After almost a year of no live performances from the local music industry, this was a day many patrons of the arts, music lovers, and public in general looked forward to.
With restrictions in place to curb the spread of the pandemic, live events had to be cancelled and postponed. Having to cope with the loss of income from the usual gigs, many musicians and artistes resorted to performing online. This helped them connect with fans, but most importantly, keep sane, while sharing their passion.
The ‘Alife Again’ Concert, held on 9th April, organised by PR Worldwide Sdn. Bhd., and fully sponsored by BAC Education, saw the presence of many friends of the industry, all who simply wanted to have a great evening, and to support our home-grown talents.
When asked if I was interested in attending the concert, I first looked at the lineup – Harith Iskandar, Datuk Zainal Abidin, Zee Avi, Muzza and Mad Sabah. To be honest, the first three names needed no introduction. However, I was not familiar with Muzza’s music and Mad Sabah’s antics.
Last Friday, as I walked into the concert hall at Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre, something struck my mind. “Could this be the new norm for live performances?” With tables and chairs arranged in a manner which only screamed “Exams!!”, I was not sure if much could be said for experiencing a live performance after such a long time.
With proper SOPs followed, social distancing strictly adhered to, and yes, masks on…let the party start already!!
Harith, who was emcee started by getting the crowd warmed up, throwing in a few jokes, being the comedian he naturally is. He then introduced the first performer Muzza. Here I was expecting a ‘hardcore rock’ kind of a performance. Shame on me for not doing some research on this guy.
When he opened the show with two evergreen numbers ‘Andainya Aku Pergi Dulu Sebelum Mu’ by Alleycats, and Man Bai’s ‘Kau Ilhamku’, I was left a little stunned. Firstly, his strong vocals and stage presence with those two songs alone got me thinking, how could I not have known about him, and secondly, I was not expecting this from a dude sporting that ‘rocker’ look. This singer, songwriter, and guitarist extraordinaire however stole the show with his rendition of Bohemian Rhapsody.
Zee Avi and bandmates were next, easing the audience into a more relaxed evening. As she belted out numbers in that rich, sultry, and silky-smooth voice of hers, I swear I wished I was on a beach or island getaway somewhere, away from the madness of this pandemic. Zee, a proud Sarawakian, who holds her heritage close to heart, wore a simple Sarawakian headpiece and beaded collar, then ended her stint with ‘Kantoi’, a more familiar number of hers.
The next performer was Sabahan born Achmed Rusli, better known as Mad Sabah, a rising stand-up comedian, who is slowly gaining popularity amongst Malaysians. Having had his break through reality shows, this young man is known for his hilarious take on being poor. His jokes, based on real-life experiences, growing up in small town Kunak, sure did leave many wanting to hear and know more about this newbie.
As all shows, the ‘Alife Again’ Concert had to come to an end, and what better way than to have the much-awaited artist himself, former Headwind band member, Datuk Zainal Abidin on stage. For a man in his sixties, he clearly is still very much in his element. Crooning ‘Hijau’, the song which changed the Malaysian music industry back in 1991, for its pro-environment message, Zainal then interacted with the audience as he sang “Kau Di Hatiku”, the cover of Phil Collin’s “You’ll Be In My Heart” from the soundtrack of Tarzan.
As the evening gradually came to an end after a few more numbers, one must give it up for this spectacular line-up, the organisers, and supporters. With the resumption of Live Support, we keep our fingers crossed that this industry, one to have been severely impacted over the last year, will make a comeback.