The PR officers of this concert did a lousy job. No posters visible in the city and no radio or TV announcement heard about the event. Except for kakiseni.com – an internet portal for art lovers – which had a posting about the concert. I found out about it from Acciccatura after a brief phone call on Friday. Accia’s husband romanced the violin for the 3-day-concert at Planery Hall, KLCC with his Kasih Symphony Orchestra led by S. Atan.
Last Saturday night, by pure manipulation bordering on force, I managed to convince my husband to sit next to me at Plenary Hall to watch Konsert Amal Kasih featuring Jamal Abdillah and Saleem Iklim. For someone who does not care at all about the local musical scene, Jefree must have really loved me to go to the concert on his precious Saturday night. The concert was brought to the public to raise fund for Pengasih – a non-profit organisation caring for drug addicts in Malaysia.
I have been wanting to see Jamal sings live for a long time. I ignored the nagging doubts in my heart as I read the concert’s press release on the net telling me, in no uncertain terms, that Saleem Iklim would anchor the concert with Jamal. I must say, I don’t care much about the latter’s musical career but I went anyway just to watch Jamal.
My nagging doubts proved founded. Saleem was not, by any measure, prepared to perform at places like Plenary Hall or anywhere of the same statures. His performance lacked conviction, his singing mediocre and his over-size suit bugged my eyes. Saleem tortured my ears throughout the first half of the concert with his off-tuned songs, opss-I forgot-the-lyrics-again and gong* attitude.
I am no Simon Cowell or Ramli MS but I seriously think that Saleem single-handedly ruined the concert with his lackadaisical effort and it was so obvious that he wasn’t at his best to sing that night. When he sang Gary Moore’s classic – Still Got the Blues – I cringed in my seat and berating myself for wanting to go to the concert so badly.
Let’s move on to a positive sight of the night. So what if Saleem can’t sing? So what if Jamal Abdillah was half an hour late to the concert? Who cares about his fake hair which looks so real on his scalp? And you, of all persons, know that Jamal abused substance and almost destroyed himself in the process. And you silently thought of his succession of wives whom he lost in pursuit of his drug addiction. But all of the above does not matter when Jamal opens his mouth to sing – for he sings like an angel.
Jamal Abdillah, for me at least, is born to do nothing else but sing. He sang his old hit-songs peppered with a dash of blues and zapin to prove that he is the quintessential male singer of our country. My heart melts when he sang “Kekasih Awal & Akhir” with the sweet sound of violin at the background. Ah, Jamal…
The concert also featured guest artists – Misha Omar, Ahmad Nawab and Blues Gang. Save and except for Jamal’s singing, the rest of the other performances of the night are forgettable. If it wasn’t for charity, I am quite tempted, to call the whole night a sheer waste of time.
And what about the audience? We have miles to keep up before we can be called a refined society who can sit in a 2-hour concert without uttering stupid remarks and shouting unnecessarily. This was not a concert at your local fun fair, for god sake! To say that I miss the audience at Cats and My Fair Lady is an understament.
See you at Beauty & the Beast.
*Gong in Trengganuspeak is state of snobbery with a tinge of stupidity. But, if you wish to have a perfect definition of the word, kindly go to Awang Goneng’s blog*