Sunday, April 19

Best. Day. Ever. (posted on March 5th, 2009)

Seriously. I should be writing this in my blog, but as everyone knows, I'm lousy at keeping journals.
So a big Thank You to the guys who came up with Facebook Notes. This happened like months ago: Kasha: Falie, Jason Mraz datang KL March ni. Me : OK. Cool. Kasha: Jom pergi tengok. Me : (5 seconds delay) OK. Don't get me wrong. I love Jason Mraz since "The Remedy" (Oh just get on with whatever gay comment you can think about). Kasha didn't dig that song so much. Mama didn't get the song at all. To her it was gibberish. And I love his songs like "1000 Things", "0% Interest", "Halfway Home", "You and I Both", to name a few. And, of course, his new(er) songs like "Geek in the Pink", "I'm Yours", and "Lucky". If I wore a hat, I'd be taking it off for singer-songwriters. They have their own voice, their own take on life and music, and their lyrics are (most of the time) poetic. But I've never been a fan of any particular artist. So it doesn't come as a surprise for me when Kasha ends up updating me about new songs and albums. Uh. Oh. I've also never been to a concert before. The concerts while waiting for the fireworks display on New Year's Eve or Merdeka didn't count. So, when Kasha told me about the concert, I was not too hot on the idea. Lining up for hours, crammed up with other sweaty get what I mean. But my sister's eyes were screaming at me to agree to come with her. So I agreed.
We checked online. Naturally, I looked at the most expensive seating first. It was RM258, and it wasn't even a seat. It was free-standing, smack in front of the stage. It's basically a pen to place all those fanatics. I went, "Hell I'm gonna get this ticket." It was going to be my first concert experience. I wanted it to be memorable (insert Virgin jokes here). But when I wanted to purchase the tickets online, the credit card system was down. I waited. When I decided to call, it was around Chinese New Year. They were offline. I waited. And waited. Then life happened. When I remembered, like...just over a month ago, I tried to purchase the tickets online. The Pitt (the one I was aiming for) was fully booked, as well as the Rock Zone (free standing, surrounding The Pitt). Only the cheapo tickets, with the faraway seats were left. Me : Sha...sori eh... Kasha: Napa? Me : The Pitt dah fully booked. Tinggal yang murah and jauh... Kasha: WHYYYYYYYYY! Me : (fidgeting) Jap eh...I try calling them. (a few minutes later, after I got the phone number to Axcess) Me : Do you still have tickets to The Pitt? It's fully booked online. Guy : We have lots. How many do you want? Me : 2 please. (boring transaction process) Me : Kasha. Urm... Kasha: Tikets ada? Me : Be prepared to stand. The Pitt baby! Kasha: For real? YAAAAY! Thank you Falie! I'm gonna update my blog! (I rolled my eyes. Some people are such bloggers.) So life went on as usual for me. I was listening to Glen Hansard, Damien Rice, and I went through the Twilight Phase (insert another gay comment here). Robert Pattinson was the wrong guy for Edward Cullen at first, but after the second (or was it the third) viewing, well, he was no longer Rob, but Edward. Kirsten fits Bella perfectly though. I can imagine her as a vampire (wait, did I just spoil the story for anyone planning to read all four books? If so, I'm sorry. But Bella's one cool vamp. Read on). But, my Twilight Phase was actually one particular song. Rob's "Never Think". I didn't know that guy could sing. But that song actually got me writing again.
As I was saying, life went on for me, but apparently not for Kasha. She was breathing, singing, dreaming, even peeing Jason Mraz. Did I mention she's a HUGE FAN (urm, don't take it literally Kasha)? She was mentally preparing herself to see Mraz in the flesh. She listened to his songs, looped. His songs only. I decided to take a whole week off instead of just yesterday, but mainly to write. Not to write this, dammit. I can't talk about what I was writing, not just yet. It'd be breaking a binding agreement or something. I'm not good with this law and rule shit. So, yesterday morning... Kasha: Falie, nak gi kol brapa ni? Me : 4, the latest. Malas nak beratur panjang amik tiket. Kasha: Okie. Me : Tapi tengahari i nak kuar gunting rambut dulu. Kasha: Okie. Swear to God. She only had Jason Mraz on her mind at that time. So it was almost 4, and I remembered that I hadn't transferred pictures from my 2g memory card. And my camera transfers images oh-so-slowly. So we decided to go to the clinic first. Kasha needed an MC. Go figure. So to cut the already long story short(er), we went to 2 clinics, faced minor traffic jams, but no doctors until 5. I wasn't gonna wait.
