The Legendary Concert 2012, Kota Kinabalu

“The Legendary Concert 2012” was a concert tour bringing together four titans in Malaysian music today: Jamal Abdillah, Sheila Majid, Zainal Abidin, and Amy Search.

The venue in Kota Kinabalu was Dewan Canselor at Universiti Malaysia Sabah [UMS]. Mega Boogie Sdn Bhd provided much of the sound, lighting and band equipment.

Technicians from KL and other stage production companies also worked on this tour of giants in the music industry.

Sabah’s well-known songwriter Asmin Mudin opened the concert by singing “Sayang Kinabalu”, his friendly style warmed the crowd, before the main event. He was followed by two beautiful local singers. Clarice sang a song relating to Pesta [festival] Kaamatan, while Diana sang “Tandawan Salamiah”, and wore those long, curled fingernails associated with a mythical character in Sabahan folklore.

First of the legendaries was Jamil Abdillah, whose powerful songs were modern with Arabic-sounding harmonies and rhythms. Young girls sitting in my row waved their arms and wound their wrists to the music, thoroughly enjoying themselves.

Jamil sang “Azura”, a medley of “Perjalananku”/”Gadis Melayu”/”Shazal Untuk Rabiah”, and “Kekasih Awal dan Akhir”. In “Seniman Menangis”, a saxman walked onto the stage, the soprano sax duetted with Jamal to deliver a haunting ballad, as their voices entwined.

To applause and cheers [and some small screams too] Sheila Majid graced the stage next. In the preamble video before she began, she said, “My fans have watched me grow: from a young girl, to a young woman, to a married woman, to a divorced woman and remarried again. There are no secrets between me and my fans.” Certainly, her fans loved her, who could not? Sheila Majid is a class act supreme.

She opened with the happiest of songs. The three backing singers handling very clever harmonies, and the brass section had a total field day, as Sheila and the musicians filled the concert hall with Latin, Swing and full-on, unbridled modern Malaysian jazz.

The Legendary Concert 2012 Sabah, Jamal Abdillah, Sheila Majid, Zainal Abidin, and Amy Search

The crowd danced and waved and clapped through “Warna”, “Pengemis Muda”, “Ku Mohon”, P Ramlee’s “Muda”, and a “Lagenda” medley. By the time she got to “Sinaran” the crowd were so with her, she was training them to come in at the chorus. It took a few times to get right:

“You have to come in quickly,” she said. “Take your breath when I count the THREE! Ok? Here we go. One, two, thr… SINARAN! You got it!”

Sublime performance.

Zainal Abidin smiled the warmest of smiles as he sang his opening ballad. Everyone cheered. Then it went into rock, and before you knew it Zainal was playing steel drums! All the musos were in on it – guitars, backing vocals, percussion, brass, it was quite excellent! The stuff of titans.

He sang “Suraya”, “Memori Luka”, and “Khayalan”. “Bongjar” had a reggae taste, and the instrumentals were all fantastic. Zainal called out: Jimmy on sax! Jenny Chin on keyboards! Aji on guitar! Andy Peterson on bass! Affeni on drums! Steve Thornton on percussion! Zainal said Steve had inspired him to take up the instrument too. There were a few more guys which I couldn’t catch. Songs “Kamu” came next, followed by “Alam” and finishing with “Hijau.” On the projector screen, a video was playing of Zainal and his son on vacation in Sabah.

Could there be more? Oh yes…

The first time I heard the name Amy Search was in 2009 when a drummer I wrote about described him as one of Malaysia’s rock legends. So it was so cool to see him now. In his pre-preformance video Amy Search said his influences were Black Sabbath, Queen, Led Zeppelin.

Amy Search grabbed the mic stand and bounded up and down the stage, belting out “Kepala Sotong” to flashing lights and electric guitars letting rip. Right, this guy’s a rocker, I thought. But then he sang ballad “Tiada Lagi” to more screams and cheers. There was a big guitar solo – I guess it was still a rock ballad 😉.

Swinging that mic stand around [plenty of space on stage!] he gave the crowd “Kerja Gila”, “Kongkang” and “Pawana”. The musicians got plenty of artistic space – loads of great wild solos from the electric guitars, power drumming, and some very special Malaysian takes on metal. They played with Malaysian phraseology, where the metre of a song has an extra bar or two, with Middle Eastern harmonies from lightning fast guitar riffs.

The audienced screamed at everything: rock, ballads, whatever. They just screamed. It was awesome.

As everyone stood, arms waving, Amy Search sang “Isabella” with Zainal Abidin and Jamal Adbillah joining him on the stage. In the front of the audience, among the many arms I could see someone holding up a lighter flame. Sheila Majid then came of stage for the “Lagenda” finale, and the four stars ensured that “The Legendary Concert 2012” will live on in many memories in Sabah for years to come.

There are more equipment photographs on the Mega Boogie blog post of this concert.

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