I had the privilege of attending Wang Lee Hom’s Music Man II Round II concert at the Arena of Stars, Genting Highlands last Thursday. I was given a free ticket, so I gladly went to watch Lee Hom perform despite not being able to hear him. Attending the concert with me were several members of Homaniacs – the official Malaysian Lee Hom fan club – who provided me with physical and logistical support on top of a delightful companionship.
When my friend checked whether I would like to go, she asked if I could see well. If I could, then I could enjoy it by watching. Hence, I went there expecting to enjoy the show mostly visually. I even brought a monocular along.
I have not attended a live music concert since losing my hearing completely by the end of 2005. Because, I thought it would not be worth the money to attend a music concert when you can’t hear.
When I was invited, though, I was open to the idea, probably because I have made peace with myself and my deafness over the past eight years. I was open to the experience of discovering how I might enjoy a music concert in my present physical, mental, emotional and spiritual condition.
As soon as hall lights went out and stage lights came on at 8:30pm, something told me a memorable night was ahead. Indeed, I was impressed by the entire show’s choreography. It was a two-hour non-stop performance consisting many songs of different genre, each accompanied by elaborate and varying performances. The main dance performer was always Lee Hom himself, utilizing the entire stage. An energy-taxing concert no doubt. No wonder he is well built for endurance.
I did hear the songs. I heard them with all of my other senses. Hearing with our physical ear is only but one way of appreciating music. At Music Man II Round II, I heard Lee Hom by feeling the music beats – the beat of his ‘East-meets-West hip-hop’ music, and the flow of sound waves that vibrated in the air. The light displays and screen shows added to the experience by giving me a better idea of how the songs were. I also felt the emotion and energy with my heart. Seeing Lee Hom in person through my monocular was touching even from a distance. It was very different from seeing his picture or watching him in video. It felt like seeing an old friend at last.
That’s how Lee Hom is to me. Someone I enjoyed listening to when I could hear. I was a teenager – a lifetime ago. I have grown so much since then. But despite having grown and experienced much, my liking for Lee Hom’s music compositions remained unchanged. I will never hear the songs that he composed post-2005. But I am happy just playing the songs I have heard in my mind. I still sing his songs to myself and to whoever that doesn’t mind off-tune singing.
I took a special liking for Lee Hom not because he was good looking, although I like his looks too. Rather, it was his music’s originality. Not every pop singer is a musician. They might write their own lyrics now and then, but not compose their own music. Lee Hom is a musician first and foremost. He has proper and concrete music foundation, and a college degree to prove it, while his singing and popularity came later.
Lee Hom’s singing is naturally produced, not forced. Many singers stretch their vocal cords beyond limit to achieve a wider vocal range and complex sound vibrations. Lee Hom doesn’t bother too much. His focus is in the music composition’s dynamic. And I admire him for this reason. A true musician.
The concert was so comprehensive and elaborate, that I was filled with satisfaction to the brim by time stage fireworks exploded. Little did I know, that there was something more in store for me. I have yet to experience the best of this evening.
My friends and I slowly inched through the crowd of exiting audience. But instead of turning right towards the exit like everybody else, my friends led me to turn left, towards the stage below. When we reached the stage barricades, I thought we were just there to meet up with a friend so we may head home together. But one of my friends said something to the guards who let us through the barricades, more security personel, and finally, into a room at the side of the stage.
This was where, I met Lee Hom, face-to-face.
I told Lee Hom that the last time I attended his concert in Genting, I could still hear him. That was eight years ago. I can no longer hear him now. Yet I am amazed to see how much his performance has improved (evolved).
Lee Hom then calmly wrote to me by paper and pen. I could tell, though, that he was understandably tired.
Lee Hom, if you are reading this, know that I am supporting you in spirit.