Domicile of Da' KRUsader's Mind Crafts…

“An Evening With Anuar Zain” Review…


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The promotional posters for Singapore (left) and Malaysia (right). Courtesy of Playpause.

My goodness… It’s been four months since I last typed a review, the Anugerah Band competition being the last one, and this time lag of not doing one has made me all rusty in the mind. For starters, I was cracking my head on what to type about in this review. The mind started working on what things to say even before I left home for the concert. Thankfully I drew some inspiration from listening to Anuar‘s collection of songs which I had transferred to my IPOD and put it on whilst driving to the prestigious arena which is the Esplanade, where the concert was held. Don’t worry, I’m not one of those who download his songs from the Net and transfer them over to my IPOD, cos I have all three of his CDs in my collection. Listening to him along the way also helped to warm me up and refreshed my mind on some of the lyrics to his songs. When you expect yourself to be entertained at a concert, you know you’ll have to join in with the singing as well. And that’s just what I did. Kinda like trained my vocal chords as well. I dunno if the lady sitting beside me in the car appreciated her hubby’s singing-at-the-top-of-his-voice or not. But do I care??? Not one bit!!! :P

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Since its inception in 2002, this was the first time that I’ve stepped foot in the Esplanade Concert Hall, the biggest arena in the whole of the Esplanade with a capacity of 1,600. Looking at the price of the tickets, I was initially sceptical that we would get full attendance. With the end of the festive period which more than burned a hole in our pockets and taking into account that Ungu also held their own concert the previous week, an arena half full was something that played in my mind for quite some time. But how gladly wrong I was when I saw the hordes of people making their way to the concert hall. Meeting an old polytechnic-mate along the way gave an indication to how many people were in attendance as word got round that the show was a sell-out. This was certainly music to the ears and I couldn’t wait to enter the arena.

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Looking around, I saw so many familiar faces, celebrities (Taufik Batisah, Juz-B, DidicazliNajip Ali, Rilla Melati, Hyrul Anuar amongst others), famous personalities from the print and electronic media, old friends, neighbours staying around the same area as us, people who had helped us during our wedding (sis Fatimah Mohsin), the list just goes on and on. I felt at home and I certainly got good vibes that the concert was gonna be an excellent one. It had to be. Anyone accorded the responsibility to grace the hallowed grounds of the Esplanade, at the Concert Hall no less, is sure to leave the audience wanting more and nothing less. So the choice to have this talented man gracing the arena was definitely the perfect one. It has been a long time coming, too long perhaps, when the likes of Datin Sri Hajjah Siti Nurhaliza has held 3 concerts before this and since then, he has gained so many admirers, not only amongst the female fans who can’t stop drooling at this perfectly immaculated package, but also amongst the males. I’m sure after last night, for those who had said that they were there to accompany their wives or girlfriends and that they were not fans of Anuar, the experience would have changed their minds.

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The concert was backed up by a seven-piece outfit and the back-up singers made up of members of the group known as Sierra. If I’m not mistaken, Sierra are the proteges of Ferhad and they have performed before at the Mosaic Music Festival at the Esplanade Outdoor Theatre in February 2007 along with Dina of Malaysian Idol fame, Urban Method, Sleeq and Imran Ajmain. It is not often that you get to see an all-male back-up singers outfit accompanying the concert as most back-ups tend to be all-female cast or having the fairer gender in their midst. Having an all-male back-up singers is quite rare but have been done before. I still remember attending KRU‘s 10-years’ anniversary concert at Dataran Merdeka in 2002 and seeing Phyne Ballerz backing them up. As for the sessionists, none of them seemed familiar to me like how used I am to seeing the likes of Steve Thornton on percussions, Ujang on drums, Aubrey Suwito or Jenny Chin on keyboards at Datin Sri‘s concerts. But their quality shone through throughout the night. They were tight and their hard work was amply rewarded with an excellent sound system. The acoustics and the reputation of the Esplanade demand quality to shine through and invigorate its arena.

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Hafeez Glamour and Aura Shai, the current anchors of the weekday morning show on RIA 89.7FM were tasked to make the announcements in English and Malay respectively prior to the concert. One could detect how Aura Shai was trying to contain her excitement, even when she was making the announcement in measured and controlled tones. She is afterall a big fan of his and has been unashamedly telling the whole world that on radio, along with Fiza O. My only gripe with the announcements was the script in English. At times I detected a few wrongs in the sentence structure. There could have been wrongs in the grammar as well. But I’m sure the audience did not mind at all cos all they wanted to see was Anuar Zain himself. Even before he opened his mouth to sing, Anuar had the audience under his thumb. You just knew that he had them cast under his spell when shrieks and whoops were heard when they saw his silhouette waiting by the side while the sessionists began their introductory tunes to signal the start of the long-awaited concert.

