I first became aware of Christian Bautista when he joined the Star in a Million singing contest at ABS-CBN in 2003. He came across as a Josh Groban wannabe because the songs he sang. The said contest was eventually won by Eric Santos with Sheryn Regis as First Runner-up. Personally, I thought Sheryn should have won because I felt goosebumps while watching her perform in the finals (but that's for another blogpost). Later, I would remember reading about Christian starring as Tony in the local production of the stage musical West Side Story.
Christian signed up as a recording artist with Warner Philippines which promptly promoted his albums in Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and Singapore where he earned kudos as a singer and as Asia's Prince of Pop.
Early this year, I saw his latest CD, Romance Revisited - The Love Songs of Jose Mari Chan at the Odyssey Stall in Robinsons Place Gensan. That got my undivided attention instantly, being a Jose Mari Chan fan ever since I heard his Refrain on the radio. The CD contains 19 well-loved and relatively under-appreciated Chan songs: Tell Me Your Name, I Remember the Girl, I Have Fallen in Love (with the Same Woman Three Times), Stay My Love, Afterglow, Refrain, Constant Change, among others.
Listening to Christian's CD at home made a convert of me! I was surprised by the freshness of the arrangements and how the songs and Christian's voice are a perfect fit. And at the same time, I was in awe of the musical gift of Jose Mari and the time-unbound quality of the songs.
While relishing Christian's versions of Chan's compositions, I remember the first Jose Mari's concert I attended here.
Flashback: In the late 80s, Kimball's Christmas promo featured a free ticket to Jose Mari Chan's concert at the Dadiangas Parish Center for a certain amount of purchase at their grocery section. During the concert, Jose Mari Chan regaled his adoring audience with songs he had composed which ran the gamut from A to Z. I also spotted a svelte Avel Manansala , together with his brother Orman, at the ringside flashing a cartolina on which was written his song request to be sung by Jose Mari Chan. When he finally sung Avel's request, the latter couldn't stop himself from clapping with glee. In the audience too were young sweethearts Jinky and Arnel Borela.
As I'm writing this blogpost, I can already visualize myself with Avel and fellow bloggers clapping with glee as we watch Christian's Constant Change concert on April 23 at the Lagao Gym, Gensan. I can already hear the Manansala brothers and I - us three being of a certain age - singing along the songs close to our hearts. I can already see the bloggers rushing to and from the front of the stage for photo ops. I can already see Jinky and Arnel reminiscing their good old days of courting and romance. I can already feel the thrill of having to pose with Christian backstage after the concert and having him autograph my copy of his Romance Revisited CD. I can already hear myself humming the tunes on my way home after the concert. Already, I know it's going to be a night of discovery and rediscovery.
This blogpost was written in consonance with GenSan News Online Mag and Christian Bautista’s Constant Change GenSan Concert blog contest. The concert's co-presentors and major sponsors Drumbeat Ventures, Starbright Office
Depot, Vertical Builders, DGO Depot and the Office of the City Mayor of GenSan.