WHO’S THAT GIRL: Madonna Tribute Night

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EDITOR: Route 196 gave tribute to the Queen Of Pop to commemorate the 25th Anniversary of Madonna: Truth Or Dare documentary by curating ‘Who’s That Girl: Madonna Tribute Night’ last August 25. Correspondent Jules Ruizol and I sang along to our favorite Madonna hits as performed by the stellar lineup. 

Where do I even begin?

Where does one even begin when one hears Madonna?

As soon as I heard that there was going to be a Madonna tribute gig, I dared myself to spend the last cents of my wallet for this night. I almost forgot about the terrible weather that was to come (and it did rain heavily that night), but to hell with that — it’s Madonna! I wouldn’t miss it for the world, and around 50 people agreed with me.

I was born in the early 90s and my earliest memory of the Queen of Pop (don’t fight me on this, it’s not debatable) were a few iconic music videos on MTV back when the aforementioned channel was still a 24/7 audio-visual playlist and not…what it is now. I remember the sepia masterpiece of the music video for “Take A Bow;” I remember Madonna singing every fiber of her being on a balcony in Evita’s “Don’t Cry For Me Argentina;” and I remember the music video for “Frozen” that was so eerily beautiful, I would even reenact Madonna’s movements on the sand like a silly kid.

BULLET DUMAS performed his own soulful and fiery rendition of “Frozen,” a stark contrast from the song’s title and frigid music video

Now I admit right here, right now that I’m not the biggest Madonna fan and if my age is a deterrent to be one (although I do recall seeing a couple of high school kids in the crowd, bless them) then I’ve already lost.  It was up to my folks to expose me to Madonna’s earlier music which is actually when she shone the brightest. Madonna graced the 80s with “Holiday,” “Material Girl,” “Like A Virgin,” “Papa Don’t Preach,” “Open Your Heart,” and “Like A Prayer,” only to name a few — songs that defined the popstar and made her a music legend.

There’s also the fact that I didn’t bother to save up or even have the desire to go see the Manila stop of the Rebel Heart concert tour, on top of the rumors that there was a lack of her all-time hits and crowd favorites in the setlist, but that’s what I’m most grateful for the existence of this gig.

JAZZ NICOLAS, CHINO SINGSON, WALLY ACOLOLA, and MIKEY AMISTOSO formed a nameless  group and played “Dress You Up,” also ended the night with the anthem “Crazy For You”

I observed a couple of things during the tribute night. First, the crowd behaved two different ways: they either sang along as if it was the first time they ever did because all of a sudden, it was just so right and so appropriate to do so; or they fell silent and politely appreciated the artist’s unique renditions of their favorite Madonna songs.

DAVEY LANGIT added a smooth touch of jazz and bossa to “La Isla Bonita”

Second, I found the gig lineup pretty interesting as the acts were predominantly males. I began to wonder why there was a lack of female-fronted performances that night. I would have loved to see female vocalists lend their voices to “Papa Don’t Preach,” “Vogue,” or “Material Girl.”

 TOP JUNK, the only female-fronted act, opened the gig with an explosive performance of “Ray Of Light”

I do give props to all the artists who made the event awesome and enjoyable. I guess the whole night was a manifestation of how Madonna’s music transcends age and gender among many others. She was also an icon of love, fashion, sexuality, and philanthropy.

Madonna turned a year older on August 16, but her music is just as timeless as she is.  ##