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.