For Jason Mraz, I said to myself - no screaming, and no singing along - which I didn't honour. For Sarah Brightman, I said to myself - no crying. Yes, when I saw her in 2004 at her Harem World Tour at Stadium Negara in KL, I cried. I was so excited at just catching a glimpse of her, I cried before she even started singing. Therefore, it was important that I kept myself composed this time, especially since the Symphony World Tour in KL was held in the Plenary Hall in KL Convention Center, in an intimate, theatrical setting.
The venue was considered small, compared to say, Stadium Negara, and with theband, the orchestra and the choir on stage, there wasn't much space left for Sarah. There would be no dancers, and no fancy props, hydraulic platforms, or holograms. Some were evidently displeased, or disappointed - as shown by the following excerpt of a conversation in Hakka of the Auntys next to me -
Aunty1: Aiyer, the stage is so small! There is no space for dancers!
Aunty2: I don't think there will be dancers.
Aunty1: Aiyerrr, why is this concert so cin cai?
I, on the other hand, was very pleased with the simplicity of the set up. I went to watch and listen to Sarah Brightman, and I didn't need the distraction from dancers, fancy props and high-tech visuals, or fireworks. Of course I wouldn't had minded her signature mid-air somersaults for A Question of Honour, but without would be just as well, had she sung the song. Without distractions, all attention would be on her and her voice alone, and for me, I do think that that made the concert a lot more enjoyable.
The concert begun with the instrumental of Sanvean - so I read in the fan's forum, on the official website - I couldn't be sure, for the moment the lights dimmed, I was too wildly excited to actually register what I heard. My earliest memory of the show's starting was the thunders at the end of Gothica, followed by the very dramatic intro to Fleurs du Mal. And then, there she was - leisurely, unceremoniously strolling out of the curtain on stage, in the lovely bright red Symphony-signature gown. To say that it was breathtaking would be understating the moment.
The moment she burst into song, I knew the rumours of her not singing live were definitely untrue. She was singing live - I heard them all - those little differences in timing, pronunciation, vibrato; perhaps it was all my imagination, perhaps I heard what I wanted to hear and believed what I chose to believe - but, do not dismiss the fact that the entire band, orchestra and choir were on stage with her, and all those people were playing and singing in plain sight. I choose not to believe that they had the music play live to a pre-recorded singing voice, and I choose not to believe everyone on stage that night were hands-and-fingers-synching along to a pre-recorded track. Sarah Brightman sang live. Her duet partner, Alessando Safina, who toured with her to this part of the world, sang live too. Together, they sang Phantom of the Opera live.
From the earliest days of my being a Sarah fan, I never dared hope to hear the Angel of Music sing POTO live. She'd never sang it in her previous concerts - Harem, La Luna, One Night in Eden. No doubt, I was aware that she performed it in her Symphony Live in Vienna, but I still didn't imagine that she would include it in her concert in KL. And she sounded so good, it was unbelieavable. I may be biased, but I think her POTO live in KL sounded even better than the one on the Live in Vienna dvd!
Throughout the concert, Sarah took only two short breaks for changing - yes, a total of only 3 evening gowns for the entire night. Following the fiery red Symphony dress, she donned a white flowing one and lastly, a dark mermaid gown which was so dazzlingly lovely I want to have one just like it! (I know I'll probably never do though...)
I did't know about the rest of the audience, but I loved each one, and I loved the fact that she didn't go backstage to change after every 2 songs or so. I much prefer those simple dresses (they were, though very beautiful, simple relative to those she wore for Harem, especially that which was during Nessun Dorma!) to elaborate, out-of-this-world costumes.
Of a little over an hour, this concert was a little short, but especially if compared to Harem, which lasted well over two hours (including a 20-minute intermission). It was likely that all of her fans that night didn't expect the show to end so soon - when she announced the song Time to Say Goodbye, there were very audible gasps and sighs of disbelieve, disappointment, regret and resentment. However, TTSG it was. At the end of it, Sarah went behind the curtain and we waited patiently for the encores.
The encores. Sarah always sang several - but that night, she sang only one! I was rather disappointed myself - I was so not ready to leave! Though, to be fair, I wouldn't be ready to leave even if she sang for another hour. No amount of Sarah Brightman is ever too much! Now, thinking back, I should also had been a little disappointed at the fact that she didn't sing Attesa, because I was really looking forward to hearing this exceedingly beautiful piece live, but I guess by the end of the night, I was still too mesmerized by POTO to actually think about what I didn't get to hear :)
List of songs (in the correct order, I hope):
1. Fleurs du Mal
2. Let It Rain
4. Phantom of the Opera
5. Sarai Qui
6. What a Wonderful World
7. Dust in the Wind
8. Hijo de la Luna
9. La Luna
10. Anytime, Anywhere
11. Nella Fantasia
12. Canto della Terra
13. I've Been This Way Before
14. Time to Say Goodbye
15. Deliver Me
Sarah Brightman's concert tickets are considerably more costly than those of the others that perform in Malaysia, but - well, she was definitely worth it. Please do come to KL again for your next world tour, yea!