Dear Auntie Patti Koh,
My younger brother requested me to stay for another day with him and his family and have decided to leave New Jersey Sunday the First of October. So that my wife and I could see the performance of the Pinoy rock group called HOT DOGS, who had flown in directly from Manila a month ago touring the Pinoy community in the states. My younger brother was their alternate guest drummer.
We have driven from my brother's house in Camden closer to Atlantic City and have to pick up the band at the house of the promoter then in a two SUV convoy, we drove to Central New Jesey where the venue of the gig will be. This is a side performance, in a Pinoy Bistro called Bistro San Miguel in Central New Jersey which is at least an hour drive from my brother's house.
When we arrived at the place parking, I thought it will just be a small and intimate group, since this is just a small place to do the HOTDOGS side trip performance.
There was a starting band and people are already in the heat of their dancing and lots of them are already loud, especially the boys from the Navy. There was a smuttering of caucasian in the group and the rest are all Kababayans.
The ticket goes with the performance and the dinner of Sotanghon guisado, Calderetta, Fried Chicken wings, Hotdogs and the rest I cannot figure out because the place is so packed and the light is focused at the small dance floor and the stage, which is the same level with the dance floor.
When the HOTDOGS was introduced, there was pandemonium from the crowd. It was not a rowdy crowd, but just plain Kababayans having a good time and trying to recall their youth when the HOTDOGS was at their prime. The introducing piece was rendered, then another song, then the lead of the group called my brother to sit and play the drum with them on the next number.
My brother did two number with the group and told me there will still be two number that he will be performing with the group. I was so impressed with this kid brother of mine. His rhythm and his tempo and beat on the drum -- I was really impressed. I have seen him in one of his rehearsal with real band, but I have never seen him perform infront of live audience and with the famous group from Manila.
Then the song "Miss Universe" was performed, and the place became more alive and more lively and vibrant. Lots of moving cameras around and it was a riot of fun and laughter and pure enjoyment from the audience as well as with the perfromers.
At least six numbers that has been performed (so far as I recall) then the door at the stage opened up and there was a uniformed New Jersey policeman who took a quick look and glance at the place. Nothing so far has been said, because this is not a joint wherein boys with black shirts and boots and spike hairs are sitting and smoking their weeds. Then after the 6th number of the group, the owner of the Bistro came to the podium and announced in the microphone that the Fire Marshall of New Jersey was there and is requesting all of the people inside the place to step out one at a time for a head count. So the group did follow what was asked, and when we have stepped out of the place with my wife and my sister in law, there were at least five New Jersey squad car at the parking lot and infront of the place with the car of the fire marshall.
Some of the people that have stepped out of the place was already tipssy and loaded and some are already saying things at the hearing distance of the policemen, that is intimidating. A small group kept on chanting the word HOTDOG contienously and then some are chanting Pork Chop contineously and will start to laugh. The police infront of where we were standing was staring at the group who are a little bit loud, and so I came to where the police was standing, introduced myself and explained to them what this group meant to us and the rest of the audiences. I even clarified to them, that the audience are all my age group and they cannot find any teen-ager in the group. The police was very nice and was very polite and jovial with me. I explained to them the message of the the songs that the group was singing and what it meant to people like us who are away from home. I told them, this group represents the sentiments and joy from all of us during the time when the Philippines was in its peak of glory under the regime of the Marcoses.
One of the policeman said to me that the group was very good and they have listen to the songs and he was impressed. Then he said, "Too bad somebody called and complained and we have to respond".
I told the cop, they have to do what they are asked and explained to them that the Pinoy community does not bear grudge on them about this. Then I shook hands with the policeman and said our goodbyes.
Then the Fire Marshall advised the owner of the Bistro, that the show has to be put to an end for the evening. Then my brother said that we have to leave the place also, and we left the venue, but there are still people milling around the place.
And so Auntie Patti Koh, the evening of fun for the Pinoys have come to an end and I have no regrets about the sad ending, because at least I saw my kid brother performing infront of crowd who was so appreciative at his drumming skills.
I HAVE NEVER BEEN SO PROUD OF THIS KID BROTHER OF MINE.