THREE-TIME Grammy Award-winning R&B singer-songwriter Ne-Yo was nothing less than extraordinary during his much-awaited concert at the Plenary Hall, Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre on Jan 21. The 43-year-old artiste showed the breadth of his talent by fusing songs from his most recent album with compositions from earlier in his career.
The gates opened promptly at 7.30pm, and seats started to slowly fill up. While waiting for the concert to start, all of the fans were engaged in discussing how excited they were for the event. In the meantime, highly skilled DJ Hafiz from Mix FM entertained the crowd by having a brief talk about the singer’s hit songs. When Ne-Yo did eventually show up, it was a spectacular entrance complete with flashing strobe lights and a montage of the performer himself on a large screen at the rear of the stage.
Screams from the audience competed with the speakers as he launched into one of his biggest hits, Miss Independent, strutting about with a trilby hat pulled low over his face and a dazzling blue coat to match, performing alongside three beautiful back-up dancers.
He continued by singing She Knows, Because of You, and Champagne Life. These hit tracks, along with the star’s vivacious choreography – which was of course appropriately provocative – proved to be a crowd-pleaser right away and had the spectators cheering and singing along from the start.
The fact that Ne-Yo seemed to speak from the heart made the performance feel intimate even though there were a lot of people in the room. This was especially clear when he performed one of his most romantic tracks, Sexy Love, while addressing the crowd in a frantic cadence that swerved between tried-and-true appeals to “the ladies in the house”.
The most memorable point of the night came when Ne-Yo sang what was undoubtedly his biggest fan favourite, So Sick. The fans all pulled out their smartphones and turned on their lights, creating such a beautiful visual atmosphere. They also sung along enthusiastically with the emotive hit.
Ne-Yo was extremely overwhelmed by the audience response and thanked everyone for singing along to the song, which is almost 16 years old, meaning that his loyal fans have been bopping to his music for a very long time.
While the singer’s R&B megahits like So Sick and Mad were the night’s more poignant tunes, his party tracks like Closer and Beautiful Monster transformed the venue into a club. The live band was able to raise the tempo while maintaining the original R&B tones.
The singer also took the opportunity to identify which of his tracks were “classic classics” or “future classics”, the latter of which consisted of releases from his latest album Self-Explanatory such as Handle Me Gently and U 2 Luv.
The skilled musician also dazzled the audience with a few covers, including breath-taking renditions of Mario’s Let Me Love You, Beyonce’s Irreplaceable, and Rihanna’s Take a bow. He had been handling all the shifts in musical genres excellently prior to this, but his vocal prowess was especially chill-inducing during this part of the performance.
And just when we thought the event was over, he delivered an encore of his some of his most iconic dance collaborations with artistes like Pitbull and David Guetta, including a thrilling performance of Let’s Go, Play Hard, and Give Me Everything, before calling an end to the night. He thanked everyone for coming and left the stage to wild cheers.
Ne-Yo delivered his all during his performance, and his enthusiasm was evident throughout the whole evening as he never once stopped dancing or singing. It was fantastic to see so many dedicated fans with grins on their faces among the audience, having the best time of their life. It wa truly a memorable night!
Thanks to sponsor Mola and concert organisers Hitman Solutions and Happymoon for making this happen!