Sunday, 23 June 2013

Concert Review: Rex Smith in Concert (Widus Resort & Casino, Clark Field, Pampanga)

1980s heartthrob Rex Smith

Kyle Vincent singing "Beautiful Girl"
The concert, at the 550-pax Widus Convention Hall, started with a front act by the equally talented American singer and songwriter Kyle Vincentalso the favorite opening act of international superstar balladeer Barry Manilow, who was once labeled as the "Crown Prince of Soft Pop" by Goldmine Magazine.  

He did a rendition of "Beautiful Girl," a song composed and popularized by our very own Jose Mari Chan.  
Members of the audience join in
Rex Smith took the stage with the upbeat son “Buttercup,” then followed it up, with his soulful voice, with his timeless hits “Don’t Give Up On Us,” “Forever,” “Speechless” and “Everlasting Love” (a 1981 Top 40 hit).  All throughout, he was backed up by the all-Filipino Decadas band and 2 female and a male backup vocalist. 
This was followed by a whirlwind journey of Broadway songs of Andrew Lloyd Webber, starting with “Phantom of the Opera,” “Music of the Night” and “All I Ask of You,” all backed by his 2 female vocalists (one performing a very high pitch note) Lara Cuevas and Donna Ricafrente alternating as Christine, the Phantom’s lady love.  
Rex then followed this up with the Grease staples “Grease Lightning,” “Summer Days,” “You’re The One That I Want” and “Hopelessly Devoted to You” and ended the Broadway tour with the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical Sound of Music hits “Edelweiss” and “Do-Re-Mi,” the latter accompanied with 4 handpicked guests (including our media colleague Paolo M. Abellanosa) from the crowd reprising the Von Trapp kids.
Rex and Kyle with their backup singers singing "Twist and Shout"

The beat was increased a little when Rex sang “Everybody Wants to Rule the World,” a 1985 hit song popularized by the British band Tears for Fears, and then lowered it down a notch with his soulful rendition of the Christopher Cross’ 1980 No. 1 hit “Sailing” plus his signature “Simply Jessie,” a song featured in a 1979 NBC TV movie Sooner or Later.  The latter song was supposed to end the show, but the crowd still wanted more of Rex and he obliged, returning to performed his hit “You Take My Breath Away,” then followed it up with the 1983 hit “True,” a song by another British band Spandau Ballet, then really got the crowd going with his final song, the Beatle’s hit “Twist and Shout” which he performed with Kyle Vincent, Lara and Donna. 
Widus Resort & Casino: 5400 Manuel A. Roxas Highway, Clark Freeport Zone, Pampanga 2023. Tel: (045) 499-1000. Fax: (045) 499-0979.  Manila booking office: 2311 Cityland Herrera Tower, 98 V.A. Rufino corner Valero St., Salcedo Village, Makati City. Tel: (02) 840-1430. Fax: (02) 840-1429.  Website:

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