Tuesday, February 05, 2008

A Wonderful Evening Outing

I am a big Sheila Majid fan and have been following her career for years ever since I first heard the songs from her first album.

If there was a local artist that I would say that I’m a fanatic of, Sheila Majid would definitely be the one.

But I have never been to any of her live performances .. ever .. until this past weekend.

For years, I’ve always regretted not being able to watch my favorite local artist performing live. I remember being so close to going to her “Legenda Concert at Stadium Merdeka” back when I was in KPP only to be foiled by a transportation problems getting to the venue. Her last concert was at the Petronas Philharmonic Hall at KLCC sometime back which again I had to miss because I didn’t have anyone to go with. When I was active in my company dinner organizing committee back in the day, I always had her name on the top of my list of entertainers to invite but we could never seem to get her to come to our function. Years have passed and I’ve actually resigned myself to the possibility that I would not get a chance to see my idol performing live.

When I saw a banner at SultanMuzzafar’s blog that said that she would be performing for the Institut Jantung Negara (IJN) Foundation Charity Benefit, I knew that I finally got my chance. I am a loyal supporter of the IJN Foundation who do good work for people needing expensive heart health care which would be out of reach for them if not for the funding/help provided by the foundation. Last year, at around the same time of the year, they organized a benefit staging of the “Puteri Gunung Ledang – The Musical” at Istana Budaya which I attended with my family. This year the whole family was planning to go on a trip to Indonesia at the same time as when the concert was happening which means that they would not be going.

I was crushed! I really wanted to go but again run into the same old problem of not having someone else to go with. I hate going to concerts alone (which I did once when Richard Marx had his concert in KL ages ago) no only because of my transportation situation but also not having someone to share the occasion with would really suck. Fortunately, this was the new me now, the guy who was no longer the hermit crab living in his own world in the middle of nowhere. I quickly made a list of the people I knew would enjoy a Sheila Majid concert as well as enjoy each other’s company to invite to join me for a night out.

It was made easier for me that my mum was able to secure me the cheapest tickets for the concert at RM100 per seat instead of the normal price of RM150. On of the perks of having relatives working at IJN is not only will you get a chance to attend IJN Foundation events but a secured room at IJN should you need to have a heart operation! With that all set, I sent out txt and Facebook messages out to the people on my list and waited to see who would say yes to the offer. There were some people on my invite list that I really wished that they could go as it would really have made the night more interesting. Fortunately some people did which really made my day since I really wanted to go to the show.

On the day of the show, we made plans to meet up at KLCC to have dinner before going to the show which was being held at the nearby KL Convention Center. I was already there since 4 pm as I had another meeting planned earlier before the guys showed up. We had dinner at the Apartments at KLCC which was located where Shrooms was before. Wasn’t particularly impressed by the food they served but the company was more than worth the time spent there. After dinner, we took a short walk using the connecting tunnel between KLCC and the Convention Center to reach the concert hall.

Our tickets were for the nosebleed section on level 3. As we came into the hall I was quite surprised to see how empty that section was given the time that we came in. I had checked the online ticket website to see ticket availability and it did say that they had sold out for the cheapest tickets to the show. I had imagined that the section would be packed by then but instead I found it to be strangely deserted. I found out later that majority of the seats on our level were purchased by the corporate sponsors who would normally distribute it to their own staff. I’m guessing that somewhere along the line, those tickets did not get distributed out leaving just empty seats around us. It’s a pity seeing all the empty seats that night when I think of the other people trying to get tickets online only to be told that they have sold out.

Our 3 seats were originally at the top left side of the room but thanks to much cajoling from the guys with me that night, we decided to move further down the assigned seating to be closer to the edge to see the stage better. Those who know me knows how hard it was to get me to agree to that. I do not have a thick skin, people! The thought of being caught sitting in a seat not assigned in the ticket that I hold actually mortifies me. But being a night of many first, I decided to throw caution to the wind and move down with the rest of the guys. It turned that eventually the event crew requested that everyone to move down to the second level to fill up seats there but we decided to stay where we were since it had a better view of the stage.

The concert started a bit late as to allow for the arrivals of VIPs which included the Prime Minister and wife. They had a short cheque presentation from corporate sponsors who donated graciously to the cause which was received by the PM. Thankfully there were no grand speeches from any of the VIP that night as people were already grumbling around me about the late start. As the starting strains of “Ku Mohon” start playing over the short presentation of her visit to IJN, I was getting more excited about seeing my favorite artist in action. I didn’t have to wait much longer when she appeared on stage launching into the first song of many that night.

The concert itself was a blast. Everyone around us practically knew the words to all of the song she sang that night and we sang along with her. The guys who I came with were so busy with their cameras, either snapping pictures of the singer or making bootleg copies of the concert performance (hahahah), that I had to check in with them to make sure that they at least were enjoying the show for a view other than the camera’s view finder. At certain points of the concert, all of us were up on our feet (including the PM who we could see from our seats) and dancing to the music. I think that the last time I had actually attempted to move my body is any type of rhythmic activity, Clinton was still the President in the US. It was quite liberating actually to be able to let loose a bit and just dance to celebrate the music that was being performed for us.

Of course I also found out that night that a certain someone I was with that night really has the worst sense of rhythm I have ever seen. I never imagine that I would find someone who sucked it at more than me. Good thing that your charming self more than compensated for the lack of coordinated movement.

Sheila went through 3 dress changes throughout the slightly more than 2 hours concert that night. She sang all of her fan favorites from her earlier albums that went down well with the audience who practically grew up listening to her songs. This was also her first concert in 7 years after her last appearance at Petronas Philharmonic Hall which made it more special for the IJN Foundation as she was willing to come back for their cause. It was clear that she loved the crowd and the energy that she was getting from them as we partied the night away. She did only one encore performance that night but it was for a song that all of us were waiting to hear the whole night. Her performance of “Legenda” accompanied by her fans in the auditorium was a wonderful way to end the concert.

We left the concert hall at almost midnight feeling the buzz from a really enjoyable show. Most of us decided to stop at a nearby eating establishment to get some should-be-avoided post midnight nosh before going back to end the day. It was a wonderful evening outing for me which of course left me losing my voice in the following days after the concert but the experience of seeing Sheila Majid live in concert was worth walking around sounding like a trombone for days. I don’t know when I would get the opportuinity to see her in concert again but at least now I can cross one more item from my list of things that I want to do.


sbanboy said...

Sheila Majid is my all time favorite ... am glad you were able to see her live with friends.

Nickxandar said...

Thanks, bro.

Hey .. you have a great New Year break with the family :-)