Taken from my note after watching the concert, updated with some revisions
I would like to think that watching Alicia Keys’ last night’s concert was a ‘To Feel Experiment’. How does it feel to watch (again) the performance of a musician that I was once loved so much, but now not even a single song can be found on my iPod?
It felt weird to be honest, because I couldn’t feel even the slightest of excitement.
I remember watching Keys’ first concert in Jakarta a few years ago in 2008, cramming in the festival class and singing along to all of her songs. Each and every one of them. But I suspected most of the people only came to watch her sing ‘If I Ain’t Got You’ because that was the only song that I heard was sang the loudest from the beginning to the end. Last night? All I really wanted was for the show to be over as soon as possible because my feet hurt like hell hahak!
Back in the days, I was really into the Motown and Neo Soul sound. Years passed and I still very much enjoy them, but I don’t listen to Keys anymore. Keys’ first two albums were actually great in terms of the sound, but the third album for me saw the signs of her decline, which in line with the genre’s popularity decline itself. Keys began to scream out her songs, which in my opinion, none of them is as catchy as her earlier works. What was already corny got even cornier like those of motivational quotes. I like the singer-songwriter type of singers and it really annoys me when a singer-songwriter wrote very banal lyrics with titles such as ‘Unbreakable’ and ‘Superwoman’. A real superwoman, if there is such a thing, I guess would never say ‘I’m a superwoman’, doh. She has become one of those ‘pop icon quasi feminist,’ preaching too many jargons to the point I didn’t think I could listen to her music anymore. They are just… lame.
I found the best moments of the concert were ironically when Keys brought her son, Egypt, to the stage and two of her background singers sang the classic ‘You’re All I Need To Get By’, of which no one seemed to know. So let me continue my rant here. Just like back in 2013, it’s so typical of Keys’ Jakartans audience. Very few of them seem to know anything else beyond her music, or even her hits. This Neo Soul genre seems to attract the middle upper class kids, perhaps because it was kind of brought here by the rich kids who studied in the US and were spread among their circles at first. Rather than trying to actually understand the root of Soul music itself, this type of audience seem to just superficially associate themselves with the cool façade of its’ image. It’s really frustrating when you’re in a Neo Soul concert and very few people know Marvin Gaye’s song, let alone who Marvin Gaye is.
Anyway, I only watched it out of my curiosity and just for the sake of taking some concert pictures. Thanks to my dear friend Yanne, I had the chance to re-examine the experience.
Performance-wise, I genuinely think it’s still a great show, just like the first one. It’s just that I just don’t feel her anymore.
You Don’t Know My Name
Tears Always Win
Listen to Your Heart
Like You’ll Never See Me Again
A Woman’s Worth
Love You Down
Un-Thinkable (I’m Ready)
Try Sleeping with a Broken Heart
I’ll Be There for You/You’re All I Need to Get By (performed by background vocalists)
When It’s All Over
Fire We Make
Not Even the King
If I Ain’t Got You
Murder She Wrote
Girl On Fire
Brand New Me
Empire State of Mind (Part II) Broken Down