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Side A’s then and now members share a stage

AFTER reuniting for two online concerts and a series of small gigs, pop rock band Side A returns with its former and current members for a full-fledged concert, Then and Now: Redux 360 Side A Experience, at the Newport Performing Arts Theater at Newport World Resorts, on Sept. 24.

Side A was founded in 1985 and boasts an impressive lineup of musicians who have been with the group since its beginnings at the Hyatt Hotel’s Calesa Bar. Arguably most popular in the 1990s, the band bagged two Awit Awards and had a triple platinum album. For over 35 years, Side A has made hit ballads such as “Forevermore,” “Hold on,” “Eva Marie,” and “So Many Questions.”

The original band roster was composed of brothers Rodel and Naldy Gonzalez (lead vocals, and keyboards and vocals respectively), Mar Dizon (drums), Pido Lalimarmo (guitars and vocals), Joey Benin (bass), and Kelly Badon (lead guitars).

Alongside founding member Naldy Gonzales, the current band members are Ned Esguerra (bass guitar), Yubs Esperat (lead vocals), and Lee Von Cailao (lead guitar).

According to the band it was a collective decision to play together for the Newport show. The idea came up after the band received good reception from fans during their online concerts in 2021.

“It’s not really pre-planned to continue Side A as long as we could. We just love what we’re doing, we continue doing it. And up to now, we’re so fortunate that people still respond to the music,” Naldy Gonzalez said during a press conference at Newport World Resorts on Sept. 5.

“You have to be true to yourself,” former lead vocalist Rodel Gonzalez said about being honest with one’s artistry. “I would imagine if somebody would have a hit song tapos hindi pala niya gusto ‘yun (but the artist does not like it) personally. So, you would have to pretend that that is your genre.”

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the band has been busy lately.

Last year, the original members gathered for the Side A Redux virtual reunion concert streamed on Then in April, original and new members performed in Side A Redux: Sundown Jam, at Silay City, Negros Occidental, where bassist Joey Benin is based. This was quickly followed that same month with a surprise two-night engagement, Redux 360: A Side A Experience, at 19 East Bar in Parañaque City.

The upcoming concert at the Newport Theater will also feature indie singer-songwriter Clara Benin, daughter of the band’s original bassist Joey Benin.

“I feel very honored to be performing, not only with my dad but his band. I grew up listening to Side A and attending their concerts. Not I get to not just be backstage, but be on stage with them,” Ms. Benin said during the press conference.

“To do what you love to do at that moment was more than enough,” Rodel Gonzalez said. “Bonus nalang until now na appreciated pa rin ang Side A (It is a bonus that Side A is appreciated until now).”

Tickets for Then and Now: Redux 360 Side A Experience are now available at TicketWorld and SM Tickets outlets, with ticket prices ranging from P500 to P5,000. For inquiries, contact the NWR National Sales Team  (0917-823-9602, 0917-807-9387, and 0917-658-9378), or call Ticketworld (02 8891-9999), or SM Tickets (02 8470-2222). — Michelle Anne P. Soliman

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