Wednesday, March 23, 2005

The Seven-Hour Itch

The thought of having seemingly a gazillion superstars in the humble city of Kuala Lumpur is a bit far-fetched to register. But with the immensely influential factor of the date of a charity concert coinciding with that of the Malaysian Grand Prix, the prefix was removed from 'unbelievable' for a brief moment in local cynicism.

I went to the Force of Nature concert with my ex-colleagues from CLEO, Stephanie and Sow Yee. A lot of stars made surprise turn-ups to add glamour to the already long list of red carpet arrivals. I regretted not bringing my camera - security wasn't tight at all, my Filet O'Fish got through clean. Not only did the whole event last almost double the time originally scheduled (seven hours, last performance ended at 3am), but the performances grossly over-justified the RM82 ticket I had paid for. I swear their contracts must have had some clause stating the phrase 'must be a crowd-pleaser'.

PRESENTERS
Paula Abdul - The first presenter. No-one knew it was her until she completed her monologue and introduced herself. Malaysian dweebs, and you all call yourself Idol fans.
Lance Bass & Joey Fatone - Whoa Joey, you really live up to your surname now. And we don't care about you backup dancers, we want to meet the guys who actually sing in N'Sync.
Alan Cumming - Didn't make much of an entrance. Girls were screaming mainly because of his Scottish inflections. C'mon people, doesn't the word 'Nightcrawler' ring a bell?
Michelle Yeoh - Looking stylish in a kebaya top, jeans, a completely unnecessary hat and a new un-Malaysian accent. No prizes for guessing why she's back in town.
Clay Aiken - Stepped out in spectacles and clothes which my dad usually wears for Sunday morning dim sum. He was easily forgiven after reading out a short passage in Malay, then addressed us as "Tuan-tuan dan Puan-puan" (Gentlemen and Ladies) in perfect pronounciation.
Ken Watanabe - He came out, mentioned something about being a force of nature, threw his fist into the sky, screamed out a few times and disappeared behind the curtains again. His appearance was the shortest, coolest and most bewildering. Gotta love em Japs.
Bai Ling - giving the fashion police a breather in some refreshingly decent clothes.
Esai Morales - "Ladies and Gentlemen, please welcome... WYCLEF JEEEEEEEEEN!!" The entire stadium gave a simultaneous cringe.
Kimora Lee Simmons - The last presenter of the night. When she was introduced by the previous presenter as 'The First Lady of Hip-Hop', more than half the audience was expecting someone like Missy or Mary J. She was lovely anyhow.

ARTISTES
Lauryn Hill - Mellow and lovely. Played some acoustic numbers, the only uptempo number was That Thing (Doo Wop). Loved her brass section. She was entirely immersing herself in her music. Her presence was ethereal. And her skirt was to die for.
Innuendo, V.E. & Ruffedge - Good attempt at keeping audiences entertained. Dug that synkronized knee-bopping. Played it safe with Belaian Jiwa.
Sheila Majid - The queen of happy songs! It was all going fantastic until Anuar Zain and Dayang Nurfaizah joined her on stage. Nevertheless, Ikhlas Tapi Jauh is a song I always enjoy live.
Boyz II Men - Left no ballad unturned. Medley of classics, including Water Runs Dry, On Bended Knee and End of the Road really got the crowd going. And who would have expected them to jump out with Motownphilly!? Whack!
Ruth Sahanaya - Indonesia's equivalent to Sheila Majid. She was a powerhouse! Then she called out a duet partner - her 'new best friend', Eric Benet! Their voices complemented each other surprisingly well.
Eric Benet - Sexy songs, sexy falsetto, sexy suit. I didn't know loose ties turn me on. I don't care if you're a nymphomaniac, just give me a piece of you and I'll die a happy woman.
Wyclef Jean - One of the best performances that night. He came out saying something like: "26 hours... It took me 26 hours to get to Malaysia! So you all had better get off your seats for Wyclef! I don't care if you're old or young. And if you don't get off your seats, Wyclef's gonna come down and get you!" He boogied with his bodyguard on stage. He ran into the audience to mingle with his fans whilst performing. And this dude just rocked the house. How much, you may ask? He told the entire stadium to wave their cellphones in the air and ordered the technicians to turn off all the lights to create a magical sea of dancing stars. He played his glittery guitar on his back AND with his teeth. Just when everyone thought it couldn't get any better, he got into a Fugee mood, invited Ms. Hill out from backstage, and together in sweet reminiscence, they strummed our pain with their fingers.
Jackie Chan, Nicholas Tse, & Yumiko Cheng - Sadly, the Hong Kongers stuck to their traditional format of crooning to minus ones. Even Jackie's commendable attempt at a ballad duet with Puan Sri Chelsia Cheng failed to draw an enthusiastic applause. To fill a gap of silence during Nicholas Tse's appearance, I called out his name in a blood-curdling scream and according to Stephanie, Nicholas heard it and looked a little freaked out.
Backstreet Boys - Cleanly executed moves, sugary harmonies, matching white suits. To the rapture of many girls and chagrin of their boyfriends, Backstreet's Back and they sure haven't lost it. They sang a few songs from their new upcoming album as well as some musically re-arranged old favorites. Although I sang along primarily for the sake of it, I will admit I did shriek at the intro of All I Have To Give.
Black Eyed Peas - Freestyle rapping and breakdancing by all the male members, note-twirling scatting and one-handed cartwheels by Fergie... Starting their set at 2am, their performance turned out to be the most energetic. Unfortunately, the audience was too burned out to jump around and cheer. Even I felt my knees giving way when shimmy-shaking to Hey Mama. People sat down halfway through Where Is The Love, but confirmed themselves a log-dead slumber by giving it their all to the concert-ending song, the ironically titled Let's Get It Started.

Stars who were in town but didn't show their faces that night included Carmen Elektra, Nick Stahl, Carre Otis and David Blaine.

The only things that pissed be off about the event was
1) The incident of Stephanie's bare back getting intentionally spat on for unexplained reasons while we were partying to BEP, convincing me that cavemen still walk the earth.
2) Not being invited to the after-party. I mean, you gotta think practical here... who was going to finish the fountain of melted chocolate?

3 Comments:

Blogger rei said...

WYCLEF JEAN WAS IN KL AND HELD A CONCERT?!? LAURYN HILL WAS THERE? AAAGGHHHHHHHHH WHY ARE THEY ALL GOING THERE WHEN I AM STUCK HERE IN MANILA?

If that doesn't tell you how much I ENVY YOU RIGHT NOW, then capital letters aren't very useful, are they?

Oh, and Happy Easter in advance! :)

1:29 AM  
Blogger disco-very said...

Thanks Rei! hope you had a good easter yourself! yeah man, that's your cue to fly back here! ;D

7:34 PM  
Blogger cyber-red said...

I thought I could get free tixs then only move my ass to go but didn't get any so..nevermind!

I was with CLEO for 2 1/2 months in 2003 as an Intern! hmm...do I know ya? heh heh...

8:58 PM  

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