R.E.M. closed their chapters

One of my favorite band, REM, have decided to call it a day.
By a shocking announcement ..

MIKE MILLS

“During our last tour, and while making Collapse Into Now and putting together this greatest-hits retrospective, we started asking ourselves, ‘What next’? Working through our music and memories from over three decades was a hell of a journey. We realized that these songs seemed to draw a natural line under the last 31 years of our working together.

“We have always been a band in the truest sense of the word. Brothers who truly love, and respect, each other. We feel kind of like pioneers in this — there’s no disharmony here, no falling-outs, no lawyers squaring off. We’ve made this decision together, amicably and with each other’s best interests at heart. The time just feels right.”

MICHAEL STIPE

“A wise man once said, ‘The skill in attending a party is knowing when it’s time to leave. We built something extraordinary together. We did this thing. And now we’re going to walk away from it.

“I hope our fans realize this wasn’t an easy decision; but all things must end, and we wanted to do it right, to do it our way.

“We have to thank all the people who helped us be R.E.M. for these 31 years; our deepest gratitude to those who allowed us to do this. It’s been amazing.”

PETER BUCK

“One of the things that was always so great about being in R.E.M. was the fact that the records and the songs we wrote meant as much to our fans as they did to us. It was, and still is, important to us to do right by you. Being a part of your lives has been an unbelievable gift. Thank you.

“Mike, Michael, Bill, Bertis, and I walk away as great friends. I know I will be seeing them in the future, just as I know I will be seeing everyone who has followed us and supported us through the years. Even if it’s only in the vinyl aisle of your local record store, or standing at the back of the club: watching a group of 19-year-olds trying to change the world.”

http://www.npr.org/blogs/allsongs/2011/09/21/140670548/r-e-m-calls-it-a-day-announce-breakup

I have all of their musics, whether online or in CD/cassettes. It’s been very pleasure and lucky to go from one song into another, they are truly amazing musicians. Automatic For THe People is always the masterpiece, but I love their discography, all of their albums are interesting and having good taste music.

Thank you R.E.M. for the inspiring music you have brought to use, mesmerizing our days and simply show how beautiful of music can be

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TRAIN Concert Review – Jakarta, December 5th 2011

Monday evening, 5th of December 2011. It was the best day of my life.
My dream comes true, I could watch my favorite band Train play in front of my eyes after 10 years hearing them in my car’s tape, radio, television, and You Tube. Guys, you must know how it feels watching your favorite band come and play the songs that you love!

VENUE
The venue is Oval Plaza, in Epicentrum Walk, a prestigious high-class area in the central of Jakarta city. Originally it is an open space inside a mall, but the Epicentrum Walk has used it for music concert place. Surely the place was not intended as a musical venue, so we won’t expect fantastic sound and it was true, the sound during the concert wasn’t perfect, especially the echoes and the unbalanced mix of instrument’s sounds during the opening and Train show. Surrounded by two floors of the shopping center filled with cafe and small restaurants (access was blocked during the concert), the promoters re-arrange the entire place to be like a real concert stage.

Almost 2000 people showed up for Train concert in Jakarta, about 250 people are foreigners and some are coming from Singapore, Malaysia, and Thailand. It is make sense since this is the first Train visit to Indonesia and they are just popular over here thanks to “Hey Soul Sister”, while they their first album was out at since 1996 actually. Also the announcement for the concert came just two weeks ago.

THE CONCERT
Enough story, let’s go to the music. The Jakarta concert was late 1,5 hours due to technical difficulties. But nobody seems aware :). Music starts at 8.00 and everybody was standing up.The opening act was Aditya, an Indonesian male singer which seems to have a modest professional career since his first album out at 2005. But anyway, he put a fine show and those funky pop 8 songs are well received by unfamiliar audience. IMO, he has a great movement and know how to interact with the audience, didn’t look pedestrian despite the fact most of the crowds didn’t know him before. Another Indonesian great prospect..

Then after 40 minutes intermission, finally at 09.40 PM (too long, supposed to be 8.00) the locomotive sound echoing through the PS. Everybody cheers, then comes the 4 players of Train band (Train is only 3 members). I came very early at 6.30 to reach the front row and fortunately I got Jimmy Stafford standing in front of me. After 1 minute intro, Pat Monahan came out and singing the first lyric of “Parachute”
And Oh My God, I couldn’t believe my self, my favorite band esp. Pat were standing in front of my eyes. No I don’t care the expensive ticket, it was just heaven.. I’m in cloud no.9 ^_^
I even didn’t bring my camera because I won’t let any minute of this concert go away, this is my most favorite band FFS.

