A date with Sergio Mendes in Manila
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I believe that parents shape the taste of their children. Not all of it, but some of it.
The music, I got from my dad.
I have fond memories of my dad in his music room with the hi-fi stereo and the huge headphones he would put on the ears of my siblings and I. And we heard the happy music of Sergio Mendes.

Sergio Mendes gives me warm, fuzzy memories of childhood and growing up in the ’70s.
I have never stopped loving his songs.
So when I heard he was coming to Manila, I really couldn’t miss the chance and booked the tickets online a week before. The moment wouldn’t be complete without my best friend Jeroen who appreciates the music too.

Jeroen van Straten

Traffic was a killer on Saturday so Jer and I left the house at 7 and reached the Smart Araneta Coliseum at 7:45 PM.
Cubao still has a wonderful ’70s vibe that’s so festive in the holiday season. I can’t remember seeing a Christmas tree this big, up close, ever.

Christmas in Cubao

Jeroen and I were so thrilled to see senior citizens all around, some of them with white hair and holding hands. So adorable.
We found our seats at the fifth row. At first we thought the place would be empty—the VIP section right in front of us certainly was.
Veteran jazz singer Jacqui Magno opened the show. Sadly she sang with a low-tech minus-one recording instead of a live band. She can’t hit the high notes anymore, had to sit in the middle of her set, and apologized for taking sips of water in between songs.
The audience didn’t seem to mind though and I certainly didn’t because she just added to that nostalgic vibe I was craving. She felt like an auntie singing at a family reunion.

Jacqui Magno

After Jacqui’s set, there was a 15-minute intermission. Jer and I looked for something to eat (sadly, not much choice at the coliseum). When we came back at 9 PM, the VIP area was already full.
Sergio Mendes came out in his signature Panama hat and yellow shirt.

Sergio Mendes in Manila

Just wow!

Sergio Mendes in Manila

His three singers included (L-R) his wife Granciha Leporace, Ayana Layli, and Katie Hampton

Sergio Mendes in Manila

“They sound exactly like the CD,” Jeroen noted.
Visually I was thinking I wish I could style them. What would I make them wear?
They sounded amazing though. Shot me right back to my father’s music room.
The concert also featured Sergio Mendes singer Joe Pizzulo, who is known for the hit song, Never Gonna Let You Go. I could imagine the lols finding him hot

Sergio Mendes in Manila

Joe Pizzulo certainly aged well. Look at him in 1984

At one point Sergio paused to acknowledge the presence of his good friend, Mr. Jorge Araneta, whose family owns the Araneta complex in Cubao. He also mentioned the presence of President Aquino who was seated at Lower Box with cabinet members and security guards.
That certainly added excitement to the evening. And yes, we saw him dance!
Also spotted: Mar Roxas, Frank Drilon, Herbert Bautista

President Aquino and friends

It was awesome to hear my favourite songs, like Pretty World, Goin’ Out of My Head, Look of Love, Girl From Ipanema, live and in person.
How I wish Sergio could live on and on, and how I wish I could pass on the music to my boys.
I’d like to thank Jeroen for coming with me and the awesome photographer, Magic Liwanag/Ovation Production for sharing the photos.
Thank you Dad, and thank you Sergio Mendes for the music.

If you want to know what the concert was like, here’s the exact concert (minus Joe Pizzulo) they performed in Vienne, France, earlier this 2014

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