Steve O' Neal

Kenny Wizz: The Michael Jackson Experience


“Your daughter’s name is RUSSELL? Why?” It’s the common remark I hear whenever friends ask for my daughter’s name. I named her after AIR SUPPLY’S two RUSSELLS- RUSSELL HITCHCOCK and GRAHAM RUSSELL.

AIR SUPPLY has been one of my all time favorite performers since the 80s and although their songs are in every jukebox, Karaoke clubs, MTV, AM, FM and even elevators, like most Pinoys, I couldn’t seem to get enough of their music.

I actually met the guys back in the 90s when I covered their Press Conference for my TV show “Celebrity Secrets” at Galleria Suites (now Holiday Inn Galleria) tendered by Rudy Tee, CEO of Sony Music (Sony-BMG back then). I was already star struck and impressed at that time and dreamt of promoting them in a concert. Fast forward about a decade later. It was Valentine 2008 when I found out they were doing a world tour from my promoter friend in Macau. AIR SUPPLY hasn’t been to the Philippines for a long time and I was positive their fans would like to see them live again. I convinced him to introduce me to AIR SUPPLY Management so I could make an offer for the Philippines. It wasn’t easy though and took me a couple of months to negotiate and seal the deal. My instincts were proven right and we did 6 sold out shows in the Philippines (Araneta Coliseum, Subic, Cebu, Davao, Bacolod and Ilo-ilo). Although our schedule was so tight, six shows in seven days, I got close to the guys and enjoyed every minute of it. Im proud to say AIR SUPPLY is one of the very few groups Ive brought to the country that have given me the least headaches and worries. They are so professional and their entourage works cohesively as a team. From the guitar technician to the lighting director (the only female member of the entourage) to the band and of course Graham Russell and Russell Hitchcock.

Right after their 2008 Philippine tour, I already initiated negotiation to bring them back in 2009. There were some Philippine cities who wanted to have them but due to time constraints weren’t able to. After countless phone calls, postponements, trips to Los Angeles and emails, the deal got signed in July 2009. As expected, the Philippine schedule is so tight again. Clark Expo on Oct 1, fly early next day to General Santos City for the Oct 2 concert at Lagao Gym then wake up early next day for the flight back to Manila for the Oct 3 show at Araneta Coliseum. Oct 4, They leave at 6AM for the 5 hour flight to Kuala Lumpur via Singapore (plus a 2 hour bus ride to Genting Highlands) and next day, onward to Palembang and Jakarta- 2 shows in Indonesia promoted by my friend Tommy Pratama, then to Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) for another 2 shows then back to Manila for the Koronadal City show on Oct 12. The Philippine tour extends to Doha Qatar where there will be a show at Ceremonial Court on Oct 15 for the Filipino community. Whew!

Graham and Russell spent both their birthdays here last year ( June 12 & 15) and had celebrations almost every night. They love Philippine hospitality, friendliness and the knack to sing along in tune. They would have wanted to spend a few days in the sun in one of our Boracay or Cebu resorts this year but due to hectic scheduling, it will have to wait. AIR SUPPLY does around 100 shows every year around the world and spend over 100 days flying or traveling on the road. Im honestly amazed how they do it and still perform almost perfect shows every night.

The Saturday, October 3 show at the Araneta Coliseum titled “NOW & FOREVER” promises to be another wonderful treat to all AIR SUPPLY fans. There will be singalomgs from start to finish (Most Steve O’ Neal Productions post the song lyrics of every song performed on big screen) and the entire repertoire will be the hits us Pinoys love- HERE I AM, THE ONE THAT YOU LOVE, EVEN THE NIGHTS ARE BETTER, TWO LESS LONELY PEOPLE IN THE WORLD, EVERY WOMAN IN THE WORLD, I CANT WAIT FOREVER, MAKING LOVE OUT OF NOTHING AT ALL, SWEET DREAMS, WITHOUT YOU, LOST IN LOVE, LONELY IS THE NIGHT, etc. Also featured in the concert are the phenomenal rockabilly band BEMBOL ROCKERS and the sexy girl group POSH.

