Erik Santos: Faith In Formula
By JOJO P. PANALIGAN
August 31, 2012, 12:16pm
Erik Santos doesn’t believe in fixing anything that ain’t broke
MANILA, Philippines—While the term “reinvention” seems to have become a mantra for established artists, to the point that it has been perceived by some as a marketing ploy or an angle, Erik Santos wisely chooses to give his public what they have loved about him from day one.
In his concert series “Greatest Theme Songs” staged at Meralco Theater on Aug. 30 and 31, Erik sang mostly ballads even when there are movie and TV theme songs that have upbeat tempo. Even the songs he recorded for local teleseryes that found their way into the show were arranged close to how we hear them on the boob tube (strings soaring, timpanis swelling from bridge leading to final choruses, etc). Apparently, Erik believes in not fixing anything that ain’t broke, and the audience lapped it up, if only for the artist’s superb vocal command both in terms of technique and expression.
As in concerts by other artists, there are a lot of medleys in “Greatest Theme Songs” that were grouped according to theme (Disney medley, biggest selling theme songs medley, Rey Valera medley, etc). Erik also went for laughs by mimicking the way other artists sing; in this case, Vina Morales who was one of his special guests in the show. People were in stitches when Erik did a playful impression of her sometimes whisper-y, often crescending vocal style.
The audience particularly loved the Gary-Erik medley since both seem to know instinctively when to let the other shine but without holding back. It seems either singer knew the capacity of the other that’s why they gave it their all throughout the number, certain as they were that no one would end up “eclipsed.” As for the Basil-Erik tandem, it was interesting hearing how Erik was able to give the former’s hit songs a new touch by sheer virtue of the latter’s vocal quality filtered through a perspective. Basil’s voice is so inimitable that by itself, makes his songs sound “signature.” Yet Erik deftly steered clear of courting comparison by singing his parts the way he would even if it were done en solo.
Erik’s rapport with the audience has improved over the years. He banters with members of the audience and even enjoins them to sing with him, as if they were in intimate setting. He pokes fun at himself, saves what could’ve been awkward situations with wisecracks, and compliments the audience. He has become a picture of a self-assured performer who has transcended the need to uphold an image. Clearly, Erik knows his fans and his fans know him. It’s called a relationship.
As expected, the real merit of “Greatest Theme Songs” is in Erik’s vocal range and its power. By that, we not only mean his ability to reach the high notes that can literally make walls shake at times (as heard in his production number with Opera Belles). Erik can also hit super low notes or if not, he presents an alternative that sounds just as pleasing, almost as if the melodic line was written as such to begin with. His vibrato is still in fine form and the brillio of his voice is hard to match by other performers his age.
When Erik sings, he gives so much of himself that you sometimes have to hold your breath just observing the exertion. He sucks you into the display of prowess, leaving you no choice but give an A for the effort at the very least. It’s a selfless offer few dare to make not only because they won’t, but they can’t. Verily, Erik is over and above them.
“Greatest Theme Songs” did not present anything new. And with a singer like Erik, that’s just great.