Matheos Viktor Messakh , The Jakarta Post , Jakarta | Sat, 11/29/2008 11:33 AM | Entertainment
Rossa's stage Wednesday night reflected her career -- it had its ups and downs.
Singing 18 songs, her concert, titled Persembahan Cinta (Gift of Love) and performed at the Jakarta Convention Center's Plenary Hall, was a lifetime achievement for Rossa.
Dressed in a turquoise flared skirt, the mother of one opened her show with "Nada-Nada Cinta" (Rhythm of Love), sung in a cappella, causing a hush to fall over the audience and giving the impression she owned the stage.
The Erwin Gutawa Orchestra and Erwin Gutawa Band appeared from behind large sliding screens on two separate moving stages and accompanied Rossa till the end of the show.
Her next song was, "Terlalu Cinta" (So in Love) from her seventh album Yang Terpilih (The Chosen One), which had won her a Malaysian Anugerah Industry Muzik award in 2006 for best foreign artist.
The next 90 minutes were filled with 15 chart-topping songs, combining fast- and slow-paced melodies.
With some new up-tempo arrangements of her songs by noted composer Erwin Gutawa, Rossa -- who is known for her slow and mellow songs -- at times joined in with the 24 dancers from United Dance Works.
The 2003 hit "Malam Pertama" (The First Night), which became the soundtrack for the soap opera of the same title, had been rearranged to a fast salsa beat, which had the audience moving and shaking.
Rossa had five dress changes, with noted designers Sebastian Gunawan and Sally Koeswanto in charge of her wardrobe.
The Erwin Gutawa Orchestra played a significant role in the pop-classic collaborative concert, not only by smoothly filling the transition of one fast dress-change to another, but also by leaving no doubt that this truly was a concert.
Art director Jay Subijakto also fulfilled his promise to bring his architectural talent to the stage, allowing Rossa and the dancers to move freely during some fast rhythms.
Jay, who has directed 14 concerts, also provided the Erwin Gutawa Orchestra and Erwin Gutawa Band with a separate stage one level above the quadrilateral moving stages.
Returning to the stage after her first dress change, Rossa performed hits from her fourth album Aku Bukan Untukmu (I am not for you). Almost in tears, she told her fans how her progression to the top of her career had also been filled with much frustration and pessimism.
"In 1999, after I finished my first adult album, I was very frustrated because I couldn't find a song that I thought would become a hit. Then my producer came along with one that make me strong and brave," Rossa said before singing "Tegar" (Brave).
Rossa, who was born in Sumedang, West Java, on Oct. 9, 1978, started her career young in 1988. Little Rossa, whose real name is Rossa Roslaina Sri Handayani, caught the attention of a record company when she attended a vocal test with her mother, a local singer from Cianjur.
The company gave her a contract and she began working with musicians such as Franky Sahilatua, James F. Sundah, Uce F. Tekol and Areng Widodo, who helped her prepare her first album Untuk Sahabatku (For my Best Friend), an album of children's songs.
However, the album failed to meet the selling target and Rossa took a long hiatus before returning to the music industry eight years later with her second album Nada-Nada Cinta (Rhythm of Love).
Although she started to gain popularity through her second album, it took three years before she hit her stride and began launching albums every two years.
"I started my career at a very early age, but I never imagined I would reach all these (achievements)," Rossa said from the stage.
Throughout the concert, Rossa thanked those who had helped her throughout her career, including her best friend Melly Goeslaw and her mother.
The song her mother used to sing for her as a bedtime serenade was the only piece performed that did not come from one of her albums. She asked her mother to stand up before the crowd before singing "Bubui Bulan", a traditional song from West Java.
Ungu Band, which collaborated with Rossa on the soundtrack album for the movie Ayat-ayat Cinta (Verses of Love), appeared on stage in soft purple lighting, as vocalist Pasha sang with her in the duet "Tercipta Untukku" (Created for Me).
"The music was great and Rossa's performance was perfect, but there were some annoying flaws, such as when the microphone cracked (midway through a song) and (one) big screen that didn't work properly," Agus Wisman, a member of the vocal group Elfa Singers, who was watching from the audience, told The Jakarta Post after the concert.
Rossa's best friend Melly Goeslaw stole the show for a while when she appeared on stage in Japanese makeup and a Samurai-style outfit to duet with Rossa in "Hati Yang Terpilih" (The Chosen Heart).
Near the end of the show, Rossa appeared in a black Arabian-style gown, hypnotizing the crowd with her latest hit "Ayat-Ayat Cinta" with an Arabian rhythm. She opened the song with a Koranic recital.
The 30-year-old mother closed the show with "Nada-Nada Cinta" (Rhythm of Love) in a fast jazz style.
"Nothing is perfect. Although we had a little (microphone) problem in the middle of the concert, it didn't disturb Pasha and I and we finished the song perfectly," she said after the concert.