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From the first song, “Keabadian Cinta“, to the last, “Teman Terulung“, ok I was wrong, he came back for an encore singing his two massive hits in “Ketulusan Hati” and “Lelaki Ini” to close the concert proper, he enchanted the crowd especially the ladies with that rich voice of his, which to me has no peers, with all due respect to people like Hazami and all the other R&B princes in Malaysia. If Glenn Fredly is the undisputed “King of Indonesian R&B“, then Anuar Zain is his Malaysian counterpart bar none. Anuar belongs to that exclusive club of singers who do not need to have dance steps in his repertoire to win over the crowd. His voice alone, is enough to captivate the audience and lull us into dreamland. When he starts those lung-busting lines, the hair at the back of your neck is bound to stand at how impeccable and perfect his vocals can be and appreciate what a polished diamond this guy is. Ask around all the R&B princes in Singapore and Malaysia, I dare say ALL of them look up to Anuar Zain as their source of inspiration. My love for this genre also includes him as one of my inspirations.

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If you are a fan of the man and have his albums, you’ll know that he does not have that many fast tempo songs. But he did sing them as much as he could. Songs like “Suria & Siarra“, “Bila Resah“, “Permata” and “Kau Bunga Cintaku” at least livened up the atmosphere and added on to that feel-good vibes that all of us were feeling. I just wished that he had closed the concert on an even bigger high had he sung the latter towards the end rather than in the middle of the show. Normally concerts end with a punchy number rather than a sedated one like “Lelaki Ini” but I know the audience couldn’t care less about that fact. A pity though that “Cinta Itu Terindah“, “Bidadari” and “Musim Berlalu“, three of my favourites in his collection were not sung at the concert. The audience was also more responsive and more outgoing as compared to watching someone like Datin Sri. Well you can definitely see the difference when a male is on stage as compared to a female. Pandemonium is an understatement really, which is why male artistes get a lot of attention in our region. Intimacy too was the order of the day as his voice alone reached out to the masses and those with wild imaginations would have closed their eyes and imagine Anuar singing to them privately.

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The husband (Wan) and wife (Nazeera) team of PlayPause. It was from their creative minds that the promotional posters and artwork for the souvenirs were conceived. They make excellent designs for concert posters, wedding invitation cards etc as well and you’d definitely like to engage them after seeing their works.Like their motto, they definitely “Do Nice Things”…

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Aida with the good people of WorkHeart and Playpause… Glad to have met them again after so long…

The man himself took some time to relate his own love experience just before he sang “Kembalilah Kasih“, about how he found out he was second best after five years in a failed relationship. Some girls behind me (I’m saying girls cos I doubt their maturity level) quipped how blind and stupid the girl who dumped Anuar was. Sometimes in life, money, fame, a handsome package and a personality in someone unknown to most people can be a turn off to people close to the person. And what is written up there should not be challenged and chastised. Fate decreeds that the girl is better off with someone else and Anuar himself is better off alone for now. You’ll never know he might be getting someone much better than the previous one. God knows best what’s good and not for all of us. I know who this girl is Anuar was talking about, if it’s who I think it was he was referring, but I’m not gonna say it out, even if you try to squeeze and poke me into revealing her identity. All I can say is, she’s very much happy now in her own life. The story and the emotion-filled song which ensued were too much for some people as I heard sniffs all around me and even the lady in front of me as well as the one on my left (Aida was seated to my right) were seen dabbing their eyes with tissue.

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Mr “Rela Setia” (Didicazli) was in attendance…

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So too did Rilla Melati, looking fiery red last night…

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Hyrul: “I thought you were sitting next to me again bro…” Yes it’s been half a year since we last met and sat next to each other at Datin Sri‘s concert… Man how time flies… Glad to have met you again bro…

It has been a long journey for Anuar Zain in the music industry. His music career which has spanned a decade, actually more than two decades if you were to count his duet albums with Ellina when they were kids and later on in their late teens, was amply rewarded when he was given this great opportunity to perform at the Esplanade. Yes, he might have performed at corporate events, hi-tea functions, be a guest artiste in outdoor shows and Anugerah Planet Muzik here in Singapore before this, but the fact remained, he still had not held his own concert on our shores. Which is why I share Anuar‘s apparent peeve and disappointment that none of the Malaysian media were around to witness this landmark event in his music career. I won’t say that I’m his greatest fan but I’ve always been in awe of his talents and that rich voice of his ever since it matured and his old hit “Kesan Kelukaan” was a hit in the early 90s. I even styled my own way of singing resembling a bit of his, if you ever get the opportunity to hear me sing. :)

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This is “Sulaiman Akhlaken“, one of RIA‘s most ardent listeners.

