Sunday, September 28, 2014

The OPM Hitmen Delivers Outstanding Show at the Museum

(L-R) Richard Reynoso, Rannie Raymundo, Renz Verano and Chad Borja.
Photo: Gary Reynoso
I have to admit, my smile never went away in the almost two-hour-and-a-half duration of the show.  I was laughing and smiling and cheering and clapping..... and believe it or not, "singing" to familiar songs I grew up with, like "Friend of Mine", "Don't Know What To Do", "Bituing Walang Ningning", and more.  Okay, okay, maybe for most part, I was giggling for the "kilig" songs performed by the still very handsome young men.  But hey, I think I can do that for another 2 hours for as long as Richard Reynoso, Rannie Raymundo, Chad Borja and Renz Verano were on stage.

These four dashing gentlemen need no further introduction for they have carved their own name as world-class performing artists, spanning over 20 years here and abroad.  

But what most of us do not know, is the friendship and camaraderie that they possess on and off stage. They got each other's back during the ups and downs of their lives, they support each other's endeavors outside of showbiz, and they respect each other's private and family life. What can I say?  "Magkakaibigan" is an understatement, a brotherhood of sorts that only true friends can understand.  As Rannie said at the beginning of the show, "Kung may isang pagkanta na lamang ang aking gagawin sa buhay ko, nais ko, kayo ang kasama ko."  (If  I were to sing the last song in my life, I wish, to sing it with you).

That light-heartedness when together was evident on stage, which affects the audience as well.  They are so contagious, you forget you are watching a show... an honest-to-goodness concert, complete with a live band.  This is what makes The OPM Hitmen concert unique; the audience are involved ... we are all connected ... they have captured us, as much as these four gents have captured our attention and our hearts.

Being friends with Rannie for almost three decades, I have watched the OPM Hitmen twice before.  I saw them perform at the Music Museum last February and then a few months later at Primos Cuisine and Lounge. This 3rd time around, it was Richard Reynoso who made it a point for me to watch them again at the Music Museum  Of course I said yes, even before he finished his sentence, for I knew that spending a night with the OPM Hitmen is an evening of total bliss, and moreover, a privilege to witness a fantastic show.

Something New

I expected to see the same routine, the sames songs,... but surprise, surprise,... they have a front act this time with talented Jojo Alejar, strutting to a Michael Jackson song, then the four great artists came in and opened with a bang to Hotdog's "Bongga Ka Day", an upbeat 70's song, which made me want to dance. They sang additional OPM songs, a couple of Rannie's original compositions, a slew of new jokes and "alaskahan", and the entry of a new accompaniment, the A.S.O.P. Band. Hands down, these outstanding musicians are a great and important addition on stage.  

New songs like "Simpleng Timpla", was done with good taste. "Magkakaibigan", so apt, genuine and soulful, only The OPM Hitmen can render with justice.  These two songs are included in their CD, now out in the market, "The OPM Hitmen: Magkakaibigian", the album that many fans are waiting for.

My favorite part of the show was when they sat down together at the front of the stage to get closer to their audience. They intended to sing Filipino love songs dear to their hearts, with the effect to sing literally up close to us, (bringing that "kilig" factor in, yet again).

Choice songs originally recorded by Ric Segreto, Martin Nievera, Odette Quesada, Sharon Cuneta, Basil Valdez, The Apo Hiking Society, and a lot more. came alive and suddenly, we were brought back in time.  Richard, Rannie, Chad and Renz sang with heart and a lot of passion, that was truly endearing.

Here is a video of the OPM Medley, one of the awaited numbers in the show.

Feel Good

Each Filipino who has heard these Original Pilipino Music can relate to the lyrics and the message it brings ... there is that certain humanity, which is truly "Pinoy".  OPM is unforgettable, timeless, classic, and I am glad that the OPM Hitmen was formed  and conceptualized over a year ago.  

Richard Reynoso, Rannie Raymundo, Chad Borja and Renz Verano have good chemistry, amazing spontaneity and posses an over-flowing of talent that will always be sought after for as long as music exists in the universe. They do not try to upstage each other, they are not out there to outshine each other. Rather, The OPM Hitmen, alternatively known as the Ambassadors of Original Pilipino Music, simply want to enjoy life, share their music and make people happy. This is one fun group with their own uniqueness that is endearing, making their audience swoon all over again.

For more updates, find The OPM Hitmen on Facebook here.

Thank you to Mr. Gary Reynoso for the fantastic photos.

Related article: Original Pilipino Music is Alive with The OPM Hitmen.