If there’s anything that the recently concluded Regine Rocks concert proved to the country, it’s that Asia’s Songbird Regine Velasquez-Alcasid is still in her prime.
The concert, which was co-directed by Cacai Mitra and Paolo Valenciano, was held at the SM Mall of Asia Arena last November 25. The setlist featured a new side of Regine: with covers of popular rock songs like “Hotel California,” “We Will Rock You,” “Creep,” and even local rock hits like the Eraserheads’ “Ang Huling El Bimbo” (The Last El Bimbo) and Rivermaya’s “Liwanag Sa Dilim” (The Light in the Dark).
Valenciano, who has directed a number of the singer’s concerts in the past, shared to Billboard Philippines that Regine had always wanted to do a rock-themed concert.
“It was conceptualized by both Regine and Cacai,” he says. “With regards to Regine Rocks, it was something that they wanted to do since before the pandemic. Regine was already telling me that she wanted to a show called Regine Rocks. She told me that she wanted to do all rock songs. That, in itself, already made it stand out compared to our previous projects.”
Valenciano goes on to say that part of the concept came from Regine’s earlier comments this year on how it’s past her time as an artist. “We had a meeting right after and I told [the team] that that’s my personal goal — to counter what she said and make everyone see that it’s still her time. This is still peak Regine. It felt like her energy on stage, the energy of the crowd… I felt like we achieved it with how everybody responded to it.”
Valenciano, together with Cacai and Raul Mitra, worked on the concert’s setlist together. He shares that at one point, there was list of over 40 songs that Regine wanted to do. A few months before the show, they started narrowing it down based on which songs Regine could “really play around with” in terms of the musical arrangements and vocals.
“On my end, I wanted the audience to feel like they were in this glorified karaoke session, where everybody could just sing along,” Valenciano explains. The concept definitely paid off, with the arena filled with the voices of the audience as they sang each song. “That’s what we wanted to achieve, where everyone could feel like they were a part of this collective experience.”
The term “glorified karaoke session” is a bit of an understatement, as the MOA Arena was completely decked out in LED screens forming diamond shapes over the stage itself as well as a descending and ascending platform outfitted in a throne-like design. The stage design was conceptualized by Valenciano’s long-time collaborator Enzo Pizarro, with lighting by Dom Gallardo and visuals by GA Fallarme.
“For this one, because we were coming from those comments [Regine saying that it’s not her time anymore], I told [Pizarro] that we had to make everyone feel like Regine was in her prime, just by the stage design,” Valenciano shares, drawing a contrast between the design for Regine Rocks versus her last show, Solo, which was more minimalist.
“A lot of fans [would] comment that Regine used to fly a lot in her past concerts, and then when she started doing shows with me, she stopped,” he continues. “One thing I requested for this show was…can we make her fly? At least she was game to still do that. But everyone, I mean everyone — from the choreography to stage design — wanted to make her feel like she was larger than life.”
Regine Rocks saw a Regine Velasquez-Alcasid as her best, electrifying self. The proof is in the concert’s opening salvo: Regine suspended in mid-air, belting her heart out from a throne made out of glass-like material. Just as Valenciano, and perhaps everyone, maintains, it is still Regine Velasquez-Alcasid’s world and we’re just living in it.