It was raining heavily as we made our way into Stadium Merdeka on Saturday night. We were not alone though – more than 20,000 fans were also braving the heavy downpour in Kuala Lumpur to witness Wings’ 30th anniversary concert.
As the weather alternated between light drizzles and heavy downpours, thousands of us huddled together in front of the stage with raincoats on while the chill started to seep in. The rain kept pouring unabated until at about 9.30pm, when the guest artistes started to take the stage for a special tribute show.
It was nice to see established names in the Malaysian music scene, such as Azlan & The Typewriter, Afdlin Shauki, Datuk Hattan, Ito Blues Gang, One Nation Emcees and others, coming together to perform their own renditions of Wings’ classic hits and paying tribute to the band. They were backed by top notch musicians such as Hillary and Roddy Kristal (guitars), Paei (drums), and Lee Tse Wan and Fly on bass.
Comedians Saiful Apek and Yassin also left us in stitches with their funny take on Wings and rock music, making us forget our discomfort momentarily.
It was a strange feeling watching a rock concert soaking wet, as the raincoats did little to protect us from the relentless rain. But it was worth it.
Wings finally appeared on stage at about 10.30pm and kicked off the show with their classic hit Bazooka Penaka, followed by Inspirasi Taming Sari, and Bujang Senang.
Having watched Wings in action a few times in the past, I knew that the guys would deliver. And deliver they did. The band has an electric on-stage persona, especially frontman Awie. True enough, despite the rain and discomfort, we got to witness an electrifying spectacle as Wings rolled out hit after hit after hit, with fans cheering on in their raincoats, headbanging and singing along to old favourites such as Di Penjara Janji, Enigma, and many more.
As promised, the show followed a rock-umentary concept, with the fans taken on a journey of the band’s early days, struggles, successes and enduring legacy. And to capture the mood, the band members even wore the colourful outfits they were famous for in the 1980s.
Undoubtedly, Wings is a phenomenon in its own right, as the band has not only persevered, but flourished for 30 years as one of Malaysia’s most influential musical acts. Formed in Ampan, KL in 1985, the band has been through several line-up changes over the year. Currently, Wings consists of Awie, drummer Black (Azmi Hashim), bassist Eddie (Shamsaidi Ulong Idris) and guitarist Joe (Abdul Zamin Kadir).
With a total of 28 albums in the past three decades, the band has won numerous awards, including the Best Performance award during the Anugerah Juara Lagu in 1990, Best Recording Album award at the Anugerah Industri Music (AIM) in 1993, as well as the Anugerah Planet Muzik (APM) Special Award in Singapore in 2014.
Despite some minor technical and electrical equipment glitches throughout the night due to the continuous downpour, the show was indeed a priceless and perfect gift to fans who have been following the band these past three decades.
At 47, Awie didn’t show any signs of slowing down. He mesmerised the fans with his powerful vocal range while his bandmates each displayed skills that could only be gained after years of experiences, commitment and the love of rock and roll.
Besides treating us to a walk down the memory lane with songs such as Amok, Awang Thrasher, Kota Kemusnahan, Orang Kit, and Ranggi Metropolisa, the band also performed Ingatkan Dia from its latest album Menakluk Kosmos.
In between songs Awie shared the story of Wings’ journey all these years, and how indebted they are to the fans’ continuous support. As expected, the fans lapped it all up, rain and all.
Wings also paid tribute to its former members, including vocalists Mel and Mus, and guitarist Sham, by inviting them on stage to perform a medley of Intanku Kesepian, Biru Mata Hitamku, Belenggu Irama, Potret Monalisa, Misteri Mimpi Syakilla, Di Ambang Wati, and Semalam Yang Hangat.
Former drummer Jojet also performed an exciting drum solo session, with current drummer Black joining in later for an amazing 10-minute drum spectacular. Mus delighted the fans further with his powerful rendition of RNR Lu Punya Suka, Jerangkung Dalam Almari, and Blues Ular Sama.
It was way past 2am when Wings brought the roof down with all-time favourite Taman Rashidah Utama. The thunderous applause and cheers continued to resonate around the stadium as Wings performed Hukum Karma and Opera Hidup. And by then it was already almost 3am!
Much to the fans’ delight, Sejati was chosen as the perfect finale for a long, wet, but beautiful night. What a memorable show it was indeed, and what a celebration it was of a colourful 30 years for Wings.
For a band that started out playing at fun fairs, with each band member paid RM5 for every night they performed, Wings has come a long way indeed. And if last Saturday’s concert was anything to go by, Wings will definitely continue to soar for a very long time.