To make my review more structured, I’ll review song by song 🙂

1. Parachute
The opening. I was surprised they open with a new song, and a non single song. Well, I can say most of the people didn’t know the song except the fans that have bought the CD. But anyway, this is Indonesia, and don’t ever expect people watching concert eating their bubblegum or chat with friends during song that they don’t know. We all screaming and cheering through the song, some are jumping to follow rhythm. The music was powerful although I see the engineers busily check and adjust the already woo sounds. And as expected, the air become a parade of blackberries, mobile phones, and digital cameras.

2.If It’s Love
Only 5 seconds interception with Pat say “Hello Jakarta”, the band went into ‘If It’s Love’. A more familiar song, the audience singing the chorus together and paying attention carefully (or should I say listening?) when Pat singing the rest of the song. Well, I can say the band rocks! Wish it was inside a real concert venue..

3. Meet Virginia
“Could we go to the old school days?” says Pat before starting ‘Meet Virginia’. With average sound quality, I was struggling to hear the nice intro like on the record. However I see most of the audience didn’t know the song. And it was confirmed when Pat asked how many of us know that song. Since Train was very popular in Indonesia because “Drops of Jupiter” and “Hey Soul Sister”, so it is reasonable. But as I say above, we all enjoyed the song. I sang some lyrics but hey, Train songs were rarely sing-along compositions except the mass chorus. The live version surely is a much rockier version than the country-flavored recording version. Everybody is clapping and screaming after the song finished. Oh those girls’ frenetic screaming were just never stopped..

4. Get To Me
Due to bad audio, we were struggling to hear the opening verses of “Get To Me” and Pat several times did eye contacts with the sound engineers. Fortunately when Pat screamed the chorus (that was the time I realized which song they play then), they have fixed the buzz sound. The crowds enjoy the funky beat song very much although apparently only me and a few sang the song together with the band. But in the end the band repeat chorus over and over again because the audience finally sang the chorus so loud, seems the band were surprised how quick Indonesia audience can got the lyrics for songs they rarely heard before. Scott played the drums later part like a disco beat. So that was a happy ending of ‘Get To Me’

5. Don’t Stop Believing (Journey cover)
Pat said he needs someone to help him sing the next song because he was amazed with the crowds so far. He also said thank you for inviting them to Indonesia, and sorry for coming now after so long.
And when that famous piano intro began, I was surprised. They play Journey song! Unfortunately Pat picked a girl to accompany him on stage singing ‘Don’t Stop Believing’ although I had raised my hands when he asked who know this song. Well, the majesty of this song was interrupted because that girl didn’t know the lyric much (the 2nd verse). And Jimmy can’t play the solo fluently like Neal Schon. At least the band play this cover fine.

6. She’s On Fire
Hmm, I cheered up again when Jimmy played the intro, and all the people again screaming and singing the chorus together. Shockingly, Pat stopped after the first chorus, asking who love country music. He then picked the acoustic guitar and a cowboy hat, singing the rest of the song in country-style. And while the Christmas is far away, Pat threw his cowboy to the crowd, and My God he gave that acoustic guitar with his autograph to a lucky bastard boy in the front row, and it was not me!

7. Dance music intro and Hey Soul Sister(snippet)
It’s party time. Before the music of ‘She’s on Fire’ really end, Pat invites two girls to the stage and dance together to end the song. And then abruptly Pat invites more girls to come on stage, well how can I describe you, it was like a riot or moshing. But peacefully the security helped around 18 girls to jump the fence and went to the stage with Pat just steadily watching from the corner, while the bands keep playing some funky rhythm led by Scott Underwood.
And then Pat order two girls to dance as crazy as they can when Scott and co played a disco beat. “I don’t know why I have to watch this shit” Pat grumbled followed by all people laughing out loud. Then with keyboard background, they sing ‘Hey Soul Sister’ chorus together three times. Sooo sweet Pat!! I don’t know if you also did this at other concerts..
And without warning, all girls refused to leave the stage until the security pulled them out haha 🙂

8. Calling All Angels
The hit from their 3rd album, and this is one of my favorite. They sang this full and what a performance. Pat screamed his lungs out and Jimmy delivered the melody so fluently with strong keyboard playing. To be honest I really love the studio recording, it is so beautiful. In live performance, we cannot expect the hiding violin or other instruments, just full rock! So I’m not complaining 🙂
Pat and the audience sang the “I won’t give up, you wont give up” together numerous times until the song faded away..

9.Save Me, San Francisco
The staple vocal intro in the live version of this song, and we all cheered up and sang together. It’s a happy song, everybody’s clapping and shaking their bodies. One of three highlights of the show but certainly my most favorite song with ‘Calling All Angels’. If the arena was big, then we could jump..

