AVANZADO MARKS 16TH ANNIVERSARY
Dingdong: It's high time, indeed!
The first time I saw Dingdong Avanzado was 16 years ago
on Penthouse Live (remember the Fritz Ynfante-directed TV
show where Martin Nievara and Pops Fernandez met and fell
in love?). Dingdong was then a wide-eyed, innocent-looking
fresh La Salle graduate, just "weaned" from Kundirana
(the La Salle singing group). He looked like a little boy
lost, groping in the showbiz jungle. It was so long ago
that I don't even remember what song Dingdong was singing
- and how he was faring.
was particularly curious because he mentioned that, like
Boy Abunda and Aster Amoyo and yours truly, he's also a
Waray (from the revered Veloso Clan; his maternal grandfather,
Fernando, after whom Dingdong was named, was a well-loved
governor of Samar). Except for Nonoy Zuniga - and, of course,
Madame Imelda Marcos - I can't recall any other Waray who
has made it really big as a singer...can you?
last time I saw Dingdong was last Saturday at the Music
Museum where he marked his 16th anniversary as a singer
with a concert called High Time, an apt titled because it's
high time Dingdong is recognized for his contribution to
the industry. He has composed a dozen songs, released a
few albums and continues to enrich your and my life with
more and more songs. Through the years, Dingdong has remained
boyish (would you believe he's into his early 30s?) and
maybe we can attribute that to his petite build (he couldn't
be any taller than 5'5", I swear!).
was drizzling that Saturday night but, surprisingly, the
Music Museum was 97-percent full, with a sprinkling of celebrities
in the audience (Marissa Sanchez was there and were Dingdong's
mom Carina Flores, and so Bojo Molina and his wife who came
with the delegation from Guam). Even Aileen, mother of Dingdong's
very pregnant wife Jessa Zaragoza, was there, acknowledged
by Dingdong with a big smile. "Okay na kami ng mom-in-law
ko," Dingdong told the audience, referring to his and
Jessa's long-drawn misunderstanding with the mother who
initially frowned on the couple's romance. Also present
was Dingdong's 94-year-old grandmother Isabel Malvar-Villegas,
the last surviving daughter of Gen. Miguel Malvar, who recounted
the family history when Dingdong gave her the floor.
by Louie Ignacio (who also helmed Pangarap Kong Ibigin Ka,
Viva Films' Manila Filmfest entry topbilled by Christopher
de Leon and Regine Velasquez), High Time was opened by Jessa's
younger brother Lloyd (very promising!) whom Dingdong unwittingly
failed to acknowledge at the end of the show (honest mistake,
I assure you!).
bagets-style, Dingdong perked up the audience (which was
getting impatient because the show started at 9 p.m., one
hour behind schedule) with Tatlong Beinte Singko, followed
by a lovely rendition of I Love You More Today Than Yesterday.
hand to lend Dingdong support were friend Kyla, Regine Velasquez
and Ogie Alcasid (with the Whiplash as Dingdong's backup
dancers). Kyla did a duet with Dingdong before launching
into a solo number, Mariah Carey's Through the Rain. What
a voice! Very versatile! Give Kyla more time - and, knock
on wood, a few heart breaks - and she'll develop into a
seasoned singer who could easily topple a few so-called
"veteran" ones from their self-erected "thrones".
also did a duet with Dingdong before singing the theme song
of her Viva movie (yes, Pangarap Kong Ibigin Ka). She came
dressed in something flowery, prompting my seatmate to comment
in jest. "Look at her, wrapped in a table cloth and
getting away with it with flourish!" Before she disappeared
clotching a bunch of roses, Regine blew kisses to the now
animated audience, jokingly saying no, there wouldn't be
was fun watching Dingdong and Ogie exchanging fond recollections
(did you know, for instance, that Ogie was a "front
act" in Dingdong's show long ago?) and anecdotes. Their
duet of Kailangan Kita (Ogie's composition used as theme
song of the Aga Muhlach-Claudine Barretto movie) and Paalam
Na (composed by Dingdong for then girlfriend Rachel Alejandro).
a while, Dingdong's guest "threatened" to steal
the show from him. But it's all right. Dingdong understood,
I'm sure. "Guests" have to be accorded special
treatment; they're there not to fully satisfy but only to
whet the appetite of the audience.
two-hour show was "verbose," meaning there was
lots of talking before the singing, with Dingdong thanking
everybody profusely at every turn, summing up his overpowering
feeling of gratitude in the song You Made Me So Very Happy
which he sang toward the end of the show, and That's The
Way I Like I which was part of his finale medley.
the highlight of the show was Dingdong's duet (We've Got
Tonight) with wife Jessa (pre-taped) who couldn't be physically
present at the Music Museum because she is due anytime now
(girl, according to the ultrasound, to be named Jayda).
The number was reminiscent of the one Martin and Pops did
via hook-up during their separate concerts last February.
you, Dingdong (and company), for lighting up that wet Saturday
"high time," really!
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