Month: November 2013

Set the World on Fire – Live in MANILA 2013

akHow do I even begin?

It was the BEST show I have ever watched! Worth all the penny! Alicia Keys, the multi-awarded Grammy winner and an awesome singer-songwriter has totally set Manila on fire. It was a night to remember, one of the best nights of my entire life!

Gotta be honest, I didn’t come without apprehensions. I am a big fan. Bought the ticket as soon as it’s available but I was quite worried she won’t deliver her best seeing some of her strained live performances on YouTube. But I am so glad she proved me wrong. She gave her all, poured her heart and soul in the hour-and-a-half, almost-non-stop-singing show! Her energy is vibrating, her spirit is uplifting us all.

She started the show with her signature line for the Empire State of Mind. Then she jumped to the upbeat Karma. This is her usual opening song and I’m never tired of listening to this!

She went back and forth to old and new songs. Highlights are Tears Always Win, Like You’ll Never See ME Again, A Woman’s Worth, Fallin’, Listen To Your Heart and the mash-up between Limitedless and Murder She Wrote. The level of musicality in all these performances is off the charts! Her two back-up singers brought the house down as they performed for an intermission a cover of You’re All I Need to Get By.

My phone was acting up that’s why the video started in the middle of the first stanza.

I remember the voice rehearsals video I have watched a few months back in her preparation to the tour. This is the song she’s learning to sing properly. Just shows that even the best should not stop learning.

One of my all-time favorite songs! No words can describe how I felt watching her sing this live!

This song is from her Unplugged album. Have my original DVD copy of the intimate concert she had at New York. The lyrics may sound cheesy but it’s a perfect choice if you wanna sing-along.

The second half of the concert is definitely heart-warming, soulful and touching. Brand New Me was sung perfectly! Alicia Keys told her story of how excited she was to come back to the Philippines. And how it even became purposeful after the devastating super typhoon Haiyan.

I was shaking when she dedicated her most popular song, If I Ain’t Got You to our fellow Filipinos who suffered from the disaster. I think I was shaking when she started singing and I was in total awe when the Asia’s Songbird, Regine Velasquez stepped into the stage.

It was my first time to see Regine perform live. She’s amazing. She did her thing without overpowering Alicia Keys. And I loved the adlib where she thanked Alicia. So sweet! Then Alicia sang back at her and the whole country. What an incredible moment!

I applaud Alicia Keys for being such a humble person. If I Ain’t Got You is her signature song and I think it’s her most popular one. Other global superstars would want to own that and not share it with the other singers unless of course if it’s a tribute to them or something. But she did share it with one of our own singers. All for her love to us, Filipinos. This, for me, signifies how she extends her helping for those who are in need, how she willingly share what she has to fully connect to the people she’s with. I was teary-eyed and there I was thinking that it was the most special part of the show.

Next song was her number one hit, No One. All cellphones are up in the sky to light the whole arena. It was magical! It feels good to be part of something that cool! What made it more special is the chant-like group singing of the crowd as Alicia belts out the chorus.

Still paying tribute to the Haiyan victims, No One was mashed up with BEP’s Where is the Love. Crowd went nuts when Alicia Keys introduced another Filipino international artist, Apl de Ap ( I just realized I know the words to his rap in the song). Everyone was on their feet. And that is THE pivotal moment of the show. The crowd’s energy is so overwhelming I feel like the show won’t end anytime soon.

But it did. Just like everything else. Few more songs were performed — New Day, Girl on Fire and of course, Empire State of Mind where Alicia Keys changed New York to Manila in the last chorus.

I’m still bummed I wasn’t able to take videos of them because my phone was acting up! I am short of memory that I had to erase all songs and most apps (thank God, there’s iCloud!)

I am happy as I leave the arena. Though I know this would subside and I cannot help but  feel the post-concert depression. She ended the show with a note through this video. I was hoping she would sing 101, but at least I got this last part 🙂

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CAUGHT ON FIRE!

Book 2 of any trilogy is crucial. It’s both the sequel and the penultimate part of the saga. Its main goal is to deepen the story and introduce more secondary characters to widen the world we’ve been crazy about on Book 1. But sometimes, diving on to the back stories and supplying more conflict can either be boring or overwhelming.

hunger-games-catching-fire-poster-banner-1

Catching Fire, second installment from The Hunger Games trilogy is neither. It’s just right for my dystopian palate. After reading the book twice, I finally got a chance to see the much-awaited movie today and it was really awesome! The action, the drama and the twists are a notch higher than the first one but not over-the-top. You will cry, shout, chuckle and even get all jittery as Katniss and Peeta sojourns through all the districts for their Victory Tour ending with the re-entrance to the arena for the 75th Hunger Games/ 3rd Quarter Quell.

As an avid fan of the book, I am generally happy with the adaptation. Of course, there are scenes omitted (but for a good reason — preparation for Mockingjay) and the ones retained are closest to the original text in the book! I was even quietly going through some lines myself while in the movie house as they say some familiar lines (ie. Haymitch’s “stay alive” advise to Katniss at the eve of the Games). I am also amazed with how accurate most of the new characters are with the book’s description. I find the actors who played Mags, Johanna, Wiress, Plutarch and Thread perfect for their roles! I am not a big fan of Sam Claflin playing as Finnick. He’s fine in the movie though but I’d like to see somebody else playing his role.

I am at the edge of my seat in the duration of the film. Even during the quietest moments of it, I can feel the tension of what’s going around. There’s so much more to tell and I am happy and satisfied by how much of it was told in the 2 plus hours of the film.

Best movie I have seen this year!

Here’s the trailer: