Gergasi KRU25 Concert – End of an Era…

I know this domain is basically slanted more towards happenings in Singapore‘s own Malay entertainment scene, but as a self-styled entertainment blogger, I have the prerogative to dictate what content I want to share with my audience. Long time followers of my social media accounts or even those who have known me long enough will know that I am a massive fan of Malaysia‘s evergreen pop-rap group, KRU. Just look at the name of this domain – Da’ KRUsader’s Manor – and it will tell you all about my love for the group and where I drew inspiration from. Since the Abdul Halim brothers – Dato’ Norman, Yusry and Edry – came into the fore in 1992 with their debut hit single, “Hanya Kau“, I have been hooked to their music, songs and albums, challenging myself to memorise every lyrics – the longer or challenging they were, the more pleasure I derived from eventually mastering them. When they announced in a media conference about a fortnight ago that this three-night concert at Istana Budaya Kuala Lumpur would be their swansong in the music scene, what I initially had predicted in private came true.

I will not disguise the fact that I am not sad at the announcement, but it was a matter of when and not if, given they have not been that active musically, save for Edry. The brothers had achieved everything they could over the past twenty-six years of their involvement in the scene. We literally grew up with them, from teenage adolescence till our current status of being married with kids. It has been a joyful journey supporting the brothers through their ups and downs, sticking by through whatever unsavoury controversies that befell them, even sympathised when they were going through several low points in their personal private lives. They outlived all the groups that appeared in the same era as them, built themselves a legacy and empire that many could only dream of or watched with envy. Some may counter and say, it is fine for them as they are real-life siblings afterall for them to have such longevity, but in business, even siblings do disagree to the point of eventually splitting just like two famous sports brands in the world. But no KRU did not fight amongst themselves. They felt the time was right to retire when they have achieved everything.

The brothers have contributed so much to the Malaysian entertainment scene, through music and through film-making. They dared to experiment with heavy CGI effects for their hit films like “Cicakman“, at a time when not many dared to do so because of the high costs that they entailed. Even in music, they continued to reinvent their own sounds as well as churning out hits after hits for other singers and groups. And who can forget how audacious they were to bring Allahyarham Tan Sri P. Ramlee literally back to life by “recording a duet with him” for “Getaran Jiwa“, reminiscent of the late Nat King Cole‘s duet with his daughter Natalie??? I will be the first to admit, that as a huge fan of their compositions, not all of them were music to my ears. They had some songs, an even one particular album (KRUnisme), that were not my cup of tea, but it was no big deal for me as they were in the midst of being current with the times as well as experimenting new sounds and concepts. Even though they had a certain formula to making their own songs a hit, their music also had to mature to reflect their age. Like what Edry once told me, we cannot expect them to be jumping and prancing around onstage like how they used to back in the 90s.

Still, during the concert that I attended last Saturday, all of us were transported back in time. For slightly more than two hours, the audience anti-aged ourselves fifteen to twenty years behind and became youngsters once again, singing with gusto to every song that was carefully selected to perform, all massive radio hits back in their time. Even though not one of my own personal favourites (“Hanya Kau“, “Inikah Ertinya Cinta“, “Go KRU! – TRRG“, “Vendetta“, “Fobia“, “Aneh“, “Salah Siapa“, “Emilia“, “Mahaguru“, “Impak Maksima“, “For You“, “Tribe“, “Girlfriend’s Girlfriend“, “Seperti Yang Ku Jangka“, “Perpisahan Terasing“) was performed that night, the set list which was almost similar to the one performed at our very own Esplanade back in August 2016, was enough to bring us back down memory lane for one last hurrah. The songs too were arranged to suit the trio’s stamina levels, given it was the first time they performed back-to-back for three nights in a row, something which they had never done before this, but I believed they aced it for every one. How could they not, when they admitted getting their energies from the ever-sporting audience who hailed from all over Malaysia and even those from Singapore, Brunei, Australia, Dubai and Europe??? How fortunate also for those who attended the very last concert on Sunday night to have witnessed Joe Flizzow rapping to “Ooh! La! La!” and Jaclyn Victor singing “Di Pintu Syurga” with the brothers. Wished we could have seen them in the earlier performance nights.

For each and every attendee, this concert will live long in our memories for years to come. We can all proudly say we were there when KRU performed for us one last time before riding off into the sunset. All those songs performed during the three nights had their own personal memories for all of us. Some could have been related to our very own personal heartbreaks, some when we were madly in love with our current or probably ex-partners. Whereas others just inspired confidence and a perk-me-up, a certain defiance for us to seize the day amidst whatever obstacles we faced. I remember being teased and ridiculed for being a massive fan boy back in school cos most guys were either into English or rock music. One thing I learned from the group back then was to remain steadfast in my beliefs and principles and that has served me well in life, no matter the criticisms that came my way. Truly, it is difficult to find a true replacement for the group, like in the words to the lyrics of “Janji Tinggal Janji” – “Kata pada diri ini, di mana kan ku cari ganti?“. KRU is a brand name, a label and icon in the Malaysian and regional music scene. Their legacy and empire will continue to live long in the annals of history as a game-changer and trend-setter of their time. This is indeed the end of an era for a group that has contributed so much to the changing face of the music scene in Malaysia. Will we ever get to see their likes again? I am afraid not so soon.

