Darren Espanto, Moira Dela Torre, Nadine Lustre, Zack Tabudlo, and more Pinoy acts were invited to perform at the Expo 2020 to sold-out and energetic crowds.
Pinoy music is worthy of the international stage, period. History is filled with many moments of local acts and their music making waves abroad. 2021 alone saw breakthrough achievements for P-pop groups and history-making songs be made by Filipino artists for Disney. That international recognition was on further display during the Expo 2020 in Dubai when multiple Filipino musicians were invited to take the stage at this global event. And the best part was that they were greeted by packed crowds ready to jam out with them. Check out the OPM acts who performed.
JUAN KARLOS LABAJO HEADLINES EXPO 2020
For those who don’t know, Expo 2020 is a World Expo celebrating the cultures and advancements of the world. This year’s event is being held in Dubai from October 1, 2021 – March 31, 2022. As part of this global celebration, the expo has many events highlighting music from around the world, and that includes OPM.
It started when Juan Karlos Labajo was invited to perform at the Late Nights @ Expo 2020 Dubai stage on October 2, 2021. In doing so, he joined a lineup of international artists and became the first Filipino to headline an event at Expo 2020. Taking the stage at the Dubai Millennium Amphitheatre, Juan Karlos showed off his guitar and vocal skills in his 45-minute set. During his set, he also collaborated with Tarek Reda, the lead guitarist of Carl & The Red Mafia, a local band from Dubai. Meanwhile, the band who played with Juan Karlos were fellow kababayans from Dubai.⠀
DARREN ESPANTO AND DECEMBER AVENUE BRING OPM TO DUBAI
Juan Karlos though wouldn’t be the last Pinoy to perform at the Expo. On November 21, 2021 Darren Espanto, December Avenue, and The Benedikte performed at the Jubilee Stage to a sold-out outdoor crowd. That concert was specifically meant to highlight Filipino music and the organizers chose a varied group of performers. Darren performed an eight-song set as he served vocals, dance moves, and stage presence.
December Avenue, of course, is one of the most iconic bands in all of OPM, so it was only fair they get to perform at a Filipino-centric concert. The five-member band took to the stage to rock out to some of their biggest hits. Meanwhile, six-member indie band The Benedikte performed a mix of English and Filipino songs. It was a night of entertainment that surely delighted all the Pinoys and OFWs in the audience and even non-Filipinos.
Before 2021 came to a close, The Juans graced the Jubilee Stage at the Dubai 2020 Expo. The five member band collection of hugot songs have charmed many Pinoy fans, and that includes those aboard. The group had an over 1 hour and 30 minute set where they serenaded the crowd with some of their biggest hits on their December night performance.
OPM icon brought the rock and stage presence to the 2020 Dubai Expo with his concert at the Jubilee Stage. Considering how Bamboo has given us some of the most memorable OPM songs of the last two decades, it definitely must have been a treat for those in attendance for him to have sung those live.
Angeline Quinto is no stranger to performing at sold out crowds. So when she took the stage in early December 2021 at the Jubilee Stage, her concert was met with excitement. Performing alongside OPM band Six Part Invitation, the Power Diva wowed the crowd with her signature vocals.
SPONGE COLA AND MATTHAIOS
Concert goers were in for a treat on the night of December 15, 2021. Sponge Cola rocked as they performed over two decades worth of hits. They did classics like Tambay, Pag-Ibig, Kunwari, Bitiw, and Jeepney during their hour long set. What made it even more special was that this was the first time they performed live since the pandemic began. And if that wasn’t enough, Pinoy rap star Matthaios also took the stage as he performed a nearly one hour set delivering some of his best rap hits.
Imagine this: Lea Salonga serenading you with her signature voice as she sings the classics during Christmas day. Well, for those who attended Dubai Expo 2022 on December 25, 2021, they didn’t have to imagine it. It actually happened. As part of the lineup for their Christmas Day show, Lea Salonga delivered a magical night for many in attendance as the Disney legend made sure everyone had a memorable Christmas night.
MOIRA DELA TORRE
When you have an expo that, among many ways, uses OPM as a way to celebrate the world, the party won’t be complete without having the legend that is Moira Dela Torre perform. And that she did and most appropriately, she did so on Valentine’s Day 2022. Taking to the Jubilee Stage on February 14, Moira tugged at the heartstrings of many in attendance as she sang some of her most famous hugot songs.
KZ TANDINGAN, MC MUAH, AND LASSY
Asia’s Soul Supreme KZ Tandingan performing at Expo 2020 Dubai? Yes please. The seasoned performer recently took to the stage in the expo as she performed at the Dec Arena on February 19, 2022. But what made her concert stand out from the rest was that she also invited comedians MC Muah and Lassy to the show. Becoming the first Filipino act to perform at the DEC Arena during the Dubai Expo, they brought the vocals and the good times. It was a great night for music and comedy for the sold out crowd in attendance.
ZACK TABUDLO AND JUSTIN VASQUEZ
In 2021, Zack Tabudlo went from becoming a musical prodigy into one of the fastest rising musicians of the new generation. His star rose significantly over the past year so it was little surprise that the OPM star was invited to perform at the Dubai Expo. With special guest Justin Vasquez performing as well, Zack gave a memorable concert as it was just him and guitar on stage. Clearly it was an emotional moment for the singer as he even got teary eyed at one point in the one hour concert.
NADINE LUSTRE, BILLY CRAWFORD, KIM MOLINA, AND LUCA GAIRANOD
Talk about line-up. Concert goers at the Sustainability Plaza were in for a night of beats, grooves, and good music as Nadine Lustre, Billy Crawford, Kim Molina, and Lyca Gairanod came together for one epic night the the Dubai Expo. As part of the expo’s street music celebration, these four stars brought the house down as they delivered collab performances and solo sets.
The Philippines actually has a booth at the expo called PH Pavillion, so feel free to stop by if you are in the area or plan on visiting. The space is dedicated to showing the unique and diverse charms and cultures of the country. OPM continues to get the respect and recognition it deserves, and it was nice to see these talented Pinoy acts perform on stage in the world expo in Dubai alongside other talented musicians from around the world.