IT takes a heady combination of talent and charisma to keep 900 music fans clapping, laughing, singing and swaying on cue – a feat Datuk Sheila Majid and Indonesian crooner Harvey Malaihollo pulled off with aplomb.
From the get-go (well, after the obligatory opening acts), the duo wasted no time in taking the “Sheila Majid & Harvey Malaihollo Live at Dewan Filharmonik Petronas” audience on a journey through memory lane with some of Malay music’s best-loved compositions.
With a repertoire dating back to 1985 when she released her debut album, Dimensi Baru, Malaysia’s jazz queen showcased her extensive catalogue of hits in several medleys and duets with Harvey at the Kuala Lumpur venue.
Skipping favourites like Memori, Cinta Jangan Kau Pergi, Antara Anyer Dan Jakarta and Warna would have been unforgivable and Sheila made sure to give her fans their money’s worth.
Performing medleys of her No.1 hits, she blended the songs of varied tempos seamlessly with her smooth vocals.
The pop classic Sinaran was given a jazzier arrangement. No surprise, it brought the house down, drawing the night’s loudest wolf whistles.
Presented by Kelab Sukan & Rekreasi Petronas (KSRP), the Tuesday night charity concert was held in aid of Dana Asy-Syakirin, Pertubuhan Kebajikan Ukhwah Anak Yatim Miskin Sabak Bernam, Pusat Jagaan Kanak-Kanak Yatim Miskin Rukaiyah, Pusat Jagaan Pertubuhan Rumah Anak Yatim Miskin Kuala Langat (Rumah Penyayang Bestari) and Pusat Jagaan Anak Yatim Nur Ikhlas.
Harvey’s solo set saw him belting out six of his popular tunes including the self-penned I’m Still Here — only one of two songs he wrote in a career spanning 37 years, he joked.
Harvey sang his heart out on his latest single Adilkah before bringing his two sons on stage for the touching ballad, Permata Hati.
Grinning, he shared how the song was recorded 22 years ago after the birth of his first child.
“With both my children here on stage with me, I’m feeling very nervous,” he said, sounding a little pressured.
Hopefully Harvey’s debut appearance at Dewan Filharmonik Petronas marks the start of long relationship with the venue.
It was Sheila’s third performance here and she also has the honour of being the country’s first local artist to set foot on the stage 13 years ago.
Music director Hasridz Murshim Hashim Abdullah – better known as Acis, Sheila’s significant other, definitely brought out the best in the seasoned musicians.
With the usual suspects — Jenny Chin (keyboards), Hanson Lee and Steve Thornton (percussion) — in tow, the six-piece band proved that there really is no substitute for solid music.
From the moment Acis gave the band the thumbs up signal, there was no holding back.
Pity opening acts Amanda Imani, Redza Hamid and Ahmad Fuad Zaharullai had to settle for minus-one music.
No doubt the rising talents gave commendable performances, but even the brightest stars would look dim next to Asia’s best.
Introducing Indonesian back-up vocalists Chandra Satria and Lucia Palupi, Harvey sang: “I brought them here from Jakarta.”
Without skipping a beat, Sheila retorted in song: “And they are not cheap!”
The night was kept fresh with more “melody mockers” like when Harvey called Sheila his “baby”, to which she sang — “you’ve got to ask him (Acis) first”.
The sold-out charity concert seemed more a gathering of old friends and loyal fans than a musical extravaganza.
The crowd was anything but subdued. With die-hard fans in the house, Sheila only had to put her hands to her ears to trigger a crowd sing-along.
Dressed by Malaysian fashion designers Micheal Ong and Syomir Izwa, Sheila donned a stunning, form-fitting striped dress before slipping into a slinkier black number at the tail-end of the show.
The night’s most memorable duet was definitely Dia and Katakan Saja, which Harvey cheekily described as “two-songs-in-one-arrangement titled Huru Hara (chaotic).”
Heaving a sigh of relief after the song, Sheila turned to Harvey and said: “We nailed it.”
Indeed, no truer words were spoken that night. Even the flawless encore, Lagenda, could not top that delicious “hot mess!”