Headline: Siti's tour de force
Publication: NST
Date of publication: Jun 30, 2009
Section heading: Life & Times
Page number: 014
Byline / Author: By Faridul Anwar Farinordin

DATUK Siti Nurhaliza's Konsert Satu sets the bar high with a dazzling display of heart-stopping choreography and brilliant set designs. FARIDUL ANWAR FARINORDIN is still trying to catch his breath.

It was a concert like no other. Infused with the grand scale of a theatre production, Datuk Siti Nurhaliza's latest show, Konsert Satu, was sensational.

Tickets were sold out weeks before its threeday run at Istana Budaya, with fans both excited and intrigued - to see how the reigning pop princess and darling of the industry would outdo herself, this time, inspired by Celine Dion's much-publicised gig, A New Day: Live in Las Vegas.

Siti has now set a new standard for concert performances by combining brilliant choreography with amazing set designs and dazzling music arrangements. And of course, one can never find fault in THAT angelic yet powerful voice.

Here was a production that merged sights and sounds in ways that could rival a grand musical extravaganza. Hats off to concert director Pat Ibrahim and musical director Aubrey Suwito.

Fresh, innovative and highly entertaining, the concert featured multimedia elements, giant frames that were wheeled and lowered to the multi-tiered stage, moving stairs, as well as brightly-lit dance compartments that could have been taken right out of the hit musical Chicago.

As for Siti, she climbed new musical heights with this one. Singing more than 30 songs, mostly in medley format, for more than two hours and without going off-key or out of breath, she deserves a gold medal for this musical marathon.

She performed the vocally-demanding Kurniaan Dalam Samaran (which she rarely performed in her "live" shows in the past) in the ballad medley, donning a bright red kimono with a long train cascading over the stage's platforms.

The Japanese-flavoured song required her to switch from her natural voice to falsetto in a hair-raising cadenza somewhere in the absurdly high range most women vocalists would cringe from. But she pulled it off effortlessly, sending shivers down my spine.

"This is one of the songs that has really challenged me as a singer," Siti said, after wowing her audience with that performance. Other ballads in the medley were Tanpa Dendam di Hati, Dialah di Hati and Mulanya Cinta.

Put together by Yayasan Nurjiwa (a charity organisation set up by Siti and husband Datuk Khalid Mohamad Jiwa), and her company Siti Nurhaliza Productions with the co-operation of Istana Budaya, Konsert Satu was a colourful mosaic of Siti's musical journey.

It is also an affirmation of One Malaysia, with a percentage of the show's proceeds going to several charity homes in the Klang Valley - Rumah Orang-Orang Tua Charis, V-Care for U Home, Persatuan Kebajikan Anai Iliam Selangor and Kuala Lumpur, as well as Yayasan Seni Karya Perihatin.

Siti opened the show against a giant number "1" in the backdrop and with the song Hati, and picked up the tempo with Seindah Biasa, where she was joined by her back-up dancers.

Her medley of her earlier hit songs followed after Sutra Maya, with Jerat Percintaan, Aku Cinta Padamu, Purnama Merindu, Kau Kekasihku, Percayalah and Bukan Cinta Biasa.

Next, two percussionists appeared on stage in a battle of pulsating rhythms. They raised the curtain for Siti's medley of traditional tunes, including Cindai, Balqis, Nirmala and Bulan Yang Mesra.

If you think you've seen it all before, you're wrong. In this segment, there was no zapin for Cindai, with fresh contemporary dance choreography adopted to give an updated interpretation to this musical experience.

"I'd like to dedicate this segment to my teacher, composer Pak Ngah (Datuk Suhaimi Mohd Zain). He used to scream at me during our recordings because he cared about my career. I never took it to heart and I appreciate everything he's done for me," Siti said with a smile.

Apart from Siti's upbeat numbers (Pendirianku, Ku Mahu, Debaran Cinta, Wanita and Ku Milikmu - with a touch of Beyonce's hit song Crazy in Love and the dance moves inspired from her Get Me Bodied music video), the entertainer also devoted a segment to her fans.

For this, songs requested by her fans through her fan club Siti Zone (http:sitizone.com ) were performed, namely Cuba Untuk Mengerti and my personal favourite, the soaring and sweet Bila Harus Memilih.

Other songs included Siti Situ Sana Sini, Cahaya Cinta, Di Taman Teman, Biarlah Rahsia (dedicated to her media friends who relentlessly pursued her love story back when she was single) and Destinasi Cinta, presented in a grand marching band style.

The concert was opened by Aizat, who wowed the crowd with acoustic renditions of his popular tune Hanya Engkau Yang Mampu and a cover of Siti's dance track Engkau Bagai Permata.

A huge fan of Siti's, Aizat shared a heartwarming story of how he'd travelled from his home in Raub to Siti's house in Kuala Lipis during Hari Raya with an old photo splashed on the giant screen to prove it - back when he was, umm, ... a few kilos heavier.

The concert was also attended by Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and wife Tun Dr Siti Hasmah Mohd Ali. Also seen were local artistes Ning Baizura, Jamal Abdillah, Fazli Zainal, composer Pak Ngah as well as Indonesian stars Kris Dayanti and Rossa.

When met after the concert, Siti said she had to stop eating ice-cream, which she only started enjoying after being a wife, in preparation for the show.

"I didn't take iced drinks, let alone ice-cream, before I got married. But since I don't sing as much as I did in the past any more, there was no more pantang for me. To do this show, I had to stop taking cold drinks for a month - and strictly no ice-cream," she said.


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