Mariah Carey proved that she remains a master of her trade during her Wednesday night concert at Stadium Merdeka.
When one of the world’s most highly regarded vocalists, Mariah Carey, went on stage at Stadium Merdeka on Wednesday night, she sang as if she had a point to prove.
You see, when she kicked off The Elusive Chanteuse Show world tour in Tokyo earlier this month, the crowd had been less than pleased with her painful, off-key performance. In Seoul, the singer was lambasted by netizens for not only struggling to hit her signature soaring notes, but also demonstrating an overall lack of sincerity.
On Wednesday night, however, it was clear the vocalist remains a master of her trade. Carey, who is known for her wide five-octave vocal range, took on one big note after another unflinchingly, perhaps fuelled by an enthusiasm to silence her critics.
The 44-year-old R&B diva launched into her whistle register (fluttering hands and all) without trouble towards the end of Emotions, scaling higher and higher well into the limits of her upper range. And even with her full voice, Carey powered up beautifully, displaying strength and grit in her new stirring ballad, Cry.
Still, she kept the night’s most outstanding moment for Fly Like A Bird, which featured both mind-blowing vocals and great emotional depth, all the while casually lounging on a grand piano clad in a long, flowing black dress.
For someone who has never seen her in concert, listening to Carey nail those notes live was an experience unlike any other. Just witnessing the songstress caress the verses to The Jackson 5’s I’ll Be There with her soft, whispery vocals alone was spine-tingling.
Having said that, the concert was not without its flaws. While Carey played a setlist comprising many of her hits, some of the choices were rather questionable. These included songs like I’m That Chick, Shake It Off, and songs from her newest release like Thirsty and Meteorite, which came nowhere close to classics like Without You, Dreamlover and Vision Of Love.
In addition to that, classic hit song Honey was set to a new arrangement that made it sound almost unrecognisable.
Other finer details of the concert were also neglected, such as the two screens accompanying the main stage, which were much too small for audiences in the furthest seats to see clearly. To make things worse, there were no close-up shots of the singer’s face at all, a must-have for audiences to feel closer to Carey especially when she belted out her heart-rending ballads.
All these factors, coupled with the fact that Carey disappeared off the stage for long periods of time far too many times, may have led to small groups of the audience exiting the stadium halfway through the show. It was quite shocking to see people getting up to leave especially when staples like Hero and We Belong Together weren't even played yet.
Mother Nature was not on her side either. A steady rain, which started around 6.30pm and lasted throughout and even after the show, resulted in an hour and 15 minute delay, and a slightly miffed poncho-clad crowd (sounds like a good idea to sing Through The Rain, right? No, she didn't sing that one either).
Still, credit must be given to Carey, who carried on with the show in good spirits, actively speaking and singing spontaneous messages of love to the audience, which lent an organic feel to the entire experience. By the end of it, we were just glad that we got to watch the “elusive chanteuse” perform live, and that her vocal abilities had not proven to be elusive.