Alicia Keys: The Girl on Fire Illuminates Manila
“Music has a way of lifting your spirit and that’s what I hope to do for the Filipino people … To the people of the Philippines: my heart is with you” – Alicia Keys
14-time Grammy winner, singer, songwriter and pianist Alicia Keys delivered a powerhouse performance on a Monday night at Mall of Asia Arena.
It’s strange to think that when Alicia Keys first stepped into the music business with her already amazing vocal skills, she was but a fresh faced 19-year old. Her debut single Fallin’ took over the charts and spent weeks at number 1. She hit the ground running and it wasn’t long before her music and her signature braids achieved iconic levels worldwide. The good thing is that even in present day, she’s still just as relevant, writing hits to inspire people.
Last Monday, the now 32-year old singer set out to put some much-needed smiles on all the concert goers faces as the country goes through post-Yolanda healing. Hours before the show, Alicia took the time to go to Villamor Airbase to visit the survivors of typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan). The singer’s presence boosted morale and helped ignite hope among the typhoon survivors as she chatted with them and provided supplies to help the relief efforts.
After an hour delay, Keys started the show with Streets of New York with a little bit of Empire State of Mind. She was as alluring as ever as she emerged onstage in a sequined purple top and figure-hugging black pants. She immediately followed with singles from her sophomore album; a breakup song Karma which was a good start to warm up the crowd and a classic You Don’t Know My Name on her grand piano. Another highlight was her powerful ballad track from Girl on Fire album, Tears Always Win.
Keys’ medleys and transitions from one song to another were a strong reminder of how many timeless hits this soulful singer has had over the past 12 years. Alicia Keys was on full blast that night as she rotated playing the piano, dancing across the stage and belting out her hits You’ll Never See Me Again, A Woman’s Worth, Try Sleeping With A Broken Heart, Unthinkable, Diary and Doesn’t Mean Anything.
Midway through the show, Alicia brought up the topic of the calamity that ravaged parts of our country, Typhoon Haiyan. She spoke of the strength and courage it takes to make it to where the survivors are today. In honor of our Visayan brothers and sisters, she dedicated the next songs, If I Ain’t Got you and No One to them.
When Keys started to play the very first few notes of If I Ain’t Got You, the audience’s roars reached a whole new level. It was immediately clear that there probably wasn’t a single person in the place who did not know the song. The crowd sang all the words at the top of their lungs, making a deafening choir of thousands. After the first chorus, another voice rang out, giving Manila the surprise of the night, our very own Regine Velasquez joining Alicia onstage for a duet. It was a warm addition to the show and both artists delivered the song wonderfully.
After the surprise performance, Alicia Keys asked everyone to wave their lit up phones in the air. She began a slow rendition of No One. Her transition from No One to the Black Eyed Peas’ Where’s The Love brought yet another surprise as the group’s member Apl de Ap himself made an appearance and took the rap portion of the song.
Manila was keen on keeping Keys with them as long as they could. As she reemerged onstage for the encore set in a sparkling black gown, the energy in the arena hit an all new high as she performed her runaway hits, Empire State of Mind and Girl on Fire. The Manila leg of Set The World on Fire Tour was a night full of inspiration and hope. The production brought us many great songs, nice choreography and uplifting words to help heal our country. It was a night full of rare talent straight from Alicia Keys who is definitely here to stay for yet another 12 years and beyond.
Many thanks to Ovation Productions for making this event possible!
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