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Singer-composer Datuk M. Nasir recently celebrated his 40th year in music with an outstanding three hour-long performance. (Picture courtesy of Shiraz Projects)

FOR a singer whose career spans over four decades, it was hardly surprising to see fans from different age groups packing the hall at his two-night concert recently.

In fact, Konsert M. Nasir Satu Hikayat ― 40 Tahun Perjalanan, had been originally scheduled to take place for one night only at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre’s Plenary Hall. It was sold-out, and due to overwhelming demand, the concert organiser Shiraz Projects quickly added another show for the following night.

Thanks to the nature of my job, I had the opportunity to attend the performance on the first night, all in the name of work.

Unlike most in the hall that evening, although I find some of his songs entertaining, I wouldn’t call myself a fan, at least not the way I go gaga over say, Maroon 5 (read: Adam Levine).

Accompanied by an old acquaintance, a classmate from school from umpteen years ago, the two of us would have seemed like an odd couple had it been another concert. But since the 2800-strong audience that evening were just as equally a mixed bag, we seemed to blend in perfectly.

ENERGETIC PERFORMER

The 62-year-old singer-composer had promised that the concert would be just about him, without any other act to open the show for him. And so it was. Except that Nasir’s appearance on the stage was preceded by Sabri Yunus and his sidekick known as Mat Rock, dressed to look like two wayang kulit characters from Kelantan, Pak Dogol and Wak Long .

And with that, Nasir’s diehard fans knew that the singer was opening the evening with his song Langgam Pak Dogo. Accompanied by his group of musicians known as The Gong, his opening song was also supported by a dikir barat group called Arjuna Sukma. The group also performed with Nasir for six other songs throughout the evening.

The show was divided into three segments. After the opening song, other songs he performed for the first segment included Anak Anak Kita, Pheonix Bangkit Dari Abu, Keroncong Untuk Ana, Sentuhan Listrikmu, Bila Rumi Menari, and Tari Cinta Rimba Mistikal.

Looking much younger than his age that evening, his vocal capability has remained as if frozen in time too. He sounded exactly like how he had all these years. So it is nothing surprising for a performer of his calibre to have legions of fans who range in age and across the nation and even from down south, the island republic he originally comes from.

Nasir also confidently interacted with his fans in-between songs making casual remarks and jokes. He looked comfortable, as comfortable as the drawstring trousers he wore during that first segment.

And that night, while maintaining the arty aura that we have come to associate Nasir with, his fashion choice remained simple and elegant, not quite the tattered jeans and singlet preferred by many rock stars for a live show.

ROCKING THE HALL

The second segment was without a doubt the best of the entire show. While I’m partial towards songs from the 1980s, many in the crowd seemed to agree that this segment was the highlight of the evening. Nasir sang the songs he had composed for other singers, songs that had become popular, some of which are 40 years old.

He began with Kenangan Lalu (popularised by Flybaits), followed by Hingga Akhir Nanti (Alleycats), Sekuntum Mawar Merah Sebuah Puisi (Alleycats), and Milik Siapakah Gadis Ini (Sudirman).

By then, most of the audience had started to sing along without inhibition, some dancing in the aisles or standing before their seats (much to the annoyance of those seated behind, I’m sure).

Oh yes, by then, many smartphones recording the segment, for personal video collections and for bragging on social media, I’m sure.

What took many by surprise was when Nasir began belting out the song famously popularised by the late Sudriman and Anita Sarawak, Bercanda Di Pasiran Pantai. Many people I know said that they never knew that the song had been composed by Nasir, including yours truly included. It goes to show how prolific Nasir must have been in churning out good songs for his fellow artistes.

Other numbers performed during this segment were Istana Menanti (Rahim Maarof), Hani (Hattan), Sentuhan Kecundang (Ekamatra), Sampai Hati (Spring), Fantasia Bulan Madu (Search), Sejati (Wings), Peronda Jaket Biru (Wings), and Pawana (Search).

In the final segment, Nasir sang the songs his diehard fans were waiting for — Mentera Semerah Padi and Suatu Masa. Other songs included Ekspres Rakyat, Hati Emas, Gerhana, Mustika and Apokalips.

By then “the party had already gone wilder.” Those are Nasir’s own words, describing his concert as a “wild party”, which he hoped the members of the audience would not go home and tell their mothers about. However, while I was queueing to pay for my parking ticket, I overheard a fellow concert-goer said: “How to keep this information a secret from your parent, when your mother has been sitting next to you at the concert!”

He ended the three-hour concert with Raikan Cinta. It was really a good show (except in the beginning when the music was too loud and the three hours passed by without one feeling restless.

Another old friend commented on her social media later saying it would have been better (not that she’s saying it wasn’t good) if he had also sung the upbeat number Tanya Sama Itu Hud Hud. Oh well, I heard that he did just that on the second night.

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