AIR SUPPLY “NOW & FOREVER” is presented by Hyatt Hotel & Casino, House of Obagi, ABS CBN and the official concert station RJ100 FM in cooperation with PCSO, American Rag, Business Mirror, Philstar Online, Face & Figure Center, Perez Optical, Hard Rock Café, R Sun, IFM, Crossover, Jack TV, ETC, 2nd Ave, Franz Burger, and Tickets available at all Ticketnet outlets (911 5555) and SM Malls.

See you at the Concert! Click here to directly go to Ticketnet's Air Supply Page:

Air Supply Philippine Tour this October 3, 2009, Saturday

click image for easy viewing

Hong Kong stars hoping to perform in Manila

June 26, 2009, 9:18am

Two lovely foreign voices, Susan Wong and Julienne Taylor, both of whom popular among the people in Hong Kong, expressed their urge to come to the Philippines and perform in front of locals they believe are “famous for being musical.”

The Hong Kong pride Wong and Scottish-born Taylor front-acted for “love song” icon John Ford Coley in the latter’s Hong Kong concert held last Friday at the Shouson Theatre of Hong Kong Arts Center. Both acts were well applauded by a remarkably disciplined audience as Wong, known for doing English covers, did a duet of “Sometimes When We Touch” with Coley and the thin, tall Taylor came out with a set of her kind of music.

In an exclusive interview with the Manila Bulletin, Wong noted, “You guys are famous for live music. I went to Manila once, about eight years ago, and everywhere I go there’s live music. The quality of the singers and the bands is just so high. Philippines is really well known for live gigs.”

The pretty Asian is looking forward to do an Asian tour which she hopes would include the Philippines. This year she just released an album called “511,” offering her renditions of notable pop songs like her single “Billie Jean,” “Blame It On The Boogie,” “Umbrella” and “September.” With her bossa nova inclinations, a visit to Manila should sound interesting for local listeners now accustomed to acts like Sitti, Olivia and the rest of the girls doing laidback revivals of familiar tracks.

Both she and Julienne have been currently on top of the heap, with their respective albums managing to get into the ranking of HMV, probably the largest store of records in Hong Kong. As of latest view, their albums have reached fourth and seventh place, respectively.

Julienne, who had a 12-hour flight from UK to Hong Kong and describes her music as “pop with a Celtic thread,” had less to say about the Philippines, though the company of Pinoy musicians who backed her up on performance night was a telling realization. “The guys in the band are fantastic. It’s good to work with them. I’m a type of getting out there to do live shows and having observed them play makes me want to get to the Philippines.”

The all-Filipino back-up band, led by musical director Carlo Gaa (of Area One fame), did serious work during rehearsals. There was a point when, just an hour before the main thing, Gaa had to orchestrate “voicing” practice between Julienne and Filipina back-up singer Angie Bonnevie (sister of Lou Bonnevie). Thus, it resulted to a tightened harmony during the show proper.

Displaying proper singing minus belting, Julienne’s voice is so mellow that she joked she’s okay “for as long as no one falls asleep.” Credit goes to her for having melodic songs sticking to the mind and keeping one from snoring.

Insisting her wish to fly here, Wong told the Bulletin she is just waiting for Danee Samonte (a.k.a. Steve O’ Neal, the Filipino promoter handling Coley) to seal a deal that would allow her to perform in Manila.

Good ending

Of course, there’s the man of the hour, John Ford Coley who fell in love with the Hong Kong crowd. Just like his experiences with Filipinos, he couldn’t help but ask the audience to repeat key choruses of much-awaited numbers, then pour out his feelings of satisfaction while hearing them sing his songs.

“Asians know the music. They appreciate good melodies and they know the lyrics. They like a lot of love songs and that’s really nice for me. You get excited watching how they respond. I just kind of needed to step back and let them sing,” he shared.

John is about to work on an acoustic album comprising of originals and his version of “Leader of the Band,” a piece he described during the show as one of the greatest ever written. According to him he is set to comeback to Manila next year to perform live with America, something that should give him the opportunity to sing songs from the new album.

For those cynics claiming that Filipinos are still not that competent with the global standard, John is one to carry our Philippine flag. “The Filipino crew supporting me is a pool of very talented musicians. They really sit down and study. I disagree to any statement that would say Filipinos are not yet at par with the world as far as music is concerned. You just need opportunity, just like that guy singing for Journey.”

