Hit­ting the Marx

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - MUSIC - By CHRISTINA CHIN en­ter­tain­ment@ thes­tar. com. my

RICHARD Marx’s con­cert on Wed­nes­day al­most turned into a haz­ard.

Min­utes be­fore Marx was sched­uled to come on at the Kuala Lumpur Con­ven­tion Cen­ter, the po­lice de­stroyed what looked like DIY ex­plo­sives out­side the venue ( which later turned out to be harm­less glass bot­tles).

Haz­ard, of course, was one of Marx’s world­wide hits, which he in­tro­duced the song later in the set.

“It was about a girl who was mur­dered in Ne­braska. I thought it was stupid. I wrote it be­cause as a boy, I loved mys­tery nov­els. Since then, I’ve had fans ask­ing if it’s au­to­bi­o­graph­i­cal – like I killed a girl and have been run­ning hid­ing be­hind stages all over the world?” he quips, flash­ing his trade­mark smile which we saw a lot of that night.

De­spite the rain, rush hour traf­fic and the bomb scare, some 3,500 ro­man­tics turned up to catch the bal­lader live in what was his fifth visit to KL. The Grammy- win­ner, who’s sold over 30 mil­lion al­bums world­wide, was in his el­e­ment – croon­ing to ador­ing fans who have been Right Here Wait­ing - sorry, I couldn’t re­sist – for his re­turn.

Un­for­tu­nately for the open­ing act No Tyra, many were fash­ion­ably late, but those who made it in time for Marx’s warm up piece End­less Sum­mer Nights ( apt, con­sid­er­ing the hellish hu­mid­ity th­ese days) didn’t need help loos­en­ing up. From the se­cond the trim and toned song­writer, mu­sic pro­ducer, and singer took to the stage in a suave white shirt and black waistcoat, he had them eat­ing out of his hands.

“I’m very proud of you. You’ll do any­thing I say huh?” Go­ing by the loud cheers, he needn’t have both­ered ask­ing. Promis­ing to do songs he “could re­mem­ber” from a three­decade- long cat­a­logue, Marx kept to his word with Take This Heart. Not even a bomb scare could stop Richard Marx from putting on an un­for­get­table show.

“Like you, I go to con­certs too. I know it’s al­right to play one or two new songs, but you want to hear the hits right? That’s okay be­cause I like to sing them and that’s why I Keep Com­ing Back,” he joked be­fore break­ing into the song. Clever.

Per­form­ing 15 of his great­est hits and a few newer tunes, Marx’s ‘ The Solo Tour – Live in Kuala Lumpur’ was ex­actly that – him singing and play­ing the gui­tar and the pi­ano alone ( duh!). The only other guys ‘ on stage’ – al­beit not lit­er­ally – were his sons: Bran­don, Lu­cas and Jesse. Marx sang Save Me while a video record­ing of the trio on drums, gui­tar and pi­ano, played. The boys, he said, are all mu­si­cians now al­though each dances to a dif­fer­ent tune. Bran­don’s into elec­tronic mu­sic, Lu­cas is do­ing pop- R& B, and Jesse loves heavy metal – “just like me”, he quipped.

Brush­ing off im­pa­tient calls for Right Here Wait­ing, he per­formed Turn Off The Night – a track co- writ­ten with ex- Evanes­cence band mem­ber David Hodges, his favourite track from 2014’ s Beau­ti­ful Good­bye – his eight stu­dio al­bum.

Tak­ing on NSync’s This I Prom­ise You, a track he com­posed, Marx joked about how girls would stake­out the record­ing stu­dio, wait­ing for the boys, not him, to come out.

“But then this one re­ally beau­ti­ful girl ran up to me ask­ing: ‘ Are you Richard Marx?’. And I’m like, ‘ Yeah’. And she goes: ‘ OMG my mother loves you’. So this one’s for all you moth­ers,” he says, stab­bing at his heart, tongue firmly- in- cheek.

This was fol­lowed by Sat­is­fied and Just Go - a newish num­ber be­cause “I want you guys to know I still write good songs”.

The night’s only chaotic mo­ment came dur­ing an un­pluggged ren­di­tion An­gelia. Singing with­out a mike and with his gui­tar not hooked to the am­pli­fier, those seated be­hind the hall and up­stairs were shout­ing over his voice be­cause they couldn’t hear him. It took some very loud shushes be­fore the hall qui­eted down. Hats off to Marx though – the guy can still sing. Al­though sound­ing a lit­tle raspier af­ter what he de­scribed as a “dan­ger­ous” stunt, he launched into Don’t Mean Noth­ing, Should’ve Known Bet­ter and fi­nally, the oblig­a­tory Right Here Wait­ing.

Sur­pris­ingly, there were no calls for an en­core. Dance With My Father – a song he wrote with Luther Van­dross, would have been a nice send- off. But I’m sure we’ll see Marx again soon. Till then, warm mem­o­ries of the in­ti­mate, no- frills, mas­ter­class per­for­mance, will have to do.

Marx’s con­cert on Wed­nes­day was a true solo show, with just him and his gui­tar on stage. — Pho­tos: NORAFIFI EH­SAN/ The Star

Marx had the au­di­ence eat­ing out of his hands through­out the show.

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