10. I Got You
A more straight-forward song from the new album. While most people seemed unfamiliar with the lyric, but the rockier tune successfully tuned up us again and made the crowd didn’t forget that was a rock concert. A steady rhythm from Scott and the bass player, it was well received. Well so far none songs weren’t well received.

11. Marry Me
Another highlight. Pat said it has been a tradition in North America that he always goes down the stage to take photo. Before that he presented the song for those who wants to get married. Wish there was an unexpected proposing on stage hmm…
Jimmy started the intro and yes, it’s a staple of a Train show nowadays. Pat walked from side to side under the stage and took photos with the front audience using their cameras, he climbed the hence and having the crowd as the background. Lucky I get one with my friend’s camera, I’ll keep it till I die 🙂 . I Counted he did about 12 photos with the front audience while still keep singing with beautiful voice. So romantic!

12. Hey, Soul Sister
“And now it’s time to party” Pat said after the last song finished. Jimmy took the ukulele and everybody on earth erupted in joy while they hear the intro of the song they know and really love for good. At some point, I’d rather go to You Tube hearing this song ,rather than in concert, because everybody was singing it so loud. But then I sang it together and without doubt, we all erupted in joy forget the fact that 50% weren’t Train fans actually. The band play it fluently despite the mass crowd singing, and that’s it, the end of the main concert. All the players went backstage then followed by big chants “We Want More! We Want More!” 5 foreign girls beside me (European) screamed “Lagi! Lagi” made me laughed (‘Lagi'{Indonesia} = More)

Encore:
13. Words
7 minutes is enough. They came back and played another new song “Words”. WOW! 8 NEW SONGS from total 14 despite that album hit the shelves at 2009. A brave but reasonable step from Train. Unlike Parachute or I Got You, I viewed the crowds were also familiar and sang the chorus together save the fact that this song is a non single/hit

14. Drops of Jupiter.
Just exactly “Words” ended, Jerry Becker the additional keyboardist played the famous piano intro. My tear was almost fallen since I already know this is their definitive closing song at their concert since 2001. Well, I decided to pay attention 100% to this performance and enjoy the song, singing it passionately with my throat almost got sucked to dry. As always, the mass choir on chorus and what a perfect song to a perfect end of a perfect show. “Na na na na na na na na na…” and then it ended. They shared a hug and lovely waved goodbye to us. God I almost cried but that’s it, the best evening, the best day of my life.

I was still standing for 10 minutes after Train left the stage, could not believe my self and tried to recall the views I have witnessed and overjoyed. That was the band whose musics have accompanied me during car driving and spare times.
Meanwhile, I also got 4 new great friends, Timothy, Dion, Lydia, and Lina with whom I watched the concert together in the front. Well they aren’t Train fans unfortunately :D, but we enjoyed the concert together, singing at most choruses. Maybe we’ll meet again at Katy Perry’s concert next year 🙂
Fin.

Titi Gantung, Medan, North Sumatra

Everybody in Medan and North Sumatra must know Titi Gantung. The name is derived from a cable bridge crossing a railway station and connected 2 streets next to each side of the station.
A very old-fashioned bridge, today many people like to stand by the bridge looking to the railway below and beautiful sight of Medan downtown. Many motor riders also use this bridge as a shortcut..(car is not allowed)

It was a place trading secondhand books with new ones (half of them were bogus). The target market are students (the foremost), lectures, book hunters, and public. A popular place for students from North Sumatra and Aceh, Riau also, it was located on that cable bridge (Titi Gantung)

Nowadays, it is built just beside the Merdeka Square opposite to the railway station. Yes it is very close to that bridge, but now the place is more well designed, safe, and clean. Much better than the old book store which made the old Netherlands colonial legacy bridge looked disorder and dirty…

toko bukuThe book store

Talking about the book store, most of the books available over there are specifically for students. Usually the seller tell a high price when a buyer ask him. And then the bargaining process happened as usual, different to the modern book store in which we can only ‘buy it or not’.
However, we can safely worry about the originality of the book especially when they are not secondhand, but new book. I found a lot of book which were just copies from the original except the cover. So people looking for new books, this place is not recommended. But a lot of old books which may hard to find, book hunter has good opportunity to find it over here as most of the sellers still keep and keep up old books (while they must take longer to sold).
In Titi Gantung book store we can also find a lot of recent magazines and comics with cheap prices..Indonesian or foreign magazines are available..

The place is averagely visited by 1000 people everyday, mostly came at late afternoon. Higher percentage is in around June / July come the new studying period.