Wednesday, 14 May 2014

Concert Review: The Cascades and the Classics IV Live in Manila

John Claude Gummoe of The Cascades

(Excerpt from my article featured in www.pep.ph)
I have attended many concerts before but never have I seen so many musical talents, both foreign and local, in one show until now.  The Cascades and the Classics IV Live in Manila concert, a special one-night only concert presented by Steve O’Neal Productions and concert venue Solaire Resort & Casino and held last May 14, proved to be just that.  

The front act featured the talented local quartet of Mark Mabasa (a finalist of the X-Factor Philippines Season 1), Lilibeth “Beth” Garcia (3rd in the Women's series in the 2012 Karaoke World Championships), Lucky Robles (Unang Hirit Morning Star) and John Vincent “JV” Decena (2012 KWC Philippines representative in the 2012 Karaoke World Championships) performing “After The Love Has Gone” (A 1979 Earth, Wind & Fire hit single) and “Nobody’s Gonna Stop Us Now” (A Starship hit). Mark also did a solo rendition of “A Song For You,” a 1972 Carpenters’ hit. 
JV Decena, Beth Garcia, Mark Mabasa and Lucky Robles
The Classics IV, next on the ballroom stage, is an American band formed in 1965 that is given credit for beginning the "soft southern rock" sound.  This was their first visit to the country and they regaled the Filipino audience with their hits (released from 1967 to 1969) “Stormy,” “Traces” (their highest charting hit, reaching No. 2 in 1969) and “Spooky,” which have become cover standards, as well as “Every Day With You Girl,” “Change of Heart” (1970) and “Unchained My Heart,” a 1987 Joe Cocker hit. 
The Classics IV

Another special guest performer and 3-time Philippines visitor was Hollywood singing sensation Kyle Vincent. Kyle, who used to front act for Barry Manilow (and was managed by Manilow’s people), was also the front act of another concert I saw, that of Rex Smith held at Widus Resort & Casino in Clark in 2013.  

A Filipino crowd favorite, he first sang Carole King’s “It’s Too Late,” then mingled with the audience while singing “I Like Dreamin” (a 1977 Kenny Nolan hit) before performing, on keyboard, his own composition “Let Me Let Go.”  Amazingly, he also sang a Tagalog song, “Hanggan,” a Wency Cornejo original.
Kyle Vincent 
Kyle Vincent mingling with the audience
The final hour of this 2-hour concert was reserved for the main act - John Claude Gummoe, the founding member, lead vocalist and songwriter of the hit 1960s group The Cascades. 

Interestingly, the Cascades, whom I have thought to have met their untimely demise in a plane crash in the late 1960s, is actually alive and well, first performing in the country in 2005. 

During the concert, John was accompanied on stage by second generation members Gabe Lapano and Tony Grasso, as well as musical director Chuck Crews and a fantastic group of Filipino musicians  (including keyboardist and official member Carlo Gaa) and 3 Filipino back-up singers who have been working with John for about three to four years. 
John Gummoe and The Classics IV signing autographs
During the show, the now 76 year old John, who loves performing to Pinoys (whom he describes as “innately musical”), sang the Cascades’ 13 hits - “Let Me Be,” “There’s A Reason,” “My First Day Alone,” “Dreamin’,” “First Love Never Dies,” “Punch and Judy,” 2 versions of “Rhythm of the Rain (certified by ASCAP as the 9th most performed song in the USA),” “All The Way to Yesterday,” “Shy Girl,” “Lucky Guy,” “I Wanna Be Your Lover,” “Angel On My Shoulder” and “The Last Leaf.” 
John, who calls Jose Mari Chan “a genius,” also sang Chan’s (who was among the audience that evening) signature OPM hit “Beautiful Girl.”  John, also a big fan of the Everly Brothers, also did a tribute to this iconic singing duo (whose other half, Phil Everly, died last January 3) where every backup singer sang a duet with John, harmonizing the Everly Brothers’  hits “All I Have To Do is Dream,” “Devoted to You” and “I’ll Do My Crying in the Rain.”  He also sang a duet with Kyle, rendering “I Bless the Day I Found You.” Two of the Filipino backup singers also enthralled the audience when they belted out “The Prayer,” a popular David Foster song. 
Also during the show, John also did a sing-a-long with the audience, one of his favorite parts of any of his shows, belting out the Peter, Paul and Mary hit “Puff the Magic Dragon” and the Sound of Music staple “Do Re Mi,” among others, which the audience all loved.  After, the show, John, as well as Kyle Vincent and members of the Classics IV, autographed CDs of their respective song albums (John for his latest released CD called “50th Anniversary Rhythm of The Rain,” which includes 3 versions of “Rhythm of the Rain” among other new stuff). 

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