Michael did on New Year's Eve 1999 a concert in Kuala Lumpur/Malaysia. He was accompanied by Opera singer Gilian Humphreys and the Italian Symphonic Orchestra, that was conducted by Callum McLeod. The concert was shown live on Malaysian TV and more than 100,000 people were in the audience that evening. Here is a short summary of what went on that night.
The TV-coverage started with a short introduction that showed Michael arriving in Malaysia and doing a press conference and just interviewing him about the show. Here is what he said there:
"There's a cross-section of music that I think will appeal to everyone."
"To make it pan-generational, so you don't exclude anyone from any part of the family"
"A walk round and I mean the whole area, the street and the new complex are just beautiful. I mean they are really beautifully designed, so clean."
"The Malaysian players are quite definately wort standing."
"It looks magnificent. The setting is extraordinary, but with the Grecian pillars that whole Millennium idea: it's really special."
"This is the dawn of a new time. Why not, you know, just celebrate, showing our love to each other?"
"I think it's gonna be an incredible show!"
"We're gonna make history!"
The show starts with a big drum-roll and you hear those famous words "Michael Ball" and he appears in a white suit and a black tie and black shirt. The moment you already wonder, if that is going to be a hot night for Michael and I mean hot. When you had a look at the audience they are all dressed for mid summer and temperatures around 30 ° C and most of them even have fans (not those fans :-)). So it seems to get a really hot and wet evening and it is.
Michael starts off with the always great "Don't rain on my parade" . Just the right intro for a nice hour full of musical songs and full of Michael. After the first song Michael said: "Thank you so much. What a treat for us to be here. So this is a perfect but true song. One about a man who had a dream. From Joseph and his amazing technicolour dreamcoat. As some of you may know it and if you do, join in with me. You can be in the chorus." Of course "Any dream will do" follows
"It really is a dream for all of us here from overseas to eb with you tonight, to spend a special evening and tonight's concert si all about love and one of the first shows I ever appeared in West End, one of the most successful shows of all time is all about love. All kinds of love. A love between a man and a woman, a love for a man for his country, for his higher power, for his brother, for his sister. There are two songs from one of the greatest shows that I think has ever been written: Les Misérables!"
He starts with singing "I dreamed a dream" and afterwards announced "Empty chairs at empty tables" with the following words: "A beautiful song. The next, it's the song that I sung in Les Misérables. I played the character called Marius, a young student who met with his friends in a Café where they plan to make the world a better place. And I am sure all of us here at this special night are missing friends, missing families. Marius's story, he is at a Café where he used to meet with his friends at this time he is on his own. All his friends were killed for what they believed in. This is Empty chairs at empty tables."
When he starts to sing the song, cheering all around. After he has finished he leaves the stage and the flute player Andrea Griminelli plays "Lagenda". When he finished you hear the first notes of "My heart will go on" and Michael rejoins the others on stage and starts to sing.
After a break Michael reappears on stage, saying "I am sure you all recognise this song." . He sings "All I ask of you" together with Gilian Humphreys as beautiful as ever. Michael changed his clothes and is now dressed completely in black. He wears the coat he already wore in the Andrew Lloyd Webber Celebration and looks just terrific.
In the meantime the hot and very humid weather is working quite a bit on Michael, as his haris is almost completely wet and he is sweating quite a bit, but as I said, the complete audience is rather dressed in T-shirts than in suits.
He then goes on: "Because we are running a bit late, we had to cut a number of things from this programme, so we are gonna be in time for the Millennium. We don't wanna be late, not for this. So I think we are gonna have a bit of fun with the next song. You're ready for this? I think we need to have a bit of fun. And I was always told, when I want to have something in this world you know what I have to do? Just help myself. Come on!" And he starts to sing "Just help yourself" which really brings the whole audience to a good party mood and most people start dancing with him.
"Do we have time for one more?" Of course there is Michael. "With this song I had the good fortune to get to No. 1 in the UK charts. From an album and a musical called Aspects of Love. And we look to the world today and we see that there is a positive change going on. Look around us here. We are all here together, we've made it virtually to the year 2000. And we've made it because love changes everything." And to much appreciation of the audience he starts with Love changes everything!
For "You'll never walk alone" Michael is again accompanied by Gilian Humphreys. Together they give a beautiful rendition of the song. The audience is celebrating them and the show is interrupted for a speech. Afterwards Michael and Gilian sing together the very beautiful song "My Prayer" which I personally have never heard before, but I would love him to sing it again. It was really great. Directly after the song the countdown for the new Millennium starts and that's the end of the show. Michael lead the whole audience just nicely into the next Millennium and I would have loved to change places with just one of them. I could not think of a nicer way to enter the new Millennium than with Michael singing to you.