Nearly two decades since Regine Velasquez performed on the steps of the National Museum, in an iconic music moment in the country, the hitmaker still considers the concert as one of her most memorable throughout her storied career.
Velasquez recalled fondly the 2002 show, “One Night with Regine,” during a recent virtual conference for her upcoming digital concert, “Freedom,” to be streamed live on KTX.ph on February 14.
That Velasquez, 50, continues to stage grand concerts in her 35th year in showbiz, while remaining visible on television, is a testament to her enduring popularity as the “Queen of OPM” (a title she has declined).
In fact, in the weeks leading up to “Freedom,” footage of Velasquez’s decade-old concerts have been circulating on social media, with many of her fans, both long-time “adik” (the singer’s term of endearment) and newly-professed “Reginians,” exchanging notes on their most favorite of the dozens the singer has staged.
For Velasquez, an instant answer to that question would be “One Night with Regine,” which she still regards to this day as a career milestone.
“That was a huge concert that ABS-CBN gave me,” she said. “That was my dream, to perform at the National Museum, and they made it a reality for me, so thank you, ABS-CBN.”
Held on April 26, 2002 — four days after Velasquez’s birthday — the concert was both a personal celebration and a benefit program for ABS-CBN’s Bantay Bata 163.
The setup: Velasquez faced her audience, who were situated on a portion of the Agrifina Circle, as she performed on the steps of what is now the National Museum of Anthropology, with an imposing, stylized “R” structure that spanned its façade.
Velasquez was accompanied by the 85-piece San Miguel Philharmonic Orchestra and the 55-piece San Miguel Master Chorale, with now-National Artist for Music Ryan Cayabyab as musical director.
“That was the last time na nagkaroon [ng ganoon],” she said.
“Wala pa ako sa ABS-CBN noon, e, but they gave it to me,” said Velasquez, who formally signed with the network in 2018. “It was such an honor. Thank you, ABS, for giving me that beautiful [concert]. Up to now, [it is] one of the most memorable concerts I’ve ever done.”
Now gearing up for her latest major concert, “Freedom,” Velasquez said her long-time fans can expect a fresh repertoire that reflects a personal journey.
“‘Freedom’ is really more personal for me,” she said of the show’s title. “I wanted to be free of all these things — anxiety, fear, expectations of people. I wanted to be free of that.”
As a performer, Velasquez said she wanted to be “free” to explore genres her listeners are not accustomed to hearing from her, hence what she teased as an unusual lineup of songs.
In her personal life, she shared that like most, she is longing to be “free” from the pandemic that continues to claim lives and livelihood. “We all want to be free. We want to be able to go out and do what we used to do. Go to work, eat in a restaurant, without being afraid,” she said.
The same limitations due to the pandemic led to Velasquez’s traditional Valentine concert being held for the first time virtually. However, she said she has prepared no less for “Freedom” as she has for her physical concerts.
The digital show will run for about two hours, with some 20 numbers, according to Velasquez. (M. Dumaual, abs-cbn)