During the performance, John’s natural funny self came out again and made the Chinese crowd laugh a number of times. Some of his jokes he just repeated from previous shows, yet with the smooth way he delivered them, he made them sound fresh and worth-laughing still. He has now returned to Manila to finish his tour with a show the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig today.

Since partner Dan England died recently, the Hong Kong concert had that bit of drama and nostalgia. He mentioned that he is losing friends left and right, in one instance. Then he continued his statement by dedicating songs to some memorable friends.

As a way of dispelling thoughts that he and Dan parted ways roughly, he said, “Dan and I haven’t talked for a very long time. But before he passed away or a couple of days before he died, I got to talk to him and put everything in order, tell one another how much we meant for one another and things like that. It was a good ending.”

Addicted to music and foot massage

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John Ford Coley (below, with former First Lady Imelda Marcos and the author) will have his share of foot massages and his fans, a taste of his music when he embarks on his second Asian tour starting June 11 at the Heritage Hotel Ballroom

MANILA, Philippines – “Yes I admit I’m addicted and it’s all Steve O’ Neal’s fault” — John Ford Coley

Before you get any funny ideas, John Ford Coley’s addiction is not to drugs or substances but to “foot massages.” The pleasant addiction began when we went on an Asian tour called Love Is The Answer last year. The schedule was so hectic I had to think of a way to alleviate his stress and anxiety. And what better way to remedy it but with a good foot massage? It eases tension, relaxes the body and promotes blood circulation.

When I broached the idea to John, he showed some reluctance. But once he got a taste of it, that all changed. In fact by his third foot massage, he was already looking forward to it as early as breakfast time. I would even swear it made his singing better. The first massage he had was at Mall of Asia, then Singapore, then Kuala Lumpur. By the time we got to Bangkok, he was having it twice a day. In Hong Kong and Xiamen, he made sure he got his dose, too. At the end of the tour, he intimated that he would go through foot massage withdrawal because it wasn’t popular in his hometown in Tennessee. I swore that he would return in 2009 for another tour of foot massage salons and maybe some concerts on the side.

Because last year’s performances in Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Davao, Tacloban and Cebu were sold out, we decided to do an encore of the tour. This June, John will have his share of foot massages and his fans, a taste of his wonderful music when he embarks on his second Asian tour. John is already excited about the tour because besides the foot massages, he will be interacting with several popular artists like Julienne Taylor, a popular Celtic singer from Scotland; Susan Wong, Hong Kong’s hit star and our very own Olivia and Faith Cuneta.

Also on this tour, John will pay tribute to his singing partner England Danny Seals who recently passed away.

Included in his repertoire are the hits Just Tell Me You love Me, Sad To Belong, I’d Really Like To See You Tonight, We’ll Never Have To Say Goodbye Again, Love Is The Answer, Nights Are Forever, Love Is The Answer, Soldier In The Rain, Part Of Me Part Of You, What Can I Do With This Broken Heart plus solo efforts like Longer, Leader Of The Band, Sometimes When We Touch and more

Catch John Ford Coley Live at the Heritage Hotel Ballroom on June 11; Subic Bay Convention Center, June 12; Pagcor Tagaytay, June 13; and Ynares Sports Arena Pasig, June 26. Tickets are available from Ticketworld (Heritage hotel show) and Ticketnet (Ynares Sports Arena show).

The concert is presented by Steve O’ Neal productions in cooperation with Manila Bulletin, Heritage Hotel — the official residence, PCSO, SBMA, Venezia Hotel Subic, Pagcor Venezia, Business Mirror, Face & Figure Centre Manila, Hard Rock Café, Hub Executive Lounge, Perez Optical, ABS Virgin Coconut Oil and RJ100FM.

