Tuesday April 30, 2013
Wings rolls back the years
By BRIAN YONG
Local rock institution Wings rolled back the years with a high-octane performance at Istana Budaya – albeit with a twist.
IT’S been 27 years and 17 albums since Klang Valley-raised hard rock act Wings soared into our lives and the quartet shows no signs of slowing down, as evidenced in its latest concert series – Wings Rockestra.
The concert series at Istana Budaya, which ends tonight, is a culmination of three months of hard work, detailed planning and renewed passion, before the eagerly-awaited release of the band’s latest album, Menakluk Kosmos.
And judging by the 1,500-strong turnout at Istana Budaya last Thursday, the concert promised non-stop, rock-out entertainment and some surprises. The band was complemented by the 43-piece National Symphony Orchestra (NSO), led by Mustafa Fuzer Nawi.
With an expansive 20-song setlist (21 if you include two guitar solos), including evergreen hits such as Misteri Mimpi Syakilla, Taman Rashidah Utama, Opera Hidup and Sejati, the concert presented the band with an opportunity to revisit its vast catalogue and dust off some rare, live gems such as Dari Tuhan, Kota Kemusnahan, Amok, Alam Barzakh, and Awang Trasher.
The quartet, decked in suits that wouldn’t look out of place in a fashion magazine, made a stylish entrance as it emerged from beneath the stage. They kicked off the show with Amok, a foot-stomping, riff-heavy number. The orchestra gamely matched the tempo of the band – some of the musicians were smiling as they fiddled and strummed away with gusto. A few numbers on, sections of the crowd was seen headbanging to the lush soundscape.
The heavier numbers such as Ameringgo, Alam Barzakh and Awang Trasher were perfectly suited to the orchestral accompaniment. The orchestra beefed up the original melodies, making them sound fuller and heavier. The musical production was good – every instrument had a clean and clear sound. From where the writer was seated, the intimate settings enhanced the acoustics of the hall.
On the contrary, some fans seated at the back of the hall complained that the sound was muted, especially during the power-packed classics.
Awie, 45, who was at his visceral best during the heavier numbers, displayed a softer side during Sayap Illusi, as he effortlessly switched gears from the hard to the heartfelt. As the consummate showman, Awie was humourous and affable throughout, as he put the crowd at ease in their seats.
Midway through, came the surprise in the shape of guitar virtuoso Hillary Ang and Indonesian rock legend, Ian Antono. And with guitarist Joe, 44, who is also the concert’s musical director, the three amigos served up a serve-and-volley rendition comparable to G3 (Joe Satriani, Steve Vai and Eric Johnson). Antono made an immediate impression when he jammed the first bluesy number with his eyes practically closed.
Economical in movement, Ang let his guitar do the talking throughout, as he rocked with the band right to the very last number. Joe’s erstwhile riffing and cajoling of the six-string had the crowd lapping up to every lick, from the soulful to the searing.
The hard-hitting style of drummer Black, 47, was best captured in Ameringgo, the heaviest number of the night. He smiled and pounded away without a care in the world for two-and-a-half hours, leaving the majority of the audience in awe. Bassist Eddie, 45, matched Black beat-for-beat, powering the band’s rhythmic formation on, as he plucked away in his usual cool manner.
And as the unlikely marriage of rock and opera draws to a close today, the Wings boys would have been glad that they have nailed it with tantalising triumph.
> Limited tickets are available for Wings Rockestra’s final show at Istana Budaya in Kuala Lumpur tonight. Call 012-298 8446 / 017-652 8423 / 03-4026 5555 for details. Browse: ticket2u.biz.