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Martin Nievera (left) and MiG Ayesa in a crowd pleasing duet at Trump Taj Mahal’s Xanadu Theater in Atlantic City, N.J.  (Filipino Reporter photos)


By DAWN FRASER

For nearly three decades now, Martin Nievera has safely kept the title concert king under his belt.

And no one came close to stealing it from him.

At Sunday’s “Martin Nievera Goes Green” at Trump Taj Mahal’s Xanadu Theater in Atlantic City, the multi-awarded singer effortlessly ruled the stage with his now legendary voice that only gets better with age, and an exceptional stage presence that’s hard to resist.

Accompanied by the Big Mouth Band composed of musical director Lorrie Ilustre, the Latin Grammy-nominated musician Coche Arbe, George Bryant, Rich Taylor and David Inamine, with Chapter Two Band’s Dennis Sy, Jan Paraiso and Noel Tampac as back up vocals, Nievera delighted the audience with renditions of his original hits and covers of old standards, as well as music from Justin Bieber’s era.

A medley of Frank Sinatra songs, including “Sway,” “I’ve Got You Under My Skin” and “Come Fly With Me,” showcased Nievera’s strong, smooth vocals.

The rich timbre of his voice is a natural fit for swing, but his repertoire is far from limited, as he demonstrated by covering everything from Chicago’s “Saturday In the Park” to Mike Posner’s “Cooler Than Me” to Blood, Sweat & Tears’ “Spinning Wheel” to Train’s “Soul Sister.”

His swing take on modern pop hits was unexpected and successful, turning even Bieber’s earworm “Baby” into something surprisingly pleasant to listen to.

The biggest crowd-pleasers, however, were Nivera’s Original Pilipino Music (OPM) like “Iisa Pa Lamang,” “Christmas Won’t Be The Same Without You,” “Each Day With You” and “Forever,” and the teleserye theme songs like “Kahit Isang Saglit,” “Ikaw Lamang” and “Ikaw Ang Aking Pangarap.”

But what Nievera does best is work a crowd.

His trademark wit and charming stage presence were on display, and he was not above making himself the subject of his humor, poking fun at everything from his age (“Sarah Geronimo’s fans all have braces; my fans have no teeth”) to his failed marriage to fellow singer Pops Fernandez.

Nievera encouraged audience participation, climbing off stage to mingle among his fans, even singing a duet of “Be My Lady” with one of them.

Fresh from his run on Broadway’s smash musical “Rock of Ages,” singer MiG Ayesa delivered a knockout performance with classic rock songs, including Peter Frampton’s “Baby I Love Your Way” and INXS’ “New Sensation,” that highlighted his rich, sweet voice.  

Ayesa later joined Nievera for show-stopping duets, including the Beatles’ “I Want To Hold Your Hand,” the Rolling Stones’ “I Can’t Get No Satisfaction” and Aerosmith’s “I Don’t Want To Miss A Thing.”

Before heading to Manila next year for the Philippine production of “Rock of Ages,” Ayesa is staging a farewell U.S. show on Dec. 12 at The Highline Ballroom in Manhattan, where he will also launch his latest album “More Than Ever” featuring “Here I Am - Here I Go.”

Acclaimed Fil-Am illusionist Anthony Salazar, who opened for Nievera’s show, helped set the mood for a relaxing and fun-filled afternoon.

“Martin Nievera Goes Green” is a production of Group Ole and De La Salle Alumni Association of Metro NY.


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Martin Nievera effortlessly rules the stage.

 

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MiG Ayesa delivers a knockout performance.

 

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Filipino-American illusionist Anthony Salazar captivates the audience with his spellbinding magic.

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