We officially left home at 4:30. And I forgot the way to Stadium Negara. I called Papa for direction (I always do, for anywhere in and around KL). He kinda gave me the direction to somewhere near Muzium Negara (waaay off track). I knew it was somewhere near Puduraya, and near VI (the stench of cows invade the hill where Johannians dwell, so it must be near - inside joke. You wouldn't know unless you grew up in KL). So I tapped my phone for an online map. Papa called when I was driving and gave me his amended direction, which was the correct one this time. It didn't stop me from taking the wrong turn and making a big loop around, though. Kasha: What's this place? Are we still in KL? Me : (pointing at a temporary signboard) Lencongan (detour). We follow the sign. Kasha: (nervous laugh) Oookay... I felt like a contestant in Amazing Race. We arrived there around 5. Traffic was kinda light, up till Pudu area. And when we got there, the already narrow road surrounding the stadium was lined up with parked cars. Bummer. Then some middle-aged men showed us to an empty landing (or something. It's paved). I had a feeling it would be difficult getting out. And they charged us RM10. Kasha paid, so I didn't make any noise, other than commenting that they'd make hundreds just like that.
We walked slightly downhill, almost a full round to get to the B Entrance (The Pitt and part of the sorry RM68 tickets). Kasha stood in the line (just initially though...she actually drifted away just standing there...weird, huh?). I sat down, but then joined her. We thought of camera-whoring for a bit, but, seeing all the excited camera-whores, we decided against it. We also saw a lot of people wearing Jason Mraz T-shirts, and plenty of fedora hats (I learned the word today. Fedora). You know, those kipas-susah-mati (die-hard fans...duh). Quite a number of hot girls, but they looked kinda under-aged. We made quite a number of remarks on the outfits some people actually wear in public. Horror. While waiting for the gates to open... Me : Kasha, napa I tak kena hantar kat International School ah? Sure dapat girlfriend hot. Kasha: (Jason Mraz in her head)... Kasha: ...ntah. Tanya Mama. Me : ...
So we stood...almost 2 hours before the gates opened. I had a bad feeling about our camera and DV-tape videocam. And slightly after 7, they finally let us in. People in front of us started to get out of the line to surrender their cameras. Bummer. When a RELA kid in army getup eyed Kasha's red Benetton bag that I was clutching, I told him I had a camera with me and voluntarily went to the counter where we had to leave our stuff. I didn't say anything about bringing a videocam, though. But the Patron of Photography was smiling at all us photographer-wannabes. We only had to leave our memory cards (which made sense. Piling up those expensive gears would be asking for trouble). I fished out my spare card from my jeans pocket (1g, I was ready to part with it. I had 2 2g cards with me), surrendered the card, and got in, with my camera and videocam intact. Winnah! Kasha was waiting for me inside the entrance. She didn't want to go in without me. Instead of being grateful, I told her she should've just went in to get the front row, so I could just push people, saying "My sister's in front." We followed the people in front of us, flanked with more RELA security. I forgot how huge the stadium was, with the high dome, and the stage placed like a diamond fitted on a ring. And right in front of the stage, a square area bordered with waist-high metal foldable gates, was The Pitt. A gated lane led us into The Pitt. I like mentioning The Pitt. Sounds grand, doesn't it? The Pitt. Anyway, if you remember watching the movie Babe, or any Western for that matter, you could surely recall cattle or sheep being led into a grazing area, or back into the pen. We were the sheep. Baa.
