I know I’ve been holding this entry back for quite some time because I wanted to space out my entries. It didn’t help that the last entry I did was of more importance for the sake of public awareness. At least I know you’ll be coming back for more. Another reason why I procrastinated on this entry was because I dunno what to talk about in the first place, other than the fact that Glenn Fredly is a charismatic singer, whose voice and stage presence alone are enough reasons for someone to part his hard-earned money to watch him perform up-close and live.
However, the ironical thing is that, no matter how great and inspiring Glenn Fredly is as a crooner and soul balladeer, personally I’ve never held him in high esteem nor mention his name in the same breath as one of my favourite artistes like vocal male powerhouses Anuar Zain or Imran Ajmain for instance. Even his popularity in these parts is more or less subjected to a few hit singles like “Januari“, “Sedih Tak Berujung“, “Happy Sunday“, “Cuma Kamu” and “Dengarkanlah“, the duet he did with Malaysian songbird Amy Mastura. Quite a mystery to me as he has a voice which could melt a woman’s heart and transport them to dreamland just by opening his mouth to sing.
However, I do appreciate the God-given talents this Ambon native possesses and boy does he have it in abundance??? I almost forgot that I actually own two of his earlier albums in my CD collection entitled “Kembali” which was released in 2000 and “Selamat Pagi, Dunia!” released in 2003. I bought the former because I fell in love with his song “Kasih Putih” the first time I heard it on radio. The latter album, with his greatest hit “Januari” and “Terpesona“, a duet he did with Audy, was considered his best-selling album to date, spawning a repackaged version in 2004, which contained two other hit singles “Akhir Cerita Cinta” and “Sedih Tak Berujung“.
And so you might wonder, why did I spend my hard-earned money to watch someone I do not list as one of my favourite artistes nor hold him in high regards??? Well the answer goes way back to 2007 when Glenn Fredly held court to his first concert here in Singapore at the Rock Auditorium, Suntec City Mall. That concert coincided with his “Happy Sunday Tour” and for those who went, would remember seeing Taufik Batisah, our first Singapore Idol, in the audience. Back then, the concert was a sell-out event and he literally tore the roof down and had the audience rushing forward and dancing to his songs. It certainly helped that such a venue did not result in the kind of hefty ticket pricing that Esplanade usually commands, which meant that a lot of Indonesians working as domestic workers here were able to enjoy the concert.
In case you’re wondering if I’m looking down on these workers for their lack of spending acumen, the answer is no, cos I did stumble upon a blog site belonging to an Indonesian who said that her fellow countrymen who came to watch Glenn Fredly‘s Lovevolution concert were mostly from the richer class. Upon reflection I thought it was quite a fair comment, seeing the tickets that the Esplanade had set, are about a third to half of what these domestic workers earn monthly and I don’t think many of them would want to part with their hard-earned money just like that. Still on the subject of the “Happy Sunday Tour” concert, well what a show it was, as one could really see the Indonesian audience letting their hair down, as compared to their Singaporean counterparts, who are normally dead-pan when watching concerts, the Malay ones that is.
Another factor which swayed me to watch the Lovevolution concert was the fact that it was promoted as being his last concert tour before he retires. Well the word “retires” certainly did come out from his mouth when he held a press conference to announce the concert tour and the launch of the Lovevolution album on the same day as the concert. Though rumours have been rife about his health condition, the actual reason he gave was to return to his hometown to open a production house and social foundation that would guide the potential youngsters to achieve their dreams of seeing their musical talents recognised. Even then, the health rumours still have not gone away and continue to linger even after the man has explained himself. With those factors in mind, I got myself front-row tickets, which to me came as quite a bit of a surprise as I had expected people to snap the tickets up the moment they got wind of Glenn‘s retirement plans.
When I entered the Esplanade Theatre, I was extremely surprised to see only the first level stall and circle seats were filled up and there was no one on the second, third and fourth level. This was something new to me as past events and concerts held at the Esplanade Theatre that I attended were relatively sold-out events. As I made my way to my seat, I spotted a few familiar faces, notably Didicazli, Wawan (Anugerah 2009 finalist) who were seated at the fourth row and Mr. Hassan Salleh, Senior Programme Director of RIA 89.7FM and his wife, who were seated just behind me and my missus. I also noticed Fauzie Laily and friends seated at the other end of the second row. Familiar faces, all with one intention – To enjoy watching a class performer strut his stuff one last time on our shores.
