‘The Manila Sound’ of the 70s rocks the stage in Auckland ‘The Manila Sound’ of the 70s rocks the stage in Auckland
So this is the famous ‘Manila Sound’ of the 70s. I’m ever so glad that my family and I got to see the Hotdog... ‘The Manila Sound’ of the 70s rocks the stage in Auckland

CHIKA MUNA:

‘The Manila Sound’ of the 70s rocks the stage as the iconic ‘HotDog’ band belts out one nostalgic hit after another.

“Take me back in your arms Manila
And promise me you’ll never let go
Promise me you’ll never let go.”
(the opening lyrics of ‘Manila’)

AUCKLAND – In the early 70s ‘The Manila Sound’ was born. The Hotdog band pioneered and revolutionized Filipino music in that era, “creating danceable pop music with a very Pinoy flair,” reported columnists on the rise and rise of this group.

I was one of many who watched the ‘Hotdog Reunion Tour’ on 23 April at Westlake Boys High School in Auckland. I must admit that I could recall only one of their songs – ‘Manila’ – but it turns out that they had a succession of blockbuster hits in the early 70s. They ruled the airwaves with their popular hits and they became firmly entrenched in the annals of history as a band that mattered.

My excuse for not knowing all this? I was born in the latter part of that era. In any case, here I was watching and listening to the front acts before experiencing Hotdog music – live.

A ‘kilig’ moment when they appeared on stage. Wow! The group that wrote, sang and immortalised ‘Manila’. Sadly, only two of the five original members, Dennis and Rene Garcia, are still in the group. For this tour they’ve added seven talented members to the team and the result is ‘electric’.

The audience warmed up by dancing along to ‘Annie Batungbakal’ (wow, was that their song?!). Then followed one hit song after another and it was all sounding familiar. ‘Pers Lab’ (love the Taglish in there), ‘Bitin Sa’yo’, ‘Ikaw and ‘Miss Universe ng Buhay Ko’ (so romantic, mmmmm), ‘Panaginip’ and so on.

But they saved the best for last – all their popular dance hits, non-stop. ‘Manila’ (people were screaming deliriously, some teary eyed to hear this national anthem of the OFWS) and the set ended with the pulsating ‘Bongga Ka Day’. Everyone was on their feet, including my kids and hubby – dancing happily. The group has that effect on people.

As Dennis once commented, he is not surprised that their songs have longevity: “All our songs were based on universal human emotions and those feelings never go out of style. We’ve made it a point to write songs with real insights and not just words stitched together like “I love you… the sky is blue…”.”

We left the venue light headed after experiencing that huge endorphin rush. The beautiful melodies and lyrics still playing in a never-ending loop in my consciousness. A smile on my face as I thought of the Taglish and slang in their music (Hotdog pioneered this). So this is the famous ‘Manila Sound’ of the 70s. I’m ever so glad that my family and I got to see this band in our lifetime.

Another amazing production from Alyx Ty of Topstar Entertainment. According to Alyx Hotdog will be back in New Zealand – next year!

Mel Fernandez