Sunday, February 8, 2009

Arnel Pineda joins Lani Misalucha U.S. Tour for a Cause

By Jay Fermin (FMG)

Anaheim, California: It was the Nightingale teaming up with the Journeyman! Lani Misalucha was joined onstage by Journey’s Arnel Pineda. And the house was packed for the Friday Concert at Heritage Forum last January 30, 2009. Excitement was in the air as close to a full house SRO crowd filled the theatre-in-the round as it is popularly referred too – the stage being in the middle of the venue.

Close to near capacity crowd of 2500 slowly took their seat as Season 3 American Idol Finalist Jasmine Trias opened the evening with intimate rendition of pop and R&B favorites at a little past 8 pm.

However, the excitement of the evening was Journeyman Arnel Pineda himself who for the first time joined the multi-awarded nightingale Lani Misalucha on this her 2009 multi-city U.S. Concert Tour.

Arriving at Burbank Airport shortly before noon, just the day after the U.S. tour opening night in San Jose Auditorium, Arnel Pineda took a quick rest at the hotel and proceeded to Heritage Forum for soundcheck. Tonight will be different from the rest of the U.S.Tour. Arnel will be performing in the first part of the concert and catch a flight to Tampa, Florida, where he will join his band Journey to perform on Superbowl Sunday Pre-Game show February 1, 2009.

Lani Misalucha, lovely as ever, opened the show with a couple of fast paced songs, circling the round stage in her white mini skirt to the delight of the packed crowd. However, what brought the house down was when Journeyman Arnel Pineda joined her onstage; the energy of the crowd, especially the ladies, was overpowering, testing the limits of stage security!

Arnel thanked the crowd’s overwhelming response by saying “Salamat po sa pag tangap ninyo sa akin !” (Thank you for accepting me!). He opened his set of seven songs with Journey’s own ‘Faithfully.’ The crowd pushed forward as he belted the opening lines “Highway run / into the midnight sun / wheels go round and round / you’re on my mind…” echoing with the guitar lead of the popular Journey anthem song.

Lani and Arnel however reminded the crowd before their duet that the greater purpose of their U.S. Tour is ABS-CBN’s Bantay Bata 163, a social welfare program which protects children in the Philippines from abuse. Part of the proceeds of the tour will go to the Children’s Crisis Center and the Children’s Village.

Going back to business, Journeyman Arnel completed his set with classic rock selections and capped his performance with another Journey favorite – “Open Arms.” The crowd now are pushing forward to touch Arnel’s hand as he rounds the stage singing “Lying beside you / here in the dark/ Feeling your heart beat with mine / Softly you whisper, you’re so sincere / How could our love be so blind….” The crowd rendered Arnel a standing ovation as he belted out the last line “So here I am with open arms / Hoping you’ll see / What your love means to me / Open arms.” He was rushed by security down the circular stage thru the pushing crowd into the safety of backstage. Tonight’s reverse format with Arnel singing earlier than their other concert venue of the U.S. Tour, took Lani a few minutes to bring the crowd back to her sweet rendition of heartwarming blend of pop, rock, jazz, soul, R&B, and opera!

The Nightingale again has caught the heart of America with Journeyman himself, with shows in Chicago, New Jersey, San Diego (February 8) and capping the tour in Guam (February 12). As promised, they have delivered something different, a fusion of the Diva and the Rock Star! Just in time before the Rock Star rejoins the band Journey for their 2009 World Tour.