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This is the guy who is crazy over Dayang Nurfaizah, none other than “Mat Gila“…

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Another one of the listeners, Mr “Hensem Gila“… The beam on his face tells a story of a proud father-to-be… Congrats for hitting the bulls-eye bro… :P

Speaking of “Kesan Kelukaan“, for those of you who were at the concert, I was the one who instigated him into singing that song. A pity that in my excitement and awe that he heard me and asked how does the song goes, I was momentarily stunned and forgot the lyrics till a friend who was coincidentally seated next to Aida reminded me. By then Anuar had shifted his attention to another part of the audience for a quick reminder as he too had forgotten the lyrics to the song. To his credit, as he tried to sing the song and with a little help from the audience, the lyrics came back to him slowly but surely. You can’t fault him for forgetting his own song cos it’s been ages since he last sang it. Finally I am proud to say that I have been a part of this historical landmark in Anuar Zain‘s career and this experience will long be etched in my mind for years to come. I’m sure for those of you who were part of the 1,600 audience, you’d agree and share my sentiments as well. I don’t think the numerous standing ovations that we accorded the man towards the end were enough, he definitely deserved more. A pity though that we were not allowed to have a photograph or autograph taking session at the end of the concert.

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And this is Aida and “Nana CCK“, the proud mother-to-be…

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This is what happens whenever we listeners meet up. We’ll always have some crazy poses in store…

P.S. For the record, the concert was brought to you by the good people of “Heads Up!“, Singtel MIO TV, Warna 94.2FM & RIA 89.7FM being the official radio stations, The Body Shop being the Official Make Up, Manja being the Official Magazine, Amara Hotel being the Official Hotel of the event and PlayPause for the creative artwork on the posters and the souvenirs. A job well done to one and all and a big thank you for making this happen and for making it a resounding success. Now let’s have it on DVD shall we???

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Fiza O goofing around with Anuar‘s caricature…

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After goofing, the ladies finally take a photograph…

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Last photo of the night with Aura Shai

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Earlier in the day, we received some distinguished guests to our home. Sort of like a belated Raya-cum-housewarming visit. Really pleased to have them over. 2 hours plus and we still had so much to talk about, especially on the topic of ghosts. Hope the hospitality had been good bro Esman & sis Nura and thank you for coming over. We definitely love your company!!!

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6 responses

  1. shybeez

    *oh u ruperrr neyrrr PM…* was in my tots as i browsed thro yr review on ANUAR’s concert…

    always heard yr name & abt u & i hv seen u in person too but didnt know dat u r actually PM…okie nice to know u…

    i was there @ d concert too..me sat with sulaiman akhlaken (my bro-in-law’s fren) @ d balcony seats… truly enjoyed d show…every part of it…

    i even had goosebumps & butterflies as i entered d concert hall…cant believe dat im actually watching his live performance…

    thnks again for d well-written review…n yes my hubby has finally agreed dat this man does hv an amazing talent…he tried to look out for any ‘off pitch’ vocals but there werent any….syukran syukran!!!

    Monday, 10 November 2008 at 16:38

  2. Sorrylah bang, and abg nuar. Sebab masa he asked if there were any Malaysian media out there, I did angkat tangan, and waved. Tapi I couldn’t beat you guys punya “jeritan” lah..hehehehe…That I know of, ramai Malaysian press nak datang but the tickets dah sold out. Lucky me, I got the tickets pretty early, lepas Rohila (Anuar’s manager) told me about it. Phew! Memang worth every dollar, ringgit and cents that I spent coming all the way from KL. Anyways, great review!

    Just me,
    Anida,
    Features Writer, Cosmopolitan Malaysia.

    Tuesday, 11 November 2008 at 10:48

  3. Nora

    A good review. So that is Mat Gila….Is his real name Rais? A long lost fren during talentime days in community centres during the 80’s.

    Wednesday, 12 November 2008 at 09:07

  4. Fi

    Hi PM, great review! I was there at the concert as well. By the way, can you drop me an email. I nak request some pics. Can? Thanks!

    Sunday, 16 November 2008 at 03:42

  5. Hi,

    Congrats, u get AZ snapshots at esplanade. Me & my friends tak berani, too much with the bodyguard. Even one of us on the hp & c c c watch, the usher stars to approach, alamak…..whatever it is, we enjoyed the perfomance. Let me introduce, i’m cyberina, the lady who draw AZ caricature & is at Fiza o’S hand in your upload photos…hehe, visit my multiply for mre details….;p

    Thursday, 20 November 2008 at 11:13

  6. Abang,

    Boleh request gambar AZ tak? My fren pun nak….

    Thursday, 20 November 2008 at 11:19

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