Concert Experience: Jogjarockarta and Dream Theater: Images, Words and Beyond

Jogjarockarta: great rock festival featuring legends. Please come back next year!

I first listened to Dream Theater 25 years ago in Jogja. Their skilled musicianship were displayed prominently in a masterpiece sophomore album, titled as “Images & Words”

Intrigued by their complex song writing, yet with catchy melody lines, I joined the band wagon of my friends in Jogja, to buy the cassette. And honestly, I consider the album as one of the best rock album of all time. Well, take a look at the title of my blog then you realize from where I get the inspiration.

With my fellow concert goers, who also listened Dream Theater for the first time in Jogja
That’s why when Dream Theater announced they will be playing in Jogja, celebrating the 25th anniversary of this monumental record, I wasted no time. Bought the pre-sale tickets for me and my old Jogja friends, and here we go, back to Jogja, the city where we listened to Dream Theater for the first time. 
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Coldplay Bangkok Concert Experience

The stage from our seating position. Provide great bird eye view of a beautiful concert
When Coldplay planned to come to Asia for their “Head Full of Dreams” World Tour, I immediately thought of going to their concert with Elok. Well, I can say Coldplay is one of few intersections from our vastly different musical interests, so this would be a perfect concert for us going together. Alas, the concerts tickets at Singapore, the closest venue from Jakarta, were sold out in hours, and we were left disappointed.

But to our much pleasant surprise, couple of days later, one of Elok’s friend informed us that there are still tickets available on their concert in Bangkok. So without hesitation, we bought our tickets and arrange the trip there!

Me, Elok and our fellow concert goers
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Concert Experience: Guns ‘N Roses Not in This Lifetime Tour 2017

The big stage with big big screens
Ok, after sore muscles and sleepy eyes have gone, here is my story from the experience watching last night’s Guns ‘N Roses (GNR) Concert in Singapore.

Billed as “Not in This Lifetime” concert, the show is highly anticipated by GNR and rock fans who grew up in hair metal hey day. Nearing mid 90s after releasing the cover album of Spaghetti Incidents, GNR personnel were busy making headlines due to their conflicts. Axl Rose was reported to be too egocentric and fired the fellow original line-up of the band Slash and Duff McKagan from the band. The feud between them was very bad, hence there was a time when Slash was asked if he ever going to reunite with Axl, his response was “not in this lifetime!”

The ticket. At SGD302, it’s not cheap

But hey, nothing lasts forever (“even cold November rain”). And people do change, including Axl and Slash.
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Lady Gaga Spectacular Superbowl Half Time Show

Superbowl Half Time Show never short of spectacular. Including the last one last weekend featuring Lady Gaga.

You just have to admire how US entertainmant people could make such gigantic, complex, and sophisticated show in orchestrated, professional manner..

How Lady Gaga maintianed her energy singing, jumping and dancing throughout the 10+ mins show is beyond me…

How the camera angle and takes captured the meticulous details and best part of the show…

How all of this was done in live musical concert setting and watched by millions of people worldwide..

And how about those hundreds of drones made up the glittering star and spangled banner in the sky?

Well done, USA. After all of those Trump’s debacle, you deserved at least for a great show! 😁

Inspiration from Ananda Sukarlan


Just had inspiring session with Indonesian pianist virtuoso, Ananda Sukarlan during our HSBC Senior Leadership Offsite.

Such an inspiration. As an individual with Asperger Syndrome, he used his limitation as his strength, focused in learning and playing piano since age of 5. 

He got scholarship to Netherland when he was 17 and graduated with summa cum laude in 1993 from the Royal Conservatory of Den Haag. When he had financial difficulties in 1992, as result of temporary halt of his scholarship fund, he looked for money by joining a piano competition in Bordeaux, which he won, and paved his way to be a professional pianist career in Europe until now. 

His works at classical piano is now world renown. He is the only Indonesian listed in the book “2000 outstanding musicians of the 20th century” and “The International Who’s Who in Music” published by Cambridge.

He showcased in front of us his amazing talent in grand piano (who says ‘talent is overated’??), and played some of his composition mixing Indonesian folk songs and classical music. When he started playing his take on “O Ina Ni Keke” (Rapsodia Nusantara No. 8), I was about to cry. When he finished playing the song, the audience was on their feet. Magical.

It’s an honor for us to hear his experience (he is a good speaker too, btw) and got inspiration from this humble and amazingly talented man. Thank you, Mr Ananda. I am a fan.

​Go check the video clip of his play at our session in YouTube 

Apple Music Featuring Slank

Back in 1990, Indonesia rock scene was anticipating for the debut album of Grass Rock, a popular rock band from Surabaya, which had been known for their excellent musicianship, featuring the likea of Eddie Kemput on guitar and Rere on drums.

While their debut album with “Peterson” was relatively successful, it was the other band from Jakarta, Slank, who spoilt Grass Rock’s party. With their badly-named debut album “Suit Suit He He” which surprised everybody with their fresh take of rock ‘n roll music combined with honest, straight-forward, no “nonsense” lyrics. Their debut album sold in gold, their songs “Maafkan”, “Memang” and “Ladies Night in Ebony” became hits, and their free-spirit attitude resonate with million of young crowd who eagerly came to their concerts. The rest is history.

Thanks to Apple Music to feature this Indonesian legendary rock band with their remastered albums in the digital collection. Rock!

Slank, back in 1990
The young and free-spirited Slank back in 1990

Van Halen: A Different Kind of Truth Review

A Different Kind of Truth Album Cover

First, I need to make one confession: I grew up listening to ‘Van Hagar’, i.e. Van Halen with Sammy Hagar as vocalist. Their first album I listened to was ‘5150’, and it remains as one of my favourite rock album. And given that background, for years I believed that Sammy is much better vocalist than David Lee Roth. Yes, I like DLR as well (his album ‘Skyscrapper’ made my all-time rock album list as well!), but for me, Van Halen is much better band with Sammy than Dave.

Until now.

I am not among the Van Halen fans who are excited and eagerly awaiting for the new album because DLR is back to the band. I’m happy enough to know Eddie is back after his cancer treatment and alcohol-addict treatment. So I’m expecting this album because of that sole reason. Besides, this is not the first time DLR is back to the line-up after that monumental ‘1984’ juggernaut. They recorded 2 songs before in 1996 (‘Me Wise Magic’ and ‘Can’t Get This Stuff No More’ from ‘Van Halen Best of Volume I’), and honestly, they were ordinary. So what’s the big deal?

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Reviews: Apple GarageBand for iPad

Garage Band
Garage Band

I just downloaded this application this week on my iPad. And needless to say, I dig this app so much. The application was really built with the general users in mind. Everybody can become musicians now! And if not, get your song books, and input your favourite songs into this App, and sing along!

And I can only compliment Apple to put this high quality app at USD 4.99!

I’m thinking of writing review on this app, but found this excellent article over iLounge.  So instead, I put the link here for you to read. Enjoy!

Reviews: Apple GarageBand for iPad | iLounge.