Friday, March 6, 2009

Jason Mraz Live in KL

No screaming, I kept saying to myself. No screaming. My voice was barely back to normal - on Monday, I was still all croak-and-squeak. No screaming. And no singing along - I attended the concert to watch and to listen to Jason Mraz, and that was what I intended to do. No screaming, and no singing along, I kept saying to myself.

Ticket collection counters were opened 2 hours before the 8pm concert, and by 6.20pm, there were already huge crowds queuing at the entrances. I thought I was early, but apparently not early enough. So there I stood, with the other eager fans, for near an hour in my 3-inch heels, waiting in line. Perhaps it was the waiting, perhaps it was the mounting excitement as show time drew nearer, or perhaps they just wanted to warm their voices up a little - when the doors were finally opened, the crowd cheered.

This was a crowd extremely generous with their cheers and applause. They cheered when the guitars were brought on stage. They cheered when a pony-tailed guy came on to test and tune the instruments - several times. A group near me attempted to shout in unison "JASON, JASON, JASON!" though they gave up after several feeble attempts. Several girls held up a home-made poster with the words "We are MRAZMERIZED by you!". How very nice, I thought.

When the lights finally dimmed and the spotlights sprung to life on stage, the screams and applause were deafening. Jason Mraz came on stage - taking what seemed like a video of the venue, the crowd, the stage. I cannot recall the precise moment I started screaming, but it was probably then - for the girl next to me never did hesitate contributing to the collective shouting and squealing, and that proved a temptation to go along too strong to resist. So, every time she screamed and flung her arms up, I did the same.

When he picked up his guitar and started playing, the crowd went absolutely wild, and when he burst into song, they sang along. I did not sing along - yet. My brain was busy coping with the bombarding impulses from my optical and auditory nerves. There he was - in his plain, grey, v-neck T-shirt, slacks and... no shoes! There he was - making music as if he was made of music, his fingers deftly over the strings of his guitar, his voice, his dancing and prancing on stage, his ability to spontaneously modify lyrics and insert snippets of other songs during a song... I was quite overwhelmed.

Somewhere in the "unauthorized" biography on his website, I remember reading this fragment - "... impressive verbal torrent that spills forth on 'Dynamo of Volition' and once again shows Mraz's unmatched (except perhaps by Toca, who has to sing just as fast, because he sings the harmony) ability to sing at the speed of sound..." - and experiencing that live was incredible. I saw him standing there, I saw him playing his guitar, I saw him open and close his mouth, but I heard was "sdjkfhiweuryvnocfl...." - apparently, my brain is incapable of processing sound waves of a song coming in at the speed of sound.

I would had succeeded in refraining from singing along, but then he pointed at us and said "Take it!" for the chorus of The Remedy - as if any fan with a sane mind would deny him that! After a repetition or two, he said "Alright, just the ladies!" - and I sang so loud my vocal chords must had hated me for abusing it. And that was just the beginning. "One more time, girls! Come on!" and sang, we did. He really knew how to work the crowd up - especially the female portion of it. More than once he invited the crowd to sing while he played, and the "Now, just the ladies!" would always follow. In addition to "Sing with me on this one!" for I'm Yours, which made the audience roar, somewhere in the middle of the song he got them to repeat random notes and funny sounds after him. He even showcased the lower limit of his vocal range by going "Now, the girls!" and proceeded to sing a low note "Low, low, low" which we repeated. It was really amazing, for he went a couple more notes lower, and all the ladies actually did, after him. There must had been quite a number of altos in the crowd. But after that there was a really low, "Low, low, low" which took us all by surprise - it was Toca! The crowd simply went wild.

After the really grand and crazy scream-along, sing-along I'm Yours, he and his band vacated the stage. Though the crowd continued their screeching and crying out for more, I thought I saw some actually leaving the stadium. I didn't know if they actually thought it was over, but the lights were still dim - that alone should had been logic enough that there was more to come. Several minutes later, Jason and the band members came on stage once more, and predictably, the crowd went wild once more.

