taken from The New Straits Times 4 March 2009
By : HAFIDAH SAMAT
All hail the king of music! That was how thrilled the audiences were when arguably one of the most-respected music icons in the country gave a concert like no other. HAFIDAH SAMAT was there.
JUDGING from the roar of applause that greeted every song, M. Nasir had completely blown away his fans at his sold-out three-day concert, Konsert Alam Muzik M. Nasir 2009 at Istana Budaya, Kuala Lumpur, on Sunday.
Ramli Sarip (second from right), seen here with actor Jehan Miskin (extreme right), gave Nasir a standing ovation at the show.
But then, which ardent fan of the award-winning singer and composer wouldn’t be deeply moved by the songs that had marked his sterling 30-year music career?
Award-winning actress Azean Irdawaty (right) and her husband Khairil Anwar Zainal.
Delivered against a simple backdrop, arguably one of the most-respected music icons in the country gave a concert like no other.
Everything about the show — from the deft music arrangement by the concert’s musical director and guitarist Aznan Alias (or Nan) who led a nine-piece ensemble, to the breathtaking vocal harmonies and the Panggung Sari stage — screamed class.
Even those unfamiliar with the songs were impressed.
Nasir also received an overwhelming response from the younger generation at the concert — a group of boys and girls aged between five and eight were spotted dancing throughout the evening.
If anything, the three nights was testimony that even with zero corporate sponsorship and funding, a show of such a magnitude could materialise.
Indeed, some of his fans had come from afar (Dubai and Birmingham) just to witness Nasir in action!
The show kicked off by featuring a clip depicting a zombie in foetal position lip-synching Nasir’s haunting tune, Dibalik Cermin Mimpi.
This was followed by a short overture of gamelan. Then four backup vocalists performed the intro of Nasir’s Gong Impian (taken from his Phoenix Bangkit album) with the zombie coming “alive” as he emerged from a trap door and performed a quirky yet off-the-edge dance.
A dramatic start, indeed!
Clad in a hooded top and dark pants, Nasir sauntered in nonchalantly and launched into song, singing a string of familiar songs including Hati Emas Bersama Kembara 1981, the hit song from M. Nasir Unplugged 1995, Rajawali Terbang Tinggi (taken from his maiden solo effort, Solo) and Falsafah Cinta (composed by Nasir and popularised by Rahim Maarof), proving why he’s one of the most sought-after entertainers around.
By this time, he already had the audience eating out of his hand.
“Ayuh kita koyakkan tempat ini!” (“Let’s rip this place apart...!” ) he said in jest as he cajoled the audience to stand up and dance. The result was a night of joget lambak!
His amusing anecdotes and his playful banter made for good rapport with the audience. Then he turned “flirty” during his rendition of the keroncong-esque, Dah Lagu Tu!
It was particularly witty when three jaipong dancers — whom we later learnt were National Arts Culture and Heritage Academy students trained by Nasir’s wife (lecturer and TV personality Marlia Musa) — in multiple sizes (medium, large and extra large) danced and tickled the audience with their rendition of the exotic Javanese choreography.
At the end of the concert, Nasir, who is famous for his onstage prattle, joked that there should have been a quartet of dancers — the last member being his close buddy and well-known designer (a certain Datuk!). This elicited applause and laughter from the audience.
Nasir is a versatile and powerhouse vocalist, and together with his talented musicians, the music was nothing short of unforgettable.
The chemistry between them was so tangible that it gave the audience goosebumps. Under Nasir’s musicianship, nothing could go wrong.
Match that with oodles of charisma and stage presence and what we got was one of the most memorable concerts by a single act in recent years.
Nasir seems to be like fine wine: he just gets better with time.
He also lived up to the bona fide male diva (“divo”) tag with much panache. But minus the attitude, of course.
With Nasir, his every gesture came off as spontaneous. His much-loved signature tunes were delivered immaculately, thrilling the audience no end.
Nasir’s wide vocal range sets him apart from his counterparts.
Despite feeling under the weather (he caught the flu on Sunday morning prior to the show), he exhibited versatility in songs such as Balada Seorang Teman and Suatu Masa.
It was even better when he progressed to the folk and funky segment of the show.
Nasir was simply divine especially when he showcased an unplugged version of the hauntingly beautiful Tan Sri P.Ramlee classic, Getaran Jiwa and the soaring Perjalanan Hidup which he sang in honour of his close friend and peer, Ramli Sarip, who was in the audience on Sunday.
One of the evening’s highlights was when Nasir performed his popular upbeat tunes, Mentera Semerah Padi, Phoenix Bangkit Dari Abu and Apokalips.
By this time, Nasir was unstoppable. Even the crowd was uncontrollable. They sang, cheered, clapped, sang — and kept right on singing.
Going by the crowd’s response, you could tell that the show was as much about the production team as it was about Nasir — they readily showed their appreciation for people behind the scenes like musicians and producers.
Even though it was close to midnight before he left the stage, the crowd would not budge from their seats until he came out to perform three songs for the encore.
If fans had their way, the concert would have continued till the wee hours of the morning!
It was also bittersweet when during his performance of Juwita Citra Terindah (the original pop tune which triumphed in the Pop Rock category at the Anugerah Juara Lagu in 2006), Nasir honoured his wife.
“Lagu ni untuk isteri saya tersayang. Dia banyak membantu saya menjayakan konsert ni... (“I dedicate this song to my beloved wife. She’s been a great help to make this show a success...”) said the 51-year-old father of six.
The show concluded just as dramatically as it had begun with Nasir belting out a couple of ballads: the awe-inducing Hijab Kekasih and the sappy Sentuhan Listrikmu.
Of the latter, Nasir said: “Ini sebenarnya lagu untuk suami cakap I love you pada isteri mereka malam ini” (“This tune is for husbands to say ‘I love you’ to their wives tonight... ”).
Here’s a toast to Nasir: you really nailed it, sifu!