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The comic side of Arnel Pineda

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The comic side of Arnel PinedaFUNFARE By Ricardo F. Lo 
February 19, 2009 12:00 AM

You never knew that Arnel Pineda, now a US mainstream artist being the lead vocalist of Journey, has a comic side, did you?

According to Funfare’s Big Apple correspondent Edmund Silvestre (of The Filipino Reporter), Arnel displayed this hitherto unknown side of him during his Feb. 7 concert with Lani Misalucha at the Newark Symphony Hall in Newark, New Jersey, presented by Calla Lily Entertainment Production.

Reported Edmund, “The two artists delivered not only world-class performances but also first-rate Pinoy humor.”

The electrified crowd gasped at the splendid talents and undeniable chemistry of the two stars, giving them standing ovations every now and then, and in between burst into laughter as the two made fun of themselves, from Lani’s legs and knees to Arnel’s being vertically challenged.

Edmund said that in one segment, Arnel quipped, “Call me Piolo,” prompting Lani to introduce him as Piolo Pascual. “Just look at me, hindi ba magkamukha kami ni Piolo?,” Arnel added with a straight face.

“Pagbigyan na lang natin maliit kasing tao,” Lani shot back.

It’s no secret that Arnel’s fairy tale life began in a less than desirable environment. But the guy was never rude and was always polite to enthralled fans who every now and then would steal kisses from him.

The comic side of Arnel Pineda“Arnel was actually a gentleman and a humble soul,” continued Edmund, “allowing Lani the music goddess to shine even more even if he knows he’s the bigger star in terms of international exposure and recognition. That night, everyone was still talking about Arnel and Journey’s Super Bowl pre-game performance in Tampa, Florida, a week earlier.”

Here are excerpts of a review of the Lani-Arnel New Jersey concert written for Funfare by Fil-Am contributor Dawn Fraser, titled A supercalifragilistic show:

There are few singers who can pull off as diverse a range of musical styles as Lani Misalucha and Arnel Pineda...

...As the opening beats of Whitney Houston’s Queen of the Night blared from the stage of the beautiful concert hall, Misalucha strutted out in her daringly short red mini-dress and gold peeptoe pumps. With no shortage of attitude, she belted out Houston’s power single, accompanied by the cheers and screams of an exuberant audience.

She followed up this demonstration of raw vocal power and confidence with a more subtle, but no less lovely performance of Natalie Cole’s Orange-Colored Sky. This jazzy ‘50s standard showcased the glorious clarity and enchanting vibrato of Lani’s voice that has deservedly earned her the title of Asia’s Nightingale...

But as I was to discover, Misalucha is more than just a pretty singing voice. She is a gifted impressionist as well. In a highly comedic medley, she managed to parody Tina Turner, Beyoncé Knowles, Celine Dion and Britney Spears to hilarious effect. Every vocal inflection, every signature dance move, every facial tic was spot on.

Nor were the Filipina divas spared the Misalucha treatment. Zsa Zsa Padilla, Sharon Cuneta, Jaya, Regine Velasquez and Pilita Corrales — all were fair game, and the audience loved every minute of it.

Then it was Pineda’s turn to shine. He began with a pitch-perfect performance of The Police’s Every Breath You Take, followed up Bryan Adams’ Summer of ’69 and, of course, a Journey song — Faithfully. Throughout his whole set, the women in the audience could barely contain themselves, calling out his name and rushing the stage. Pineda took it all in stride, climbing down into the seats and shaking hands with audience members, taking time to sing directly to a fortunate few...

...When Pineda had finished his solo set, Lani re-emerged in a long and flowing, white goddess gown. Together, they sang a duet of Bette Midler’s From A Distance, while footage from the charitable organizations Bantay Bata and the Arnel Pineda Foundation played in a montage behind them. Both these charities, funded in part by the proceeds from the concert, seek to improve conditions for disadvantaged children in the Philippines...

...Misalucha and Pineda then sang a medley of Queen’s greatest hits, including We Will Rock You, Another One Bites The Dust, Bohemian Rhapsody, and We Are The Champions, before Misalucha took the stage for her final solo set. Her beautiful rendition of Giacomo Puccini’s Nessun Dorma was absolutely memorable, made all the more remarkable by the fact that it was book-ended by two hard-rock songs. The ease with which Misalucha is able to switch from genre to genre is mind-boggling. Her operatic technique is so flawless and natural, she is able to insert elements of an aria into something as intrinsically foreign as Laklak, a Pinoy rock song about a drunken teenager, all without missing a beat.

Pineda rejoined Misalucha for the final song of the evening, a duet of Journey’s Open Arms. Like so many of the performances before it, this song, too, was greeted with a standing ovation, by an audience overwhelmed by the superlative concert by the two artists.

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