British music journalist Kate Mossman in her acclaimed BBC rockumentary, “Stadium Rock at 50” mentioned that “big concerts should be emotional, almost spiritual events which lift you beyond normal life for a few hours.”
But for the 10,000 mostly Filipinos who saw the Philippines’ longest-running variety show, ASAP 20 Live in London, last September 6 at The SSE Arena Wembley, a venue that has played host to the world’s biggest acts – the likes of The Beatles, Rolling Stones, U2, Barbra Streisand, David Bowie, ABBA, The Cure, Madonna, Britney Spears and Beyonce the experience was much more profound than fleeting escapism.
Consider this stirring and heartfelt thank you message to TFC from First Secretary and Consul Voltaire Mauricio of the Philippine Embassy in London:
“It was my first time to watch a variety show live. It was my first time to see ASAP. It was my first time to set foot at Wembley. It was my first time to sit at the very front row of a big concert. It was my first time in the longest time to enjoy fully great performances from great artists up close. It was my first time to see my daughter truly enjoy and lighten up here in London. Again, thank you very much.”
People say that the event was historic, and indeed it was, being the very first Filipino event to be held at The SSE Wembley Arena, among other firsts. But more importantly, to thousands of Filipinos not only in United Kingdom but throughout Europe, ASAP 20 Live in London was heroic: the effort on the part of ABS-CBN and The Filipino Channel (TFC) to mount it was monumental, but the audience response was epic as the more than 3-hour concert penetrated deep emotional spaces that unleashed unbridled joy, nostalgia, and national pride.
“You are world class”
At the September 3 press conference for ASAP 20 Live in London held at the Hotel Novotel London Wembley which was livestreamed on TFC Live in U.K. and TFC.tv worldwide, Martin Nievera said,
“Everyone is saying that what we are bringing is world-class entertainment. But don’t forget that it’s you, the Filipinos abroad, who are world-class that’s why you’re here and we’re reaching out to you.”
ABS-CBN Managing Director of Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) Kai V. Rodriguez recalled: “I’ve said months ago that everything that TFC in Europe would do this year would say without apologies that we Filipinos have arrived in Europe, what we are and offer are world-class, and that we have the numbers, the skills and the power to make a difference in European society. We believe in ourselves, we are proud of our ‘galing’ and we will let it shine wherever we are. ASAP 20 in London reminded us that we are one big, strong Filipino community that is at par with the best the world has to offer.”
Nostalgia and Novelty
Aside from igniting a fiery spirit of passionate patriotism among the audiences, ASAP 20 Live in London director Johnny Manahan, Business Unit Head Joyce Liquicia and their team delivered a spectacular display of lights and sounds and a powerhouse cavalcade of Filipino and international stars who provided the right mix of nostalgia and novelty in the song and dance numbers.
Some of the highlights of the long concert extravaganza which was taped as live for two ASAP 20 episodes, the first of which was livestreamed on ABS-CBN mobile in the Philippines, included the following segments:
* The Best of Original Pilipino Music (OPM) All-Star Opening that saw the stars singing and dancing to classics like “Mga Kababayan”, “Laki Sa Layaw”, “Salamat”
* Kapamilya Teleserye Theme Songs that included singing of hits like “Pangako Sa ‘Yo” and “On The Wings of Love”
* The energetic, patriotic Bamboo-led “Hoy, Pinoy Ako” anthem with Yeng Constantino, Aiza Seguerra, Richard Poon and KZ Tandingan
* Dance Craze that had Robi Domingo, James Reid, Enchong Dee, John Pratts and Luis Manzano dancing the nae nae and Maja Salvador and Enrique Gil twerking
* Billboard Hot 100 Hits by British artists which had top love teams Richard Gomez and Dawn Zulueta (CharDawn), Liza Soberano and Enrique Gil (LizQuen) and James Reid and Nadine Lustre (JaDine) singing Rick Astley’s “Together Forever” on stage
* ASAP Karaokey Challenge by Luis Manzano and Alex Gonzaga to Coco Martin
* The Coco Martin-Maja Salvador “CocoJam” reunion
* West End Medley by Gary Valenciano, Martin Nievera, Jed Madela, Lani Misalucha followed by Pinoy Pride in the West End segment with the Filipino cast of Miss Saigon who wowed the crowd with “Bui Doi”, “I’d Give My Life For You” and “This Is The Hour”
* British classical crossover vocal trio Blake singing Tagalog songs
* Legendary British band Spandau Ballet bringing the house down with “True”
* A true Heartthrobs segment with Piolo Pascual, Sam Milby and Paulo Avelino
* Amazing, intricate dance number with KC Concepcion, Shaina Magdayao, Maja Salvador, Jessy Mendiola and Arci Munoz, and many, many more.
“Apart from the success of the event in terms of attendance, where Filipinos from all over Europe and even as far as New York came in droves, our most significant achievement was the engagement of the audience,” said ABS-CBN Global COO Raffy Lopez. “To see Filipinos from all over the globe come together to celebrate their culture is a testament to TFC’s ability to serve our kababayans abroad. To see them so happy and this involved is what counts. That’s what’s important to us.”
What a way to celebrate the show’s 20th year! Bravo to the all-Filipino cast of ASAP 20 Live in London: Aiza Seguerra, Alex Gonzaga, Angeline Quinto, Arci Munoz, Ariel Rivera, Bamboo, Coco Martin, Dawn Zulueta, Enchong Dee, Enrique Gil, Erik Santos, Gary Valenciano, Jake Cuenca, James Reid, Janella Salvador, Jed Madela, Jessy Mendiola, John Prats, Julia Barretto, KC Concepcion, KZ Tandingan, Lani Misalucha, Liza Soberano, Luis Manzano, Maja Salvador, Martin Nievera, Nadine Lustre, Paulo Avelino, Piolo Pascual, Rayver Cruz, Richard Gomez, Richard Poon, Robi Domingo, Sam Milby, Shaina Magdayao, Vina Morales, Yeng Constantino, and Zsa Zsa Padilla.
ASAP 20 Live in London was sponsored by: Presenters Belo Medical, myRemit, Megaworld, Philippine Airlines, Jollibee, Rexona, Creamsilk, Energen and Lucky Me; Major Sponsors LBC, Tang, Moneygram, Cheezwiz and Champion; Minor Sponsors Avida Land, Amaia Land, Western Union, Century Properties, Watsons Generics, Robinsons Land, Kopiko 78 Degrees, Kopiko Cafe Blanca and Puregold Pure Padala.