The Philippine Star
A cause for celebration
Leah C. Salterio
When former Side A vocalist Joey Generoso recently marked his 30th year in the music business, the event was indeed a cause for celebration. Joey staged a well-received and highly-successful concert, Joey G Beyond: Three Decades of Music, at the Theater at Solaire.
The crowd was clearly Side A’s generation of music lovers. There were hardly any teenagers seen in the audience. Giant LED screens provided every needed backdrop, from photos to apt colorful images, that there wasn’t any need for elaborate stage designs.
Joey emerged onstage and immediately did a back-to-back Motown medley. When he crooned the Earth, Wind and Fire classics, Joey’s repertoire was clearly embraced his audience that night. By the time he dished out After the Love Has Gone, his falsetto was soaring and the crowd sang with him.
It was the same falsetto heard when Side A was doing its regular gigs in places like Conway’s Bar or Strumm’s. If you frequented those places, you’ll remember Side A’s original members — including drummer Ernie Severino, bassist Joey Benin, lead guitarist Kelly Badon and keyboardist Naldy Gonzales.
Joey rendered favorite songs from the ‘80s — Human, Sarah, Man in Motion — “Noong bumibyahe pa ako,” he uttered one of his many cryptic spiels.
No wonder, when his only guest that night, Sharon Cuneta, joined him onstage, the latter chastised him, albeit kindly. “Nagulat ako, papasok na pala ako. Ang iksi kasi ng spiels mo.” Sharon laughed.
The Megastar didn’t accept any talent fee that night, according to Joey. Sharon was featured in two duets with Joey, did her own spot numbers and readily even offered to be an instant back-up singer, when the latter rendered wellloved tunes by the Side A Band.
Reportedly, Sharon requested for merely apples and grapes in her dressing room that day. She came out onstage halfway into the show and rendered her signature hit, Kahit Maputi na ang Buhok Ko, a duet with Joey, much to the thrill of adoring fans. Their other duet was All This Time, a Joey Benin composition.
Sharon said Joey simply requested to sing a duet with her. However, she giddily told him, “Sayang naman ang damit ko!” Careful not to upstage the main artist, Sharon modestly donned a dark blue suit when she sauntered onstage as the only guest in the concert. She had her own screaming fans in the audience, needless to say.
“Nasa Calesa Bar pa lang ang Side A noon, at the old Hyatt Hotel,” Sharon shared. “1989 at si Richard (Gomez) pa ang boyfriend ko noon. Pinapanood ko na sila.”
Sharon extended their time together onstage, much to everyone’s delight. “I will do 10 million duets with Joey if he asked me to,” she unhesitatingly exaggerated. She appointed herself as Joey’s instant back-up singer that night. “I’ll do a Babsie Molina,” Sharon said, referring to the veteran back-up singer.
Meanwhile, Joey gave his own spin to timeless OPM tunes — Ogie Alcasid’s Nandito Ako, Ariel Rivera’s Sana Kahit Minsan, Basil Valdez’s Tuwing Umuulan at Kapiling Ka. Backing-up Joey was a sixmember band, including guitarist Gino Aguas, son of session musician Cesar Aguas — “My criminal guitarist,” Sharon teased. Bobby Velasco was the musical director.
Perhaps, one of the muchawaited parts that night was Joey’s rendition of Side A’s greatest hits. “Nasa palengke ako noon, narinig ko ‘yung Hold On kinakanta ng tricycle driver,” Joey proudly recalled.
More Side A hits followed — Set You Free, Tell Me, Forevermore. When Joey sang Tuloy Pa Rin, the audience was on their feet and the play of colorful lights onstage was simply awesome.
Before I Don’t Wanna Miss a Thing, Aerosmith’s monstrous hit that Joey can easily belt out, the guy acknowledged the people who helped him in his career, particularly his erstwhile managers, Lito Fugoso and the late Wyngard Tracy.
Joey has undoubtedly entrenched himself in the music industry through his songs and the familiar music he is known to render.