Sam Concepcion was all smiles at his Stages Sessions gig because, as he put it, he got to be himself on the 26th Street Bistro stage and sing songs by artists he looks up to, such as Justin Timberlake, Robin Thicke and Troye Sivan.
My mother and I had a standing invitation to join the people of Stages Talents at a Stages Sessions event for a while now. In case you don’t know what that is, it’s when one of the artists they manage does an acoustic performance at Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf’s 26th Street Bistro in Bonifacio Global City. Some of the artists who have had their own Stages Sessions include Christian Bautista and Morrissete Amon. Their shows were among those my mother and I had been invited to. Because we love good music, we accepted both those invitations. Unfortunately, something would always come up, rendering us unable to go.

So when I found out that Sam Concepcion was slated for his own Stages Sessions on March 13, I decided to make sure nothing would get in our way this time.

I’ve had the highest respect for Sam and his talent since his Little Big Star days. (The image of him performing “Hanging By a Moment” by the rock band Lifehouse on the show is still burned into my brain a decade after the fact.) I even took voice lessons at the Trumpets Musicademy when I found out Sam’s old coach Lani Ligot worked there too. Sam and I have also known each other for quite a while. I used to hang out with him and the other Gigger Boys back in the day. Ergo, I figured I owed it to Sam—not to mention his managers Audie Gemora and Carlo Orosa, two of the nicest people in the business—to watch him do his thing at the 26th Street Bistro.

I told my mother about Sam’s show days before it was scheduled to take place so she could make arrangements for us to watch it. My mother manages both our schedules these days. Because of my mental health disorder, I get overwhelmed when I have to do that myself. Knowing how much watching Sam would mean to me, my mother made sure that not even wild horses could keep us from watching his show. I was petrified that something would go wrong at the last minute, but thankfully nothing did.

The only thing that stressed me out on the day of Sam’s show was the insane traffic on EDSA. Sam was set to take the stage at 5:00 PM, and at 4:45 PM, our cab was going so slowly due to the traffic, a snail could’ve beaten us to BGC. I was panicking because I didn’t want to end up missing another Stages Sessions show, but Mom calmed me down by reminding me that in showbiz, hardly anything starts on time. I wasn’t sure if I believed her, but since there was nothing I could do about our situation, I decided to listen to Sam’s new album Bago instead.

Since he began his showbiz career, Sam has released an EP, a bunch of studio albums, and even appeared on the Asian version of the Kung Fu Panda soundtack. But of everything in Sam’s catalog, Bago is his best yet.

His 2013 album Infinite marked his first stab at adopting a more mature image, but Sam truly came into his own—as a recording artist and, I’d wager, otherwise—on Bago. Good thing my mother and I made it to the 26th Street Bistro just in time for Sam’s set, or we wouldn’t have seen just how much he’s grown.

We arrived just as two girls were finishing their own set, and Ate Jas Rocafort, who has worked with Sam for as long as I can remember, met us at the door. The place was packed by the time my mother and I got there, but Ate Jas was able to find us two seats right in front of the stage. I was a little mortified when I found out that those seats belonged to Sir Carlo and another guest, which meant that he had given up his seats for us. But after Ate Jas assured me it was OK, I sat back and waited for Sam to take the stage. When he did, I was blown away.

He bounced onstage with so much swag, which kept him firing on all cylinders throughout his 12-song set. But don’t take my word for it. Watch all of Sam’s performances from his Stages Sessions below. (Yes, I filmed the whole set.)

I was planning to catch up with Sam after the show ended, but I only had a few minutes alone with him—during which he wrapped me and Mom in one-armed half-hugs and thanked us profusely for watching—before he was beseiged by his fans. (One of them even traveled all the way to BGC from Batangas just for the show. How’s that for devotion?) I did get a selfie with him before Mom and I left, so it’s all good.

This was all Sam and I had time for after his set, a quick selfie and some small talk. But it's OK. The look on his face when he got offstage and saw me and my mother in the crowd was priceless. Hehe.
Besides, knowing that Sam appreciated our presence was enough for me. Plus it made me really happy to see him up there, totally in his element, singing songs he says he really likes—including two cuts from his latest album, which is truly SAMsational. Hehe.

I’m looking forward to your next gig already, Sam. Whether it’s a mall show to promote Bago, another Stages Sessions set or even a full-blown concert, my mother and I will be there. Count on it!

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The old Julian can't come to the phone right now.


  1. Thanks, sir Julian for this! Samsters appreciate this blog of yours. Hoping to see you more on Sam's gigs and we're looking forward for your SAMsational part 2!!! ♥

  2. Thank you for believing and loving our dear Sam. Hoping to see you soon in some of his gigs (and Tippy's gigs also haha!)