Writing on Air

Writing on Air by Jim Paredes

Archive for March 16th, 2005

Can it get better than this? 24

Posted on March 16, 2005 by jimparedes

Boboy, Danny and I walked with jaws dropped and in awe as we gazed at the walls of the corridor leading to our spacious dressing room at the Sycuan Casino Theater in San Diego. There on the walls were pictures of some of the idols we adored when we were still very young performers—the Kingston Trio, Smothers Brothers, Doobie Brothers, Little Richard, Smokey Robinson, Frankie Valli, Manhattan Transfer, among others. Their posters were signed and displayed there. What a thrill it was to know that we were now going to perform on the same stage the two sold-out nights of March 10 and 11, 2005. Who knows, maybe next time we come back, our poster will also be displayed there!

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The Doobie Brothers!

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The Great Smokey Robinson

I normally do not enjoy staying at casinos. They are almost always noisy places, and there’s too much smoking. Also, I don’t have the slightest interest in games of chance. But Sycuan was exceptionally pleasant mainly because our rooms were 5 miles away from the gambling area and surrounded by open air and a golf course. There were flowers and trees, walk ways and pathways and the nice California sun to enjoy. The accomodations were big, comfortable with living rooms for guests. And I had one all to myself!

A big surprise for me on this trip was that after the shows, I was able to get people interested in buying my books which we sold together with the APO CDs we brought! A casino after all seems to be the last place to read any of my writings. At least, that’s how it seems to me, ha ha!

The two shows went extremely well. The theater had excellent sound and lights. And it’s always great to be working with the best. Our musicians from Manila, Boyet Pigao, Ernie Baldjay, Noel Santiago, Colby Dela Calsada, JD Villanueva are seasoned and very able players who have been with us on many tours and recordings. Our lighting director Mike Rodas, now a resident of San Diego is, (to borrow a Smart line), simply amazing! Just take a look at that picture of APO below and see for yourself! Butch Dans, our sound guy and manager for the 1st leg of the tour is awesome even as he doubles as sound engineer. And Sammy Samaniego, assistant, road manager, photographer and all around trouble shooter is irreplaceable. The APO couldn’t have been more blest!

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Galing mo, Mike Rodas!

For this tour, we ‘untangled’ many of our hits from medleys where they had been ‘trapped’ in for years, and did them as stand-alones. It was fun since they sounded new to us again. And it was great that the audience lapped it up. As an artist who does his own material, there’s a lot I can say about our kababayans overseas. They have been, in m my opinion, one of the greatest supporters of OPM these past many years. Where people in the Philippines are getting daily, large doses of American Pop and expecting to hear their performers sing like their American idols, the overseas Pinoy wants the Filipino experience, which means the OPM songs they knew and loved when they were back home.

And when they like the entertainers, they really show it not only during the show but also after. We are always showered with gifts as a sign of their delight and gratitude. It isn’t uncommon that we come home with t-shirts, pants, jackets, caps, banners, souvenirs, CDs, candies, chocolates, even medicines and vitamins from doctors, nurses who can get them free from hospitals. They also host golf games for Danny and Boboy, feed us at restaurants and their homes, give discounts to us in stores and services where they work or which they own. During the last tour, I had three free haircuts, plus bottles of shampoo, conditioner, and other stuff. To put it mildly, Filipino hospitality is unbeatable, for the simple reason that it is sincere and heartfelt!

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Mabuhay Ang Pinoy!

By tomorrow, I leave for Oxnard to stay with my sister and then do our Sacramento show at the Cache Creek Casino on the 20th of March. To perform music we make, and bask in the joy that the songs bring to people. Tell me, can it get any better than this?

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We’re on buses!

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