It was ‘good, good night’ for Filipinos at the Greek Theater: Boom Boom Pow!

The crowd just went crazy. Photos by Tet Valdez &  Evangeline Rodriguez  of TheFilAmLA

The crowd just went crazy. Photos by Tet Valdez & Evangeline Rodriguez of TheFilAmLA

By Dante D. Ochoa

It could easily be the show “Filipinos Got Talent” when Rebuild! Philippines got underway early evening Sunday, June 8 at the iconic Greek Theater in Los Feliz Hills, this City of Angels, California. Billed as a benefit concert produced by apl. de. ap Foundation International (ADAFI) for Haiyan typhoon victims of Tacloban, Leyte, and headlined by three-quarters of the Black Eyed Peas, it pulled together some 5000 ecstatic BEP fans, delivered fun and entertainment and drew as usual, a whole lot of noise.

The fans got their early look of the performers as they walked in on the welcome red carpet with the media types having a field day of interviews and photoshoot. The Filharmonic (NBC – Sing Off) and the Jazmin Sisters even put on display samples of their talent in the roped-off area to the delight of the media and onlooking fans.

The concert started a little late but the crowd was patient, perhaps knowing that with so many seats still unfilled, it must be the “Filipino time” thing that pushed the opening performance back some thirty minutes. But the show finally got started by the lovely KTLA news anchor Cher Calvin while Nia Peeples (Fame, Young and the Restless) took over hosting shortly after.

While the show opener was unexpectedly sedate, the fans easily swung into a concert mode with the string of very impressive Filipino talents that range from standup comedians, hip hop artists, a standout dance crew, pop radio Fil-Am DJs, a capella singers, and a prodigy pianist-singer.

Hip hop dance crew JabbaWocKeez, winner of the first season of America’s Best Dance Crew and a hit in Las Vegas hotels, now with a regular show at the Luxor Hotel and Casino, was easily the top crowd pleaser among the pre-BEP offering which included the NBC’s Sing Off discovery The Filharmonic, popular L.A. YouTube sensation AJ Rafael, Slapshock, Yardnoise, the Jazmin Sisters, Q-Bert, DJ Poet, Philippine Chamber Singers, Miguel Antonio the teen singer-pianist, among other performers. Antonio, thirteen years old, showed a lot of promise as he wowed the crowd with Billy Joel’s Piano Man, making them want for more but to no avail. The show was running late and the theater’s extended show penalty was looming. Standups Jo Koy (Comedy Central) and Joey Guila (The Improv) more than ably provided the laughs reminding the mostly Filipino American audience of their heritage’s uniqueness and humor (Rex Navarete, where were you?). The Binibining Pilipinas USA 2014 contestants were just pure knockout on the stage as they were at the red carpet.

The trio of will.i.am(William Adams), apl.de.ap(Allan Pineda Lindo), and Taboo(Jaime Gomez) of the Black Eyed Peas took to the stage after Leah McFall (The Voice-UK) performance, to the thunderous welcome of an appreciative crowd already on their feet before anyone can say BEP.

Boom Boom Pow was the opening salvo and the crowd just went crazy. Followed up by Bebot, which title comes from Filipino slang for “hot babe” among other versions, is a rap solo by apl.de.ap a la “The Apl Song” of their 2003 album Elephunt. Bebot, uptempo for party and club music, is a tribute to his Philippine childhood and upbringing so one can tell where apl’s devotion to the country of his birth is coming from:
. . .
Bebot bebot bet
Bebot bebot bet
Ikaw ay
Filipino, Filipino
. . .
Yung bahay o kubo
Pag-ibig mo ay tutoo
Puso ko’y laging kumikibo
Wala kang katulad sa mundo
. . . .
Filipino, Filipino
Filipino, Filipino
. . .

Then, “I Gotta Feeling” drew up all arms in the air and then the wave, most of all, for the non-Filipinos lining up the row of seats in front of me. One can tell the true blue fans, the club regulars, at that. Honestly, next week’s ballroom dancing lessons were furthest from my mind. Yo, Black Eyed Peas!

Taboo’s latest recording Zumbao, wildly received by the crowd, rounded out the performance from all three quarters of the Black Eyed Peas. The show ended late by 11 but the fans lingered on in and around the amphitheater way past that.

The event certainly looked like a sure money-maker rewarding ADAFI executive director Ted Benito who put together the first leg of a series of two concerts to raise funds for rebuilding projects in the Philippines. Next stop: “After the Storm” concert in Washington, D.C. on June15 to be sponsored by the U.S. Philippines Society of Washington D.C. Benito revealed the lineup: Apl.de.Ap, Lea Salonga, Lou Diamond Phillips, violinist Joshua Bell, the soloist from Joffrey Ballet, Cristina and Rodel Rozelle, and many more.

apl.de.ap no less.

apl.de.ap no less.

TheFilAmLA Editor-Publisher Cecile Ochoa with apl.de.ap Foundation chief Ted Benito

TheFilAmLA Editor-Publisher Cecile Ochoa with apl.de.ap Foundation chief Ted Benito

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