To my KRU brothers, Dato’ Norman, Yusry and Edry – Thank you for 26 years of entertainment and above all, your appreciation and friendship. From the time I first attended your performance in Singapore in June 1994 at Marina Bay, to your first concert here (AWAS Da’ Concert) at the now-defunct Harbour Pavilion on 16 October 1995, countless others in between right down to your final one at Istana Budaya this past weekend, it has been nothing but an honour to have supported your journey and be entertained by your songs as well as your showmanship on stage. Above all, I cherish every single moment we used to hang out at the airport whilst waiting for your flights home, watching Edry in the studio producing Yusry‘s solo album back in 2003, or even hanging out at your hotel rooms to talk about music, the entertainment scene on both sides of the Causeway and our respective lives. For fellow KRU fanatics out there, the group will continue to live on in our hearts and we will continue to listen and sing along to your songs. I wish all three of you the best in your upcoming ventures and endeavours and wish nothing but more success to you and your respective families. I held back tears at least three times last Saturday during the concert, but by the end, I chose to smile and remember the good times we had over these wonderful years of support. Your music journey might have ended, but I hope our friendship will continue to last a lifetime, regardless wherever you are or what you do henceforth.

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P.S. I end this entry by apologising for my last one. Unbeknownst to me till the morning after I had posted it, did I know that the “An Evening with the StarsMothers Day charity showcase involving Anuar Zain, Zamani SLAM and Fauzie Laily, which was supposed to have been staged on 6th May 2018 at Persada International Convention Centre in Johor Bahru, had been cancelled due to unforeseen circumstances. It is with much regrets that such an untimely occurrence had to happen so close to the date of event. Those who had purchased the tickets are entitled for a full refund by the organisers from what I know from trusted sources who had informed me of the unfortunate turn of events. I will not speculate why the show was cancelled given the upbeat media conferences that were held both in Kuala Lumpur and Singapore recently. I just hope that some day, the same line-up will get to perform together on the same stage. I for one, am gutted for bro Fauzie who had been looking forward to the showcase.

An Evening with the Stars Media Conference & Promo

(Graphics promo poster courtesy of Impact Music Entertainment)

We are three days away from this Mothers’ Day event happening at Persada Johor International Convention Centre and I just realised that I have not had the time to make a proper promo entry for this showcase, even though I had attended its media conference on 2nd April 2018 at Ballroom @ East Coast by A B Shaik. I was kindly invited to the event by the good people at Impact Music Entertainment. Knowing me, I usually do not cover events pertaining to artistes from across the Causeway unless they are the ones I personally love and since Anuar Zain is one of them, it was a no-brainer for me. But the clincher for me to attend this media conference was ultimately seeing our very own Fauzie Laily on that poster, as this domain afterall prioritises featuring of local acts. It is a proud moment indeed to see him about to rub shoulders on the same stage as two legends in the regional music scene, Zamani SLAM being the other slated performer.

Anuar Zain and Fauzie Laily sharing a light-hearted moment with the media brigade in attendance…

Aptly dubbed “An Evening With The Stars“, this Mothers’ Day showcase organised by E & F Event Resources, is geared towards contributing to charity through the Dato’ Rokiah Lace Foundation. This foundation was set up to help the less fortunate, orphans, senior citizens and single mothers residing in Johor Bahru. The foundation is also known to have built schools for would-be Tahfiz and also mosques for the Muslim community in Johor Bahru. Hence if you might feel a little taken aback by the somewhat expensive ticket prices, just think how much you will stand to benefit the number of people through your kind deeds, besides getting the chance to enjoy a night of good quality entertainment by Anuar Zain, Zamani and Fauzie Laily. I understand from the media conference, each artiste will be performing a minimum of three songs each and I’m sure there will be segments where they will be singing together either as a pair or a combined trio, not seen anywhere before this.

The media conference panel (from left): Zell Sazalie (Impact Music Entertainment), Shaik Mohd (Ballroom @ East Coast by A B Shaik), Afendi Hassan (E & F Event Resources), Anuar Zain, Fauzie Laily, Mr. Yusnor Ef (President, PERKAMUS), Dato’ Paduka Hajjah Rokiah Omar (Chairman, Yayasan LACE Dato’ Rokiah), Joyce Yap (Director Sales, Persada International Centre, Johor Bahru)…

Something unique about this media conference was the presence of several local vloggers, a rising trend in this day and age of social media. Though I did not get the chance to interact with any of them, I am aware of their strong following on their respective social media platforms. Hopefully their respective on-the-spot live promos that day would help in the ticket sales for this showcase. I believe if this showcase were to be held in Singapore, they might also get a decent crowd in, given the attraction of the two Malaysian artistes, whom we Singapore fans never seemed to get enough of judging by their rousing receptions at their concerts or showcases before this. I will not bore you with the minute-by-minute detail of the media conference. Like any other, such events are meant to tease us for what is to come on the actual day itself and the two artistes who attended that day, Anuar Zain and Fauzie Laily, kept their cards close to their chest, probably not wanting to reveal much.

Both Anuar Zain and Fauzie Laily are raring to go for this showcase…

Tickets to “An Evening with the Stars” are already on sale via Ticketcharge Malaysia. Additional details can be found in the promotional poster at the beginning of this post or by logging onto the event’s official Facebook page.

Snapshots of An Evening with the Stars Media Conference