I recently joined the Rotary Club Iloilo South. It seems like a good group of folks and they do a lot of charity work. While I was attending meetings, to see if I wanted to join, and if they wanted me to join, they were planning a fund raising event. The event was a concert by the REO Brothers of Tacloban. You may remember the name Tacloban from last year’s news coverage after typhoon Yolanda. It was one of the many communities virtually erased by the destructive path of the typhoon. I joined the club just in time to try and sell some tickets but really had very little to do with the actual planning of the event.
The REO Brothers were a local band there, in Tacloban, and played weddings, birthdays etc. Known for being a superb Beatles cover band, they also do play many other artists from the 60’s & 70’s. After the typhoon wiped out their city they decided to trek to Manila. With only some water, biscuits, and their guitars they made it to Manila. And the rest, as they say, is history!
They appeared on ABS-CBN at Christmas for a fundraising event for the survivors of typhoon Yolanda. They were the first Filipino band to play the famous Cavern Club in Liverpool, England. They have played Madison Square Garden. And now the Rotary Club Iloilo South was happy to have them play their first concert on Panay island.
I went with some club members to meet the band at the airport. They seemed very nice, and polite. I later told my wife, and some friends, that all the band members were young, well mannered, good looking, and have money… I hate them all! But really they are some great guys. We all went to lunch at Cilantro. a local Vietnamese restaurant. It was quite good.
The concert was held at the Sarabia Manor Hotel. A very large hotel here in Iloilo. They have numerous event rooms, restaurants, a pension house, all kinds of stuff. Big place – but I have not seen a room big enough for a concert. But they got one! The room had a central stage, a snack bar, and about 1,000 chairs. I am not sure of the totals yet but we sold about 800 tickets (I sold 8 ha ha).
The first thing I was amazed at was the punctuality of the band. I understand Filipino time, and assumed an 8:00 curtain meant 8:30 or 9:00. The guys were backstage about 30 minutes early, and the seats were filled by 7:45! At exactly 8:00 PM they took the stage and played exactly according to the schedule. Even the 3 encores, and the “ok, ok, 1 more song…” were according to schedule. They ended at exactly 10:30 PM, just as scheduled. They have their set planned out perfectly. It was all according to schedule but did not feel rushed or overly planned. It was very enjoyable and I was impressed with how business like they were.
When I saw the band was back stage early my wife and I took the opportunity to get a picture taken with them. During the 30 minute break the band stayed around for 15 minutes letting anyone get pictures. And after the show they were also available. They were very friendly and very approachable. During the show people were even getting on stage and having pictures taken too. This surprised me a bit, because in the US you generally cannot get on stage with the band. But it worked out fine and fun was had by all!
The first half of the show was mostly Beatle music, which they are known for. The second half was more of a mix of 60’s & 70’s music. They did some Dave Clark 5, Beach Boys, and a great cover of Wipeout. The audience was very responsive and there was lots of dancing in the aisles. I was even dancing – but luckily no pictures have surfaced yet…
The first encore was probably some of my favorite songs of the evening: Help, In My Life, Here Comes The Sun, and Imagine. The final song was a long version of Hey Jude, in which the audience was encouraged to sing along. It took very little encouragement ha ha. The audience was singing along for quite a lot of the show.
The event was a huge success. The band made money, the Rotary Club Iloilo South raised money for our ongoing projects, and the audience had a great time. And I got to eat some of the best lechon I have ever tasted! A win/win for sure.
I do not have any video of this show but here in a couple YouTube videos others have recorded. You really need to check them out. And if you ever get the chance to see the REO Brothers live, do yourself a favor and go see them!