Sunday, March 16, 2014

Singapore Jazz Festival 2014: Jamie Cullum

When KS found out Jamie Cullum had come and gone after performing in Singapore in 2010, he was so disappointed that he missed it. So when I saw on social media that he was making his way here again, I texted KS to tell him we were going to Singapore. Before he could ask why, I sent him a snapshot of the details and the approval to head down to the Lion City was instant.

The first time KS introduced me to his music was some time back in 2005, from his Twenty Something album. We loved it so much that we played some of the tracks at our wedding during our lunch reception.

We were so kiasu, one of the earliest in the hall so we took a selfie while waiting
While KS has seen recordings of his concerts, I was completely unaware of what to expect. He was the first to perform for the Singapore Jazz Festival 2014 (with James Morrison as his opening act). From my experience of the last Jazz Festival (which I accidentally attended in KL from extra tickets) more than 10 years ago, for the most part, I was lulled into a dreamy subconscious until Diana Krall came on.

James Morrison

So it was a pleasant surprise when James Morrison performed and was very relaxed and funny while connecting with the audience in between his pieces. I think I will go look for some of his pieces now, especially Rain, perfect for a rainy day accompaniment. And because the hall was way smaller than the Bukit Jalil stadium, it immediately felt more intimate and we could see expressions more clearly. It was definitely more interesting than my previous experience so it just had to get even better.

It was electric the second Jamie finally appeared on stage. He was like an electron, as though he was going to explode from energy as he ran, jumped, whacked instruments and the amazing thing was, he was hardly out of breath (even though I was, just watching him!) and delivered his songs beautifully. He performed songs from his old albums and also covered pop songs like Lorde's "Royal".

His signature jump off the piano, yet his voice remained flawless.
A guy had to come fix the piano throughout the show but the performance was hardly interrupted.

One unimportant observation was that Marina Bay Sands has two halls, and both halls performed "I could have danced all night" since the other hall was showing My Fair Lady!

Now I know not all jazz performances are relaxing, I was sitting on the edge of my seat almost the entire time! Would I go to another of his concerts? Absolutely! And this time I'd pay for pricier front seats knowing he'd come down to the audience and interact with them.

Stopping in mid song to photobomb.
And are most jazz singers witty? He shared about some aspects of his personal life too apart from the jokes. Either that or I haven't been to enough concerts to know how performers interact with their audience. U2 was more serious with their humanitarian messages even though it was also energetic.
Perhaps it's time for me to go for more concerts. Now, if only George Michael would do another concert or Josh Groban drop by this region.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

A Missing Plane

That night, as I sent KS off to the train station for him to grab his Boeing 777 MAS flight to Japan en route to Chicago, little did I know it would be a historical night for another Boeing 777 MAS flight which was meant to head to Beijing a few hours later.

The news started circulating in the early hours of the next morning and I only found out because my sister was supposed to meet her friend at 10am that morning. And her meeting was cancelled because her friend's father was missing on the flight to Beijing.

Missing? What does that mean? How can a huge plane vanish into thin air? We scoured the net for more information and the information which was trickling in became more and more confusing. All possible theories surfaced. The weekend was basically being glued to Twitter, Facebook, CNN, BBC, Bloomberg on my phone since I don't have tv.

Within that day itself, I found out two of the passengers are from my church (one of whom is a crew member) and my ex colleague's wife, her sister and mother were also on that plane. Later on that week, I found out one of them is my friend's colleague in IBM. His office desk is filled with paper cranes of hope.

Even though there were 50 Malaysians on that plane, suddenly the nation became smaller as people started identifying them with their friend's friend, relative etc. Wave upon wave of prayers and hope flooded the social media (and it still is) as we all waited for developments. Of course, with it you get idiots saying the stupidest things, a bomoh (shaman) with his coconuts causing embarrassment to the nation, a fumbling investigation of statements and retracting of statements which created confusion to the world.

Now, a week after, we have only managed to narrow it down to the most possible conclusion, which is that of a hijacked plane. And still no trace of the plane. This, of course, is alarming to the world. What do they want to do with the plane, the hostages if they're still alive? Who is being targeted? If this is a hijack, why haven't they said anything, demanded ransom, anything?? Did they land the plane or did it crash eventually?

But hopes are still lingering that despite 7 days have passed, the crew and passengers are still alive somewhere out there.

The waiting is terrible for the nation but must be excruciatingly agonizing for the family members. This is another weekend of being glued to the internet for developments and fervently praying for the safety of the 239 people on board.