He got hold of his guitar, got ready to play, but didn't start playing. He looked around, looked at the others on the stage, and they looked back at him. Then he went on to explain that he's actually expecting a guest singer, a "beautiful" lady with a "beautiful" voice, but she wasn't there. At that moment, it didn't occur to me that the show really was missing a person. But the show must go on, and he made sure it did. With such an ever willing crowd, he must had known he would had no trouble performing a duet all by himself.

"If she doesn't show up, you guys will have to sing the part" and the crowd screamed as if they would scream down the building. When he started Lucky, they started too - I thought he only asked them to sing Colbie's part, not his part as well... but, what would you expect of a crowd overcharged with adrenalin, and way overdosed on Jason Mraz? And on he went "... oh my, baby I'm trying... Now, take it!" Then, he actually stepped back from the mic, and continued playing while the audience continued on the song. I can't even begin to describe how exhilarating it was to be singing a Jason Mraz song, with Jason Mraz accompanying on the guitar! I wish the moment would last forever, but alas - about a minute into the song, the missing Malaysian singer showed up.

I really want to caci her - her being late, her not-so-nice voice, her terrible pronunciation of the lyrics, her sneaking up to the wrong side of Jason's guitar - but at the same time, I want to keep this piece as positive as possible, which is why I don't plan to mention how very warm and stuffy the stadium was, and how even before the end of the first hour I could smell the ever increasing odour of the sweaty people around me, and how after the first few numbers, Jason's shirt was visibly damp with perspiration. Oops.

Quite a few asked me how the concert was - it was an experience like I never had before (though I must admit the only other concert I'd ever been to was Sarah Brightman's Harem in 2004, if musicals and orchestral recitals don't count). The way Jason Mraz teased and charmed the audience, his spontaneity, creativity and pure talent, were simply awesome. The crowd's very active, perhaps excessive, participation was grand too, even if a little annoying to whoever who simply wanted to listen to the performer only, and naught else. The continuous screams, cheers and applause were irrefutable proof of our profound love and regard for Jason, and he must had felt it too, for the last thing he said before ending the show was that the concert wouldn't be the last that he'd perform in Malaysia. And the crowd went wild again - for the hundredth (perhaps, for I wasn't counting) time.

I ought to had known how stupid it was to make the no-screaming-and-no-singing-along resolution that I did. It had so easily, so willingly, so heartily been broken! I was, perhaps, not louder than the girl next to me, but if the girl sitting in front of me were blogging about the same wonderful Wednesday evening, she'd probably write a paragraph about the crazy, shrill-voiced girl behind her, who screamed and sang so much!

Edit:List of songs (probably not in the right order, but hopefully complete):
1. Make it Mine
2. The Remedy (I Won't Worry)
3. You and I Both
4. If It Kills Me
5. Live High
6. A Beautiful Mess
7. Geek in the Pink
8. The Dynamo of Volition
9. Life is Wonderful10. I'm Yours

11. Lucky

12. No Stopping Us
13. Butterfly

For further reading:



cher-ry said...

I supposed u guys lived it up to "I'm yours" by singing to him...

neil said...

Yup, everyone was sooo his that evening.

Before the concert began, one of the staff placed some face towels on the stage, presumably for the performers' use during the show. I remember thinking - if the performers decide to throw those out to the crowd after the show, how the people on the floor might stomp on and tear each other's hair out to grab them. It would be quite a sight.

Then, during the introduction of the band, Jason Mraz actually took polaroids of each member and threw the prints out to the crowds. They went more than wild, but no stomping, scratching, hair-pulling etc., I think (can't really see in the dark) :P

mr dx said...

hey there Neil! thanks for commenting and linking my blog! :)
haha mine's a normal write-up only, the ones i linked (including yours) are the ones most interesting to be read!

by the by, i think your throat hates you most after the show, but it was well worth it, no?

neil said...

yup, mr dx. sooo worth it!