I know quite a few people are patiently awaiting this particular entry of mine. It is extremely humbling and kinda embarrassing when people go up to you personally and say how much they enjoy reading your blog and always awaiting for the next entry. Well I experienced just that during this particular event and it has made me all the more honoured and responsible towards those who do take the time to read whatever rants and raves I have in store. But honestly I prefer to remain as low a profile as possible off-screen.
When it comes to any showcase or performance made by this amazing singer / songwriter, you’ll know I’ll almost always have good things to say about the event and the man himself as a whole. I’m beginning to feel as though I’m a broken record, repeating the same things over and over again. Which is why I believe I’m gonna disappoint most of you as this review might not be to my usual standards, because honestly speaking, I’ve run out of superlatives to describe his vocals and showmanship. I’ve been spending a few days scratching my head on what to type for this particular entry. So apologies in advance if this review ain’t as spectacular as previous ones.
This “DSX” concert / showcase (I still dunno why it was called DSX, was it supposed to be “Dengan Secara Xclusif” or something???) marked the end of Imran Ajmain’s “Dengan Secara Kebetulan” (DSK) album promotions here in Singapore. Held at The Chamber situated on the 2nd floor of The Arts House @ Old Parliament Building, this was a different showpiece as compared to his previous “Dengan Secara Langsung” showcase at the same building on 25th April 2007 and his “Hitam & Putih Concert” at The Esplanade on 7th November 2007. Why was it different??? Well for those who did not get the opportunity to attend any of his shows, then perhaps a little summary would not hurt a bit (Actually it gives me some ammunition on what to type… 😛).
The very first showcase last year at The Playden was memorable for the fact that it was the man’s birthday and he serenaded the audience accompanied by mostly minus one tracks and a two-piece acoustic band. The concert at The Esplanade was a little extravagant for the fact that he was accompanied by Sri Mahligai, who are well-known for their ethnic / traditional slant, besides the fact that it was at THE Esplanade. This past Wednesday, he was accompanied by a four-piece live band. With the acoustics and surroundings perfect for such an event, I felt as though I was watching a live performance at the pub / lounge.
Hey, don’t get me wrong!!! I’m sure for those who have experienced watching live bands performing at pubs / lounges, you’ll agree that the atmosphere is very much at ease with people bobbing their heads and singing along to the words if they know the lyrics to the song. Also why I likened it to sitting in a pub was because, this event was unique in that Imran not only sang songs from his album but he had also requested visitors of his blog to suggest some other songs he could sing for added variety. Which of course is what you get when you watch a live band performing with people requesting their favourite songs to be sung.
On the other hand, I also felt that this show was like a jamming session, with a lot of monkeying around and banter thrown in the mix between the singer and his audience. As a performer, you know you need to have a good rapport with your audience and being witty, spontaneous will most definitely be feathers in the cap when people judge how good you are. I believe this guy is already a professional at it. He’s not known as “The Storyteller” for nothing. He can go on and on and will always have interesting anecdotes to share between songs. You don’t get that in most singers / performers. I still remember in my entry dated 18 January 2007 titled “2007’s First Entry“, I had brought up the topic on Imran being all jittery and quite business-like with his audience rapport during his first album launch. Look what a year of countless performances has transformed him into??? One wonders if he would write a journey of his career sometime in about five to ten years’ time. He could easily fill his book with his thoughts.
Imran singing “Sesuatu Janji“.
Credits to “noraries54” for the video… Excellently taken…
What sets Imran apart from most male R&B singers in the region is his ability to do the falsetto effortlessly. Some people think of it as a weakness, others think of it as a technique that would get him out of trouble from hitting the high notes with a deeper voice. I for one think it is a technique that not many people can execute and fair play to him if he manages to do it well. I believe for those who do not know about music, they will say all sorts of things like it being a singer’s shortcoming. But the falsetto technique has been there for ages if you listen to “Earth, Wind & Fire“, “Bee Gees” and “Maxwell” amongst others. And it doesn’t make these guys less of a man. So I was left stumped when Imran related how a Malaysian journalist had asked him if his technique was a weakness, when the journalist himself spoke in an effeminate way. If I was Imran, I would have shot back at the journalist for calling the kettle black. I guess that’s why perhaps I’m not cut out to be a singer cos I might even be more controversial with my words. Just look at how I’m able to incite anger on the airwaves…
Imran with “Compromise” and “Apologise“…
Credits to “LassienVardamir” for the video clip…
Songs-wise, I was blown away at how Imran sang some of my personal favourites like Taufik‘s “Sesuatu Janji” (the only song from the Idol that I like) which he co-wrote and fusing his own “Compromise” with One Republic‘s “Apologise“. The fusion was just seamless and did not skip a beat. If there was a weakness to this particular fusion, then it’s due to the contradictory lyrics which called for a compromise at the start but ended off with being “too late to apologise“. A pity I was rudely interrupted by a call when I was recording it for my own personal viewing later on. Other notable performances which left the audience in awe was his take on Anuar Zain‘s “Ketulusan Hati“, Search‘s “Fantasia Bulan Madu“, Alicia Keys‘ “Fallin” and Chaka Khan‘s “Through The Fire“. I guess you can watch these clips for yourselves on YouTube. Even Hyrul Anuar who was part of the audience was not spared and was roped in by Imran to sing Datin Sri Hajjah Siti Nurhaliza‘s “Percayalah” with him.
Hyrul: “Hah!!! Ni mesti letak kat blog kan???”
Me: “Heh!!! Yes of course, mesti letak punya!!!”
Amazing fella, one of the most under-rated singers in Singapore… I really hope luck would be kinder and destiny would open more opportunities for him. Stay strong dude, and keep the faith!!!
However, what left an impact on me was his honest take on his nominations at Anugerah Planet Muzik 2008. I believe he was being realistic when he told the fans to NOT VOTE for him and to save their sms-es and votes. The money which they could possibly save by not voting could be used instead to buy his upcoming album which will be released in the middle of the year. For those who think he’s having a defeatist attitude, look through the nominations list again and you will find that the reality television winners have a bigger fanbase who are willing to spend hundreds just to see their respective idols at the top. Rather than wasting money and losing out, the money could well be spent on the next album which doesn’t cost $20. And what’s more, the quality you get is not compromised.
And so, another showcase by Imran has come and gone, but as usual, he left the audience craving for more. The attendance for a midweek showcase like the other day was commendable, with half the crowd sporting enough to let their hair down. Maybe if it was done on a weekend, we could have gotten a full house but as the man himself said and from what he learnt from his experiences in Malaysia, entertainment should not be limited to just the weekends. Once again, he proved that he was right in saying what he said and backed that up with a scintillating performance which had the audience in awe and still thirsting for more. A pity though that I did not get the chance to meet the man himself after the show as I had to rush home but of course we’ll meet again in due time…