Famous names to rev up gala all night long

ONE of the most colourful social events of the year - Petronas Malaysian Grand Prix Spring Gala 2006 - is just round the corner, awaited with bated breath by dignitaries, socialites and Lionel Richie fans.  

The anticipation is tangible, even in the way the planning committee and working crew bustle around preparing the ballroom and plenary hall at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre. 

“It is going to be a very colourful event and tables are already sold out,” said event organiser Hafez Mohamed, barely able to conceal his excitement.  

The glamorous event is a prelude to the eighth Petronas Malaysian Grand Prix that will be on from Friday to Sunday.  

The hall set-up promises guests a unique garden experience, complete with grass carpeting, parasols, trellises, scented candles, vibrant lighting and lush foliage.  

“We've got everything planned right down to the last detail to ensure that our guests have a fantastic experience,” said Hafez yesterday. 

It will kick off with cocktails and mingling with F1 drivers and principals at the grand ballroom, followed by a 75-minute performance by multiple Grammy award-winning superstar Lionel Richie at the plenary hall. 

Richie will be belting out many all-time favourites including Three Times a Lady, Dancing on the Ceiling and Hello. 

A gourmet supper will commence together with dazzling acrobatic feats by New York-based human circus act AntiGravity as well as a performance by local songbird Liza Hanim.  

Some 650 people will be attending the dinner with the VVIP guest list including the Yang di-Pertuan Agong and Raja Permaisuri Agong, the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, and Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak and wife Datin Paduka Seri Rosmah Mansor.  

Although tables are sold out, Lionel Richie fans will not be disappointed, as tickets are still available. 

“We've already sold about 70% of our tickets. It will be a proper concert environment - there will be no distractions - everyone gets to enjoy Lionel Ritchie's performance exclusively,” said Hafez, adding that the concert hall could accommodate about 2, 900 people.  

As it would be Richie's first trip to Malaysia, the star will be treated to first-class Malaysian hospitality at an exclusive dinner hosted by Sepang International Circuit chairman Datuk Mokhzani Mahathir and Datin Mastisa Mohamed at a private residence this evening.  

The Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Minister, Tun Dr Mahathir and Tun Dr Siti Hasmah will attend the event. Also attending the informal gathering are Datuk Michelle Yeoh and fiancé (Ferrari team boss Jean Todt).  

Tickets for Lionel Richie's performance are sold at RM900, RM1,300 and RM1,550 and can be bought from Pineapple Concerts. For details, contact 03-2780 7010. 

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