In the months leading up to Sheila Majid The Concert Kuala Lumpur 2017, the singer was quoted in media interviews as saying this would be her most ambitious concert yet. It was to integrate million-ringgit audio systems and collaboration with top musicians in the region.
And it was also to mark her return to Stadium Negara: it was 26 years ago (how time flies!) that she staged the aptly-named Lagenda at that venue.
With all that hype generated, her fans turned up in full force last Saturday evening – some from as far as Indonesia and Brunei.
So, did Datuk Sheila Majid deliver on all the expectations? The answer is a resounding yes.
Although the concert started 45 minutes late, the full-house crowd didn’t seem to mind, greeting her enthusiastically as she made her entrance with Pengemis Muda.
Right from the beginning, the queen of jazz was in her element; it’s amazing how one petite-sized person can command a stadium-full of spectators.
Her sense of humour was evident. She made fun of her brief foray into acting (1985’s Ali Setan, which spouted the infamous line “Tipah tertipu, pak!”), and how her endorsements nowadays are for a more matured clientele.
Upon nailing a high note effortlessly, she jested: “Not bad for a 52-year-old, huh?”
The lighting and special effects were impressive, constantly changing to fit the mood of a song. And the sound system was top notch; her voice rang crystal clear all the way to the back of the stadium. Throughout the three-hour showcase, Sheila had three outfit changes; each Michael Ong gown more glittery than the last.
For this concert extravaganza, Sheila teamed up with former collaborators Mac Chew and Jenny Chin. Her husband Acis also joined her on stage.
Sheila joked that when she presented her entire repertoire of songs to Chew, he commented that it would take three days to get through that list.
So, a shrewd decision was made to present her hits in the form of medleys.
There was a segment dedicated to her 1980s ballads, which Sheila endearingly called bunuh diri (commit suicide) songs for their melancholic nature.
There was also a touching medley dedicated to composer Johan Nawawi, who passed away in March. She sang Jentayu, a duet Johan wrote for Sheila and his singer wife Nora in 1995, which bagged Best Song at the Anugerah Industri Muzik (AIM) a year later.
For one segment, Sheila brought on surprise guest, Tohpati. The well-known Indonesian composer and guitarist has collaborated with Sheila on numerous occasions, including her latest album Boneka.
They performed a couple of tracks from Boneka – the standout was the heart-wrenching (and yes, bunuh diri) ballad Haruskah Ku Pergi.
Then came the evening’s most crowd-pleasing segment: her tribute to the late great Tan Sri P. Ramlee. After performing a few catchy ditties (including Bila Larut Malam), she launched into her monster hit Lagenda.
It was at this point that the stadium truly came alive. Looking around me, it was heartening to see the audience – comprising different races and ages – united in their swaying of hands, mouthing the words to the timeless song.
Sheila even attempted a Japanese number Sparkle (which she previously performed when she broke into Japan in the early 1990s).
To close the concert, her chosen song was Memori but of course, the audience was not letting her go without their dose of Sinaran.
So, Sheila returned for an encore, performing Aku Cinta Padamu (dedicated to her long-time fans) and naturally, the shiny dance number that got everyone on their feet.
Truly, it was a magical night, filled with nostalgic, feel-good moments that will linger on in the audiences’ minds. Let’s just hope it won’t take another decade for her to stage the next concert.