We didn't get to stand right in front, and had to settle for third row of squashed standing people. The people in front of me were vertically challenged, so I didn't mind. I stood where I thought I could capture great pictures of Mraz. Not right in front of the mic, it would only get in the way. And judging from the lighting they were testing, mist and all, I figured it would be a great photo opportunity. I kinda forgot I was actually there to see Jason Mraz singing live. Our vantage point was a blessing in disguise. Kasha made friends with a couple from Singapore. They said the tickets to his Singapore concert sold out, so they had to settle for the concert in KL. It's a 40-minute flight, or 3-4 hours drive. Sanggup tu.... Plus, the lady was 7 months pregnant! And she was standing right behind me. Kasha: (pulling me close so she could reach my ear) Awak tu siku jangan belakang sangat. Me : Napa? Kasha: Pregnant lady behind you. Kena perut dia kang. Me : Oh. OK. Takpe. Kalau dia go into labor I boleh conduct delivery. Kasha: Ye tak ye eh? Not only that, there were two ladies from Bangkok. They claimed to be Mraz's biggest fans. They were bummed there wouldn't be a concert there, so they flew here to see Jason Mraz. When they started comparing the concert DVDs with the Singaporean couple, I was lost (I was drooling over the lighting anyway), and Kasha got dejected. She thought she was his biggest fan. We waited. It was already 8 but no Mraz (we saw a Bus Persiaran parked near the backstage area at around six-something, and Kasha said Jason was already there. He loves riding buses. Ookay....creepy that she knows that). Sound system problem. The crowd was already restless. We were even cheering and shouting when one of the stage-managers check the tuning of the guitars. Lights went off at 8:30. Pandemonium.
Jason Mraz, center stage. It was awesome. I whipped out my camera, and Kasha had the videocam in hand. To tell you the truth, I can't remember the first song he sang. I was busy being a happy-snappy. And I only sang along (or shouted along, as I found out when we replayed the recording) half the songs he sang, coz those were the ones I knew. Hehehe. But he sang The Remedy, and You and I Both. Old songs of his, but almost everyone sang along. Kasha was impressed. She was confident, in her haughty I'm-Jason's-biggest-fan-and-these-kids-only-know-"I'm Yours" mode, that not many people in KL would know songs from his previous albums. But people sang to all his songs! The Thai girls, true to their word, sang along every single song, including the convoluted tongue-twisters. They sang along to all his ad-libs to boot! The lights alternated colors. The mist created visible beams. The acoustics were perfect. Jason Mraz sang beautifully, his voice live just as good as in the albums. His ad-libs were amazing and entertaining, even the first verse of Oasis's "Wonderwall". The energy was palpable. We jumped, danced his silly dances, and sang our hearts out when he asked us to sing along (everyone sang without prompting anyway). The only downside was some unknown Chinese chick performed "Lucky" with him, out of tune, and out of harmony. WTF? Everyone sang to drown her voice. The consert lasted forever, and ended too soon.
Mraz bade goodnight and farewell at 10, after throwing Polaroids of his band, and lastly of himself, to the crowd. Man got good hands. The pictures mostly reached the center of the stadium, waaay behind where we were standing. We didn't have a chance in hell. Oh well, I got to snap all those pictures. Winnah! When we got out, after becoming sheep again (Baa), I had to wait for ages before the cars parked behind us cleared out. I was already hungry and almost cranky. Kasha was still feeling the rush. We were halfway home when she was suddenly tired and woozy. The last of the rush left her system. We picked up Drive-Through McD near Ampang Point (Thank God for good 24-hour food!), and I immediately went into editing mode when we reached home. I had a great first concert experience, and a very rewarding photography escape. I am still very happy. Today... Me : Best gak concert/tour photography ni eh? Kasha: Maka, awak nak gi concerts la after this? Me : Mahal sangat la to get good spots. Baik guna duit untuk travel photography. Kasha: Betul gak. While watching American Idol... Me : Kalau Jason Mraz tengok pictures yang I post tu, and ajak I ikut tours, I quit terus kerja! Kasha: Best tu. Mama: ... While writing this... I'm listening to Ingrid Michaelson's "The Way I Am", looped. I told you I'm no fan to any artist. I love the music they bring, I love the passion they have doing what they love. Damn...This ended up a VERY long entry. Not that anyone reads this anyway. Oh yeah...check out to read my sister's take on yesterday's event.