Wednesday, November 27, 2013

John Ford Coley waives talent fee for 'fellow Filipinos' in need

(Published Nov. 25, PDI-Entertainment)
By Oliver M. Pulumbarit

“This is like my second home. Pinoy ako,” American singer-songwriter John Ford Coley declared during his recent show, “Love Overload,” at the Solaire Grand Ballroom.

Courtesy of Steve O'Neal Productions
The Grammy-nominated artist had anecdotes to back up his claim, and repeatedly thanked his Filipino fans, whom he said kept him going. This time around, the so-called “Crown Prince of Love Songs” gave back by auctioning off two signed guitars for the benefit of the Bohol quake and “Yolanda” survivors. Each guitar fetched P100,000. Coley earlier waived his talent fee for the night.
Opening act was local band Hotdog, whose frontman, Rene Garcia, said his group was playing for free, as well. They performed two lively classics, “Annie Batungbakal” and “Manila” (slightly altered to include “Tacloban” in the lyrics).

Abbee M, who sounded like the late Karen Carpenter, impressively did The Carpenters hits “You,” “Yesterday Once More” and “Merry Christmas, Darling.”

The Barry Manilow-esque Kyle Vincent followed with his own three-song set, ending with Jose Mari Chan’s “Beautiful Girl.” While singing this last song, Vincent stepped off the stage and chased a shy, bemused usherette in the aisles.

At 9:40, Coley sat at the keyboard to play “Gone Too Far,” a hit from his days in a pop-rock duo with the late Dan Seals, a.k.a. England Dan.
The 65-year-old Coley said he was “sick all day long,” but was pretty energetic throughout the show. He effortlessly played the beloved “We’ll Never Have to Say Goodbye Again” early into his set.

He strained quite a bit with Dan Fogelberg’s “Longer,” but got his bearings back with the crowd favorite, “It’s Sad to Belong.” He admitted to being reluctant when first asked to play that here years ago, but did so anyway and later included it in the set list.

He took a breather and invited his Filipino backup singers to do “Dust in the Wind” and “Sometimes When We Touch” while he played the guitar. Then he sped things up again with  “Nights are Forever Without You,” and the endearing “I’d Really Love to See You Tonight,” the latter inspiring a sing-along.

Just before “Love is the Answer,” Coley urged audience members to give their donations through his official website (, assuring them that everything would reach the intended recipients. Shortly after, he tugged at heartstrings with the mushy “Just Tell Me You Love Me.”

Vincent joined him for the final song, “Jingle Bell Rock.” They bungled the lyrics—no rehearsal? Overall, though, “Love Overload” mostly did its job, made satisfactory by Coley’s uplifting nostalgic numbers.

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