When the travel360.com team was informed that we were to cover British boyband 911’s The Reunion concert in Malaysia, all my colleagues unanimously agreed that I should take on the assignment.
Why? Having attended two 911 concerts previously, (the first in 1997 and the second in 1999), they felt I was the best person to meet the band. I happily took on the assignment as I enjoyed their music when I was growing up. And a chance to meet the band up close was too good to pass up.
The sold-out concert was held on 22 June at the Quill Convention Centre and the audience comprised mostly of 30-something men and women, who had no doubt grown up listening to 911’s songs on the radio (mind you, this was a time when apps like Spotify were not even imaginable) or on cassettes.
I spoke with fans ahead of the concert to gauge their excitement about the upcoming show. Genevieve D’Souza, 39, was a big 911 fan when she was a teenager and the walls in her bedroom were plastered with posters of Lee Brennan, Spike Dawbarn and Jimmy Constable. She never expected that she would still be a fan 23 years later!
When she heard about the concert, Genevieve didn’t even think twice. The bank relationship manager hopped on a plane all the way from Kota Kinabalu, Sabah for the chance to see her idols on stage for the first time.
Roza Marsal, another die-hard fan, said that this was her first concert ever and she was so excited to see the boys perform. The 36-year-old former bank manager added she was especially looking forward to her favourite song, All I Want Is You.
The show opened with 17-year-old singer-songwriter Andreah, who performed two of her original songs. Her first song was Best Friend, dedicated to everyone who had come to the concert with their bosom buddies. The Irish-Filipino songstress’ second song was Focus, her single which had dropped the day before.
Next, Malaysian DJ Nesh took the stage with remixes of 90s tunes like Addicted, Here Comes the Hotstepper and even local favourite Bagaikan Puteri to get the crowd pumped up for the main act.
911 Take The Stage
With the opening acts done, it was time for the main event and needless to say the crowd went wild even before the boys came on stage. And when they finally appeared on stage, the screams from the audience was deafening!
The trio fed off this energy and kicked off their show with the dance number Party People. And then, to throw everyone off guard, the boys suddenly did a choreography display of the shuffle from Party Rock Anthem by LMFAO, before going back to the chorus of Party People. Needless to say, when the boys did the shuffle, the crowd cheered them on loudly. To keep the momentum going, they followed up with a crowd favourite – Don’t Make Me Wait – which of course sent the crowd into another screaming frenzy.
Then they continued with A Night to Remember and How Do You Want Me To Love You?, both of which were just as popular with the crowd. It was amazing to see that even after 20 years, the boys still had their moves and Spike even did a backflip!
The boys then took a breather to welcome their Malaysian fans to the show and said how happy they were to be back after a 19-year absence. Malaysia was the first country that their debut album The Journey went number one, and Spike thanked the audience for giving them this honour. Next, they went into a medley of songs – Sway, Can’t Stop and Rhythm of The Night – from The Journey album.
The boys then slowed things down with a few ballads. Lee performed a solo called One More Try, and Jimmy took the stage to perform the song I Do, which he wrote for his wife when she walked down the aisle. When he told the crowd this, you could hear everyone collectively going, “Awwwwwwwwww”. The boys rounded up the ballad section of the show with Our Last Goodbye.
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Then it was time to kick up the tempo with Love Sensation, another crowd favourite that got everyone dancing. The super popular All I Want Is You followed, and the crowd again went wild. You could hear the entire auditorium singing along to them and the boys really fed off this energy. Genevieve said that she absolutely loved singing along with the boys to her favourite songs and Roza shared similar sentiments.
The trio then slowed down the tempo again with A Little Bit More before picking it up again with the dance number More Than A Woman. Then, they sang the title track of their debut album The Journey before abruptly saying goodbye and leaving the stage.
The Grand Finale
Of course, the fans weren’t having any of this and you could hear chants of “We want 911!” erupting across the convention centre. About five minutes later the boys re-appeared on stage again much to the delight of their fans.
“This was the best part of the concert for me. I knew they were going to come back on stage and when they did, I screamed so loudly!” said Yuswani.
When the intro for The Day We Find Love started playing, the cheers turned into screams! And to end The Reunion concert in Malaysia, the boys performed the track that every single fan in the audience had been waiting for – Bodyshakin’. They brought the house down with that track as everyone was dancing and singing along with them.
Before making their final exit, the boys thanked their Malaysian fans once again and Jimmy even said that they will be back soon.
At the end of the concert, Genevieve said: “I still can’t believe that actually happened! Made me feel as if I was 16 again!”
Roza chimed in: “It was absolutely fabulous and I loved every minute of it”.
“The concert took me back to the 90s. I am so impressed that Lee, Jimmy and Spike can still bust a move, it’s been 19 years since they were last in KL yet they can still wow us with an awesome show!” said Yuswani.
I myself had a pretty good time especially when 911 sang some songs I had already forgotten.
So, will there be another 911 concert happening in the near future? If last Saturday was any indication, the answer would definitely be a resounding yes. And will I go back for a fourth concert? Absolutely!
Check out more photos from the concert here: