Quite simply, the best damn live concert I have ever attended.
When Suki and Faizal spoke to the Black Eyed Peas, Pepsi ambassador to Pepsi ambassador, they asked what advice an accomplished international group like them would give to new budding music artists.
Will.i.am's reply was "Stay hungry. Stay focussed. Keep your feet on your ground."
Indeed, when we met them privately at the Marriot, we could hardly tell by their demeanour that The Black Eyed Peas are in fact one of this decade's most successful pop group because they were so humble, polite and down to earth.
Later that evening we went to their concert, and the same four people that we met earlier had miraculously transformed into this electrifying, singing, dancing, ass-kicking entertainment machines.
The scene outside the Impact Arena was people mountain people sea.
Yet, despite that everything was incredibly well-planned and in control, so much so that we don't even have to shuffle through the sticky crowd to go into the arena. I reckon there were more people lining up buying pork burgers at McDonald's than there were people squeezing in the venue.
For appetizers, The Click Five opened for the show.
I was actually less interested in their number one smash hit Jenny than the fact that they wore freaking SUITS during their live performances!
Dude, you guys are in Thailand ok?
The weather here is hot ok?
People don't walk around wearing suits like its winter ok?!
As the crowd began to fill the Impact Arena, I had a chance to scout around and check out the local concert goers.
I wasn't disappointed.
Here's a picture of three guys and one girl.
Or was it three girls and one guy?
Dunno. Your guess is as good as mine.
Now, something cool unexpectedly happened to me before the actually concert began.
You see, normally when you go to concerts, cameras and other recording equipment are strictly banned. However, because I was the only person in the Malaysian media team with a proper SLR camera, the concert organisers not only issued me with a press pass, they also gave me access to the security pit area RIGHT IN FRONT OF THE STAGE.
It doesn't get any better than that.
I had, literally, the best seat in the house. Any closer, and I'd have to join the Black Eyed Peas on stage. ;)
It was difficult to contain my excitement as I stood there behind the security barricade between the crowd and the stage.
It was even more difficult to contain my excitement as the lights to the Arena dimmed. The intro to the song Hey Mama was played, and out came The Black Eyed Peas!
They rapped. They danced. Fergie gyrated like Shakira. And the crowd was loving every minute of it.
Let me tell ya, I have seen crowds going nuts, but this was unlike anything I have ever seen before.
The atmosphere at the Impact Arena was indescribable. Even I had trouble holding my camera steady.
It was as if The Black Eyed Peas had just brought 20,000 people to the point of simultaneous orgasm. And they were still begging for more.
Not sure how their concert in KL was like after some over-zealous religious nut kicked up a fuss over Fergie's wardrobe, but she ain't holding anything back, baring midriffs doing her sexy moves and all.
Will.i.am and Taboo looked sharp in their suit and tie, while Apl and Fergie dressed it down.
Still can't believe I was standing so close to them.
I mean, I could even see the frizz in Fergie's hair and the foundation of her make-up. What the heck, right?
And did I mention Fergie looked delicious?
Or maybe I should say Fergalicious? Hur hur. ;)
That's taking nothing away from the other band members of course.
Apl was especially delightful to watch. The half-Filipino had so much energy in him, thrusting his hips and break dancing for the eager crowd.
Apl grew up poor, but he is always proud of where he came from. Whether its a belt buckle, a jacket or his adidas, everytime he make a public appearance, Apl would always sport a Filipino flag or something representing his home country.
With so many number one hits under their belt, The Black Eyed Peas never ran out of familiar songs to perform.
An interesting moment occured during their performance of My Humps.
There's this one point where Fergie threw a wad of cash notes into the madly screaming crowd.
Those on the front row thought it was real, but I picked it up and the dollar note looked something like this.
HAHA. WHAT THE HELL?
After a quick wardrobe change, the Peas came out again and sang Shut Up.
It was undoubtedly their most awesome showcase of the entire night.
Check out my video later and you'll see that Fergie was so into her performance that she was almost crying. From there, she did a complete emotional turn-around and did SIX SINGLE-HANDED CARTWHEELS in a row across the stage and back!
Suki kept gushing over how much she admired Fergie for having the total package.
Fergie's stamina was incredible.
While the rest of her band members went backstage for a rest during Fergie's solo performances, she was on stage like 95% of the entire time. And all that while, her voice remained intact and her performances energetic.
How could anyone not love her like that!?
For her solo, Fergie did Big Girls Don't Cry, Glamarous and Fergalicious. I went completely nuts when she sang London Bridge.
That was my favourite song to look out for in the clubs, and it was simply awesome to hear it live.
Will.i.am only did one song from his solo album - I Got It From My Mama.
When I first heard the song, I thought to myself "Why kind of a stupid song is this!" If you never heard this song before, it goes something like.
Baby where'd you get your body from?
Tell me where you get your body from.
Baby where'd you get your body from?
Tell me where you get your body from.
Of course she got it from her mama!
I mean, where else could she possibly had got her body from?
Still, Will.i.am is definitely one of the coolest and most charismatic artists in the music industry right now.
At one point during the concert, Will.i.am announced to the crowd. "The bad news is, The Black Eyed Peas is breaking up..."
When the crowd roared in disbelief, he quickly interjected "No! No! No! What I meant was... We're breaking up the fights."
"The good news is, The Black Eyed Peas are never gonna separate!"
And with that, they carried on with their performances of Don't Phunk With My Heart, Don't Lie, and their new song More.
During one of their songs, The Black Eyed Peas did something really memorable.
Will.i.am got the crowd to turn on their mobile phones and wave it in the air. The result is a beautiful sea of dancing lights permeating throughout the arena.
With Where Is The Love playing in the background, suddenly everyone in the building felt as if they are connected like one big happy family.
Gotta give them credit for knowing how to work the crowd.
The Black Eyed Peas is probably the only group in the world who can use a giant inflated monkey head balloon as a concert prop, and no one would say anything about it.
Alas, all good things must come to an end.
A wardrobe change later, Will.i.am Apl.de.ap Taboo and Fergie ended their phenomoneal, 2-hour-long, energetic concert with one final rendition of Let's Get Retarded. With that, they left us breathless, excited and wanting for more.
What a great concert.
Here are two more videos I took during the show.
Part one of the concert. Check out Fergie's one-handed cartwheel!
The conclusion of the concert here.
I love doing this so much. Thank you again to all those who made this trip for me possible.
To think that three years ago, I actually had to resort to gatecrashing beauty pageants and begging organisers to let me to photograph their lousy events. And now there are actually people out there giving me press passes to not only watch the Black Eyed Peas but also travel with Suki and Faizal for it?
To those who denied me the opportunity to photograph your events in the past, all I could now say is: suck on that. :P