiannis, like us, were just waiting for showtime. We even spotted some politicos in nearby tables as well as parents from my sons’ school. Seemed like my generation was coming out in full force to see the power duo of jazz!

Chona and I had Upper A tickets and as we purchased early on, we had a front row view. The show was delayed for half an hour due to the rains but as promised, it started at exactly 8:30 PM. And wow, these 2 did not fail me.

Al Jarreau started out the first set. Is this guy already 68 years old? Well, he belted out songs with the same timbre and versatility he had from decades ago!  His vocals were intact! I heard snippets from different songs: “Berimbau”, “Mais Que Nada”, “Agua de Beber”, and even “Girl from Ipanema” sang in that all-too-familiar Jarreau voice like no other. My only disappointment? He did not do “Spain”!!! 😦

The next set was George Benson and personally, I loved him better because he sang many of the songs I loved: “Nothing’s Gonna Change My Love for You”, “In Your Eyes”, “Give Me the Night”, “Turn Your Love Around”, “Love Times Love”, and others.

If we talk of performance level, Al Jarreau stood out because he had a flair for playing around with his vocals and the songs, being playful with the audience and the band. But in terms of music to my ears, George Benson’s repertoire was IT!

They did a jazz piece together bringing the audience to its feet, clapping, dancing and singing along. And when everyone roared for an encore, they sang “On Broadway”.

The blogger in me wanted to bring a digicam but I was not sure of Araneta’s rules. I should have listened to my instincts! The video snippets I took from my camphone leave much to be desired.

But just to give you an idea of what we experienced the night that the Jarreau/Benson tandem took Manila by storm, here are some of them (warning: the visuals suck with the camphone I had. But the music is still awesome).

Thank you, Al Jarreau & George Benson, for a wonderful, nostalgic trip back to a wonderful time in my life. It was a night I would long remember and relish.

Turn Your Love Around

Nothing’s Gonna Change My Love for You

In Your Eyes