The Nightingale Returns to Sydney

World-class chanteuse, one of OPM’s finest, Asia’s Nightingale Lani Misalucha dazzles and sparkles as she returns to Australia for a series of shows across different states. Her tour has kicked off in Sydney, opening up the month of August with an astonishing bang and a concert experience to remember.

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It is indeed a dream come true for me to watch her perform live, and actually witness what the entire of Vegas is having a conniption on. And I definitely did. It may just be a taste of it, but it has been extremely delightful you would surely beg for more. I missed her first show back in 2011 where she actually did the whole impersonation material. What a loss for me.

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Lani’s amazing backup singers. Seriously good. The third in the string is actually her sister, May Bayot.

Hailed as the “Siren of the Strip”, Lani has showcased more than what the crowd has expected of her, and certainly epitomised world-class brilliance and vocal excellence. She is just insanely amazing, for the lack of concrete words to use. It is so hard to explain the feeling of just being mesmerised and flabbergasted at the same time by what this singing machine is able to do.

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Her voice would just blow you away and I couldn’t figure out where all that power is coming from. I might sound exaggerating or perhaps, naive about great singing talents, but trust me she is exceptional. If you’re a fan who saw his idol perform live for the very first time, then you’d understand where I’m coming from.

She is very gorgeous. An astonishing truth is that she is already a ‘Lola’ (but a sexy and feisty one) to her second daughter’s newborn. But obviously, no traces of it at all!

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This is her ‘whistling’ position. So compelling!

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Lani’s version of “flooring”

The pop diva had a remarkable (and tasteful) repertoire of songs, ranging from classics to contempt stuff, showing how she can masterfully straddle pop music and classic tunes. It was fantabulous.

My favourite items on the list include the opening where she starts off the show with Whitney Houston’s “Queen of the Night.” For many years now, Lani’s version is known to be the best, if not one of the best renditions of this song as it incorporates Lani’s coloratura aria which was just dumbfounding as always. Almost chilled my blood.

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Musical director, Jimmy Antiporda. Brilliant man of music!

She also did a snippet from her all-time signature hit “Loving You” (originally by Minnie Riperton) where she tried to get the audience to sing the whistle part, and obviously failed to do so. It was hilarious! But dude, she was astounding. It’s something I’ve been dying to hear her do live all my life.

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Singing “Saan Darating Ang Umaga” and talking about how they shot the music video situated along the streets of Manila.

The show cannot be complete if she didn’t perform the Pinoy smashers that she popularised like “You Don’t Have To Say You Love Me” (originally by Dusty Springfield); and most especially, her signature hit, “Bukas Na Lang Kita Mamahalin” that made Lani a very important OPM bastion. It is like an unspoken law to perform these songs.

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The highlight of the night was Lani’s rendition of Puccini’s aria, “Nessum Dorma”. She comes out of the stage in this very beautiful and stunning gown designed by Rocky Gathercole. Nobody’s seemed to have anticipated it but lo, there she was singing probably one of the hardest songs to sing in history. (I mean, d’oh, you gotta have the guts, and the gift so you can get through this one). And man she nailed it! She has suddenly become a different being all the while. Vocals, impeccable. Interpretation, moving regardless if I didn’t understand a word in a song that’s high above the clouds. It was just poignant. One of those songs that still ring in my head even up to now. It’s a haunting melody.

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This is the breathtaking aria!


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Lani sang a number of popular songs like “If I Ain’t Got You” (originally by Alicia Keys); the breathtaking Beyoncé hit, “Love On Top”; the terrific Whitney-MJ-Donna medley; another medley of well-loved movie theme songs; and an electrifying rendition of “Bohemian Rhapsody”, to name a few.

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Quite effortless singing. Paradoxical that her singing is so relaxed, so composed while her voice is just so big and powerful! Mind=blown.

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The pop diva also graciously sang a couple of songs from her new album “The Nightingale Returns” (i.e., a collection of some of the greatest Filipino songs of all time exquisitely rearranged and revived), like “Saan Darating Ang Umaga” (originally by Raymond Lauchengco) that presented an incredibly stirring arrangement. She also sang “Starting Over Again” (a bonus track from the album; originally by Natalie Cole), which was the theme song for the most recent Piolo-Toni movie with the same title.

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All these songs got the crowd singing; some even losing themselves; and a lot applauding on their feet simply because of the indubitable excellence and artistry of this diva extraordinaire.

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The Nightingale has closed the night on a high note with a medley of dance music, which people danced to and sang along with.

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Chit-chat moments

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Overall, it’s been an awesome experience. It got me craving for more actually. It’s like after the show, I’ll never listen to Lani the same way again. She’s really got my full respect and admiration. Another reason to be more proud to be Pinoy, and to value and appreciate the wealth of talents Filipinos got.

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My only photo with Lani. Out of all the photos that could go crap, this had to be it. Epic!

Rie Manaloto 

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Amazing, amazing album. Major, major amazement! You seriously should get yourself a copy! My fav cuts: “Paano”, “Bulag, Pipi, Bingi”, “May Bukas Pa”, “Ikaw Lamang”, and “Muli”. Exquisite arrangements.


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Finally got a couple of decent photos with Lani! Thanks to Darryl O’Brien!

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Rie Manaloto