Divas in Concert: Showing
a bit of attitude

Hera Diani, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

Lucky you if you watched the Divas of Southeast Asia (DIVASEA) concert on television on Thursday night rather than in person. You missed the acappella group that killed time during the commercial breaks.

Calling themselves Peace Acappella, they practically ruined every song they did with unnecessary, show-offy improvisation.

Well, here I am, being overly picky again.

Anyway, The Divas of Southeast Asia concert featured seven ""divas"" from three countries: Indonesia's Vina Panduwinata, Titi DJ and Krisdayanti; Malaysia's Sheila Majid, Siti Nurhaliza and Fauziah Latief; and the Philippines' Kuh Ledesma.

The term diva here is confusing, though. What makes these women divas? Is it their popularity, album sales or what?

Perhaps it involved the fame of the singers within their respective countries. But have we ever heard a song from Fauziah Latief or Kuh Ledesma? And why weren't Ruth Sahanaya and Reza included?

However, because of a lack of publicity surrounding the event, we don't have the answers to these questions.

And maybe also due to a lack of publicity, the concert, which was held at the Bung Karno Indoor Stadium in Senayan, Central Jakarta, was only attended by some 2,000 people, meaning 3,000 tickets went unsold or unused.

Maybe the tickets, which ranged in price from Rp 75,000 (US$6.80) to Rp 200,000 were too expensive.

Having said all that, it has to be admitted that it was not a bad concert and proved to be quite entertaining.

It kicked off at 9 p.m., an hour later than scheduled, with Sophia Latjuba, looking like a diva herself in a red dress, serving as emcee. Sophia was later joined by Normala Samsudin from Malaysia.

The first diva to perform was Krisdayanti, wearing white glittery pants and a sleeveless striped top.

Backed by the Elfa Secioria Orchestra, she kicked off the concert with Rembulan (Moon). Not bad, not bad at all. In fact, her voice is much better than Sheila's, who took the microphone next and sang Inikah Cinta (Is This Love), a song originally performed by the Indonesian group ME (now 9 Seasons).

Titi then took the stage and sang her old hit Salahkah Aku (Am I Wrong). Siti came next with Betapa Kucinta Padamu (How I Love You), looking pretty yet conservative in a long yellow dress. But what a voice this teenager has, she certainly can hit the high notes.

Next was a duet by Kuh and Fauziah, You, a song by Filipino singer Basil Valdez. Kuh, who starred in The Year of Living Dangerously with Mel Gibson, looked ravishing and she has a beautiful voice as well.

""I'm so happy to be here. Indonesians are so musical and talented and they have beautiful musical compositions,"" she said.

Fauziah, however, forgot her lyrics.

Vina then appeared, singing a medley of her old hits -- Cinta (Love), Di Dadaku Ada Kamu (You're In My Heart), Aku Melangkah Lagi (I'm Walking Again) and Surat Cinta (Love Letter).

She has gained a little weight, but the added kilos make her look more sexy.

It was a pleasure to see her back on stage singing her hits with her signature mixture of flirtation and humor.

The divas continued to take turns on stage and once in a while they performed a duet or a trio.

Vina and Sheila sang Vina's hit Biru (Blue), which Sheila covered on one of her albums.

""This is a dream come true for me. She's my idol. Mother, look, it's Vina!"" Sheila shouted to her mother in the front row.

Krisdayanti and Siti performed Krisdayanti's Menghitung Hari (Counting the Days). Siti sang so beautifully that Krisdayanti, after a costume change into a dress and long wig, appeared lacking in confidence.

Fauziah, Kuh and Titi sang That's What Friends Are For and Fauziah forgot her lyrics again.

The concert closed with all of the divas up on stage singing Antara Anyer dan Jakarta (Between Anyer and Jakarta) -- which was a hit for Sheila -- and Titi DJ's Ekspresi (Expression).

And who was the biggest diva of them all? My vote is split between Siti and Vina. Siti for her voice, her charisma, for making Krisdayanti feel insecure and for keeping her real name. And Vina for still being sexy after all these years.

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