John Ford Coley Philippine Tour this June 2009

You can watch JOHN FORD COLEY's "LOVE IS THE ANSWER" 2009 Tour
on the following dates and venues:
  • June 11, 8PM, Heritage Hotel's Main Ballroom, Pasay City, PH
  • June 12, 8PM, Subic Convention Center, SBMA, Olongapo City, PH
  • June 12, 8PM, PAGCOR, Tagaytay City, PH
  • June 16, 9PM, PAGCOR, Paranaque City, PH
  • June 19, 8PM, Shauson Hongkong Arts Center, Hongkong
  • June 24, 9PM, Metro Bar, Quezon City, PH
  • June 25, 9PM, PAGCOR, Davao City, PH
  • June 26, 8PM, Ynares Sports Center, Pasig, PH

click image for easy viewing

John Ford Coley Hongkong Show - This June 2009

2 Days Of Sheena Easton

My first encounter with Sheena was back in the late 90s at the MGM Grand Hotel Las Vegas where she performed to a sold out crowd at the Hollywood Theater. Back then, I already had the impression that this Scottish bundle of dynamite was full of talent and knew how to connect with her audience. Fast forward to 10 years when I started negotiation to book her for Valentine 2009. It was no walk in the park. I had to go thru layers of connections to get to her management. They were so strict with so many aspects like publicity photos, promos, etc. Halfway thru negotiation, I wanted to give up. I felt like I was going thru interrogation with all the questions and background checks but I persevered. Some friends in the industry who knew her warned me that she had a “diva” attitude but I was ready for whatever was coming.

230PM Feb 11: Sheena arrived 1 hour early on board Philippine Airlines flight from Honolulu. She was in good spirits. An hour later, when all her luggage including the bands didn’t show up due to Hawaiian Airlines failure to transfer it to the Philippine Airlines flight, I saw some anger and frustration written on her face but as I introduced myself to her, she still smiled and managed to be cordial. As her limo whisked her to EDSA Shangri-la hotel, I hurriedly went to Hawaiian Airlines office with Sheena’s road manager Ira Siegel to complain about the lost luggage. There was no way it would arrive in time for the performance next day and worse, for her press conference at 7PM. What Sheena did next made me see her in a different light. Like a real trooper, she walked to the adjoining mall and bought all the stuff she needed that was in her lost luggage like make up, etc and started preparing for the press conference.

A little past 7PM, Sheena appeared in a stunning white pantsuit. Ricky Lo, who was the first to interview was surprised when Sheena hugged and bussed him like they’ve known each other for years. She had genuine warmth and was a great conversationalist. As the last interviewer Ginger Conejero wrapped up, Sheena joined us at the buffet dinner tendered by the Heat. Sheena and the band were all praises for the good food. I guess they really meant it because they went back for second servings, third servings, etc.

4PM Feb 12: Despite the heat inside the coliseum (air conditioning wasn’t turned on til 6PM) Sheena conducted her sound check. Unlike most artists who would do the sound check with one or 2 songs, she was meticulous and rehearsed the full set leaving nothing to chance.
930 PM: After a full set of great retro music from the RX80s band, Sheena hit the stage in another stunning all white attire. There was thunderous applause as she hit the first few notes and cavorted onstage. The third song performed “Almost Over You” had real meaning to Sheena because she was going thru a break up when it was recorded. A lot of the songs in the set were put together by Sheena just for the Philippine show including “Nearness Of You” and “Someone To Watch Over Me”. Her jokes and anecdotes which were well received by the crowd peppered her set that included her monster hits like “We’ve Got Tonight”, “Modern Girl’, “Morning Train”, “Strut”, “The Lover In Me”, “For Your Eyes Only”, etc.

Sheena also sang a Bacharach medley of songs: “Anyone Who Had A Heart”, “This Guy’s In Love With You” and “Going Out Of My Head” (“Going Out Of My Head” was written by Teddy Randazzo and Bobby Weinstein) As Sheena encored with “TELEPHONE” and everyone stood up and approached the stage dancing. The sight gave me goose pimples.

After the show, I received nonstop praises on how great the performance was. Sheena, despite being tired from the adrenalin pumped performance, obliged to photo ops and autographs. Mayor Bong Gordon of Olongapo was so happy to meet her in person backstage.

In between the hectic schedule, Sheena’s band was able to do some abbreviated shopping at Greenhills before taking the Philippine Airlines flight back to Las Vegas. As I said goodbye to Sheena, she joked that next time I brought her to Manila, she’d like to perform in a more intimate setting like in a hotel ballroom.

I’d like to thank the EDSA Shangri-la people: GM Chia, Malou, Jenny, and Alvin for the wonderful hospitality they afforded the Sheena Easton entourage.