… He said son you are a bachelor boy
And that’s the way to stay
Son, you be a bachelor boy until your dying day …
Immediately at the completion of the song, the entire audience broke into loud applause amid pockets of wolf-whistle sound.
“I heard that in South-East Asia, the Koreans are very good singers,” said Sir Cliff Richard. “But the Malaysians are better!” That remarks drew cheers and resounding round of applause from audience.
Then one small boy went to the front of the stage to present a balloon in the shape of a heart to Sir Cliff Richard. While bending his body to accept it, he said: “Yes, he sure is a bachelor boy!”
Yeah, the Peter Pan of Pop returns to thrill Malaysians and yours truly was in the concert at the Arena of Stars in Genting Highlands on Saturday 10 February evening, the second and final concert of Cliff Richard’s Here World Tour 2007.
At 7:15 p.m., the concert hall was empty. According to schedule, there were only 45 minutes to the start of show. Through my past experience of other concerts, the hall would be half filled by then and there would be lots of noise from the audience.
Fifteen minutes later, the crowds began to throng into the hall. The stream of audience flowing into the hall was non-stop. The audience was mostly above 35 years old. There were at least five fans that came in wheelchairs from my side of the entrance.
For the young ones, they were mostly accompanying their parents. It was not possible to spot two teenagers going together as in those concerts perform by pop divas.
The VIPs: Human Resources Minister Datuk Seri Dr. Fong Chan Onn, and Deputy Finance Minister Datuk Dr. Ng Yen Yen were there too.
The ice-creams and the luminous devices were not salable. Don’t forget, most audience was senior people and staying focus – of listening to the songs – was most important. The unique thing was that at 8:15 p.m. the crowds were still coming in.
At 8:20 p.m., our Peter Pan of pop emerged at the stage and immediately, the crowds roared its approval with whistles and applauses. Strumming the stings of his guitar, he sang an up-tempo rock number that immediately engaged the attention of audience and charged up the full-housed audience. Yes, it was a full house.
He sang many of his favourite songs. He also sang in duet with his four back-up singers that each has his or her capability having similar voice as other famous singers.
In between songs, his fans – mainly ladies – presented bouquet of flowers to their idol. Sir Cliff Richard said: “I can open a flower shop.” With more flowers coming up from fans, he quipped, “I can open a bigger flower shop.” There were audiences who were from Canada, Hong Kong and Australia.
Then my favourite songs, Miss You Nights, was sung. Quarter way into the song, he began the next number, “Devil Woman”, followed by the “Young Ones” and then “We Don’t talk anymore” – four songs were sang in quick succession and compressed into the time of one song.
It is amazing that at 67 years old, he is still actively singing and performing in concerts. As quip by him, some thought that he was already dead.
Years may wrinkle his skin but his voice sounded exactly the same as though I was listening to his songs from the record albums. There is a quality of clarity about his voice, and it retains today a remarkable youthful quality of tone. His “ballad” voice is soft and confident while his “beat” voice is full-throated, exciting and spontaneous.
I love the song: Evergreen Trees. With the harmonica sound, it was wonderfully melodic and tuneful, this song nearly have made me weep. I used my binoculars and scanned his 10-piece band. To my surprise, none were playing harmonica. It must the synthesize sound.
His dressing in the first-half: in black and white. Even the shoes were in black and white that were shining in the spotlight.
At 9:20 p.m. – one hour later – he announced a short interval. The audience accepted his announcement with approval. That was understandable as he has been singing non-stop for one hour. It was a rare scene that the toilets were packed with audience. The queues overspill to outside of toilets.
At 10:40 p.m., he announced good night. The entire audience in the hall could not believe him and no body wanted to move. After 30 seconds, the sound of “WE WANT MORE” and “ENCORE” were heard. He then continued singing a few more songs again.
One of the songs that he has chosen was most appropriate: Peace In Our Time.
We've gotta have faith
To work it out
Faith and hope
Without any doubt…
He was energetic for the entire show; no sign of tiredness. At times, he was trying to do a bit of dance walk but the movements were not that smooth. No one was complaining – the audiences were there to listen to his songs and not seeing him dance. The audience was entertained and mesmerized by him in the two-and-a-half-hour show.
On my way out, one scene touched my heart: I spotted a blind man was sitting next to his wife while waiting for the crowd to thin. Wow! The emotion of that sight was even stronger than seeing those fans that came in wheelchairs.
I have fulfilled my teenage dream to see the legendary Sir Cliff Richard in concert one day. I was not able to come with my uncle, Leong Ah Lee, a retired school teacher who always played Sir Cliff Richard’s songs during his younger days, and that his nephew later became a fan of this legend.
Sir Cliff Richard, we hope to see you in 3-4 years time. Please keep your promise. Wishing you the Bachelor Boy will always be the Evergreen Tree of our time – Stay ever green and young as the seasons go…
Note: all photos taken were blurred when Sir Cliff Richard was in action due to my unsteady hands. With pain in my heel, I think it is okay to go for concert and not running in the KLIM Circuit Run #2.