My old football buddy, Fauzie Laily, truly enjoyed himself there… By the way, tomorrow 22 February 2010, his official website, www.fauzielaily.com will be launched at 2:22pm… Do look out for it!!!
And we were not disappointed throughout a concert which was supposed to last 105 minutes. In fact it went on for slightly more than two hours. Even though most of the songs were lost on us due to their unfamiliarity and lack of airplay here, that did not stop the audience from tapping our feet and clapping along to the beats of the songs sung by Glenn that night, who continuously quipped that he felt blessed to realise his dreams of performing at a world class venue like the Esplanade, a legacy which would live long in his memory. True to his soft spoken nature, he addressed the audience with such sincerity and warmth, the ladies just couldn’t help themselves by displaying their love for him with constant shouts-out of “I love you Glenn!“
Backed by a tight unit of six sessionists and one musical programmer, Glenn oozed a certain kind of sexiness and charisma on stage which not many are able to exude. Shifting from playing the guitar and the piano intermittently, Glenn was in his element, whipping up the audience into standing up and dancing along to his songs, just like the last concert he did here in 2007. Though the man is known for his sappy ballads and tear-jerking songs, some of his catchy R&B-infused songs performed that night were given elegant touches of jazz, a dash of funk, a sprinkle of pop, a dose of salsa, and even a pinch of disco at different points, leaving memorable impressions on the minds of those who were there to witness it first-hand.
His lead guitarist and saxaphonist in particular, were the side attractions, coming forward to play their instruments alongside Glenn and dancing along with him. Like most musicians who credit the late Michael Jackson as a massive form of inspiration to their respective works of art, he even paid tribute to the “King of Pop” in one segment by singing “Human Nature” and “The Lady In My Life“. When he broke into his more familiar tunes on these shores, the audience could be heard singing along. Especially when he sang “Januari”, it was melodious to hear the whole arena acting as his back-up vocals and singing with gusto. It is afterall his monster hit here that still receives constant airplay, even though the song is already more than six years old.
Lovevolution marks Glenn Fredly‘s latest chapter in his music career. The songs in the album represent his experiences throughout his journey, the hits, the misses, the love, the heartbreaks all culminating into one masterpiece of an album. And he took great pains to say that it is because of love that he is still standing as a musician and love itself that brought him to the Esplanade to realise his dreams of performing there. Though he reflected wistfully on his two failed marriages, he said it actually made him an even stronger person and believe that love when it comes in future, would give it the perfection that his previous experiences had almost given him. Always positive, truly optimistic this fella.
Fauzie with Ibrahim Hashim (theatre activist), DJ KC (RIA 89.7FM), Rafil Kamaruddin (Organisational Excellence Executive with MUIS), Fiza O (RIA 89.7FM) and Janna Jauhar (Labels of Love)…
It has to be said also that this concert had its fair share of sacrifices made on his part. For one, Glenn had to miss his younger sibling’s wedding on the same day of the concert, a landmark event that he regretted not being able to attend, but still found time to give props and dedicated a song to the newly-weds. The build up to the concert day also made him stay away from seafood or food that have elements of them in it, for fear that his health would prevent him from giving the audience a good performance. It has afterall been well-documented that late last year, he suffered a setback due to problems to his digestive systems. Due diligence and care towards his health were of paramount importance in only giving his absolute best for the audience to remember him by in this concert.
Mr. Hassan Salleh, Ms. Zakiah Halim (Vice President, Malay, Indian & Expatriate Programming, MediaCorp Radio), Fiza O & KC enjoyed the concert as their smiles were testament to it…
What was initially meant to be a “retirement” actually turned out to be a form of hibernation and rest from the entertainment scene in Indonesia. For how long he would be out of the scene that he has given so much dedication to for the past fifteen years, only time will tell and only he will decide when is the right time to return. But what was important was the legacy he left, the indelible impressions he had worked so hard to leave behind, the sweet memories he would want his fans and those who appreciate his music to remember him by. The Lovevolution concert, with him performing at least twenty-one songs that night, was one and a testimony that Glenn Fredly is indeed an entertaining performer, a genuine and professional class act, who deserves every title that is bestowed upon him especially the one that I subscribe to the most that is, “The King of Indonesian R&B“…
P.S. In what is now slowly becoming a regular feature of this blog and I’ll try to feature more artistes to do a promo of their works, albums, upcoming shows, dramas they’re acting in in future entries, God willing, I leave you with a message from Fiza O: