Imogen Heap in the middle of singing "Bad Body Double". I think that guy might be her lover!
I had a pretty terrible day yesterday, in the way days in Jakarta can be, but all was redressed by the healing magic of one of my favorite musicians, Imogen Heap, who performed in Jakarta last night for the very first time. And I got to meet her!
I actually interviewed her over the phone for a lifestyle magazine a few weeks ago, and it went well enough (despite my nervousness, it being my first phone interview ever) that she said (perhaps only politely) that I should “come say hi” at the concert.
I didn’t count on it though. And the night didn’t bode well. Our lovely plans to have dinner at this Moroccan restaurant I’ve been longing to try were thwarted by Jakarta traffic (of course!), so after I grabbed tickets and my media kit (I was reviewing the event), we (friend Meli and baby sister Nadine) attempted to find an eaterie, and settled on this rather suspect looking place.
Just after had I ordered from the less than seductive menu I received a rather grumpy phone call from the newspaper photographer, who said I had taken HIS media pass. Yep, I did have two. I had not been informed a photographer would be sent – I had expected to take them myself. So I abandoned my impending dinner and walked back the two blocks to hand it to him.
The media frenzy was bigger than any I had seen so far at a concert in Jakarta, so I realized it was probably best I didn’t go back to eat, and stayed put. Cym, my former Features and Sunday paper boss was already at the venue anyway, having cleverly filled her stomach at the Moroccan restaurant Meli, Nadine and I had never made it to.
I chatted to Cym for awhile before being herded into the “media holding pen”, where we media types all waited aimlessly, phallic cameras in tow, until it was finally time to go into the concert – deliberately delayed by Imogen as she’d heard about the traffic – and for us to scrum in the “media pit”. I had preferred to sit in my front-row VIP seat I had actually shelled out for months ago (seeing as I don’t count on free tickets for events I definitely want to go to), but no, I HAD to be in the pit for the opening acts and the first three songs of Imogen’s set.
The pit was ok, but tiring. I was able to get closer pictures than I would have otherwise, although I failed to figure out how to get my newly acquired SLR to take decent shots in the dark, so pulled out my tiny blue point and click. I got pretty into snapping shots, especially of cool shoes, but was chastened when I got told off for having my flash on. Felt like such an amateur!
The first two acts were pretty good. There was Back Ted-N-Ted, a “disco pop rocker” from Arizona, who reminded me strongly of Alan Tudyk, and evidently got the hearts of the female journos around me racing.
Back Ted-N-Ted - Wash's younger brother?
He was followed by Tim Exile, a British experimental artist who did lots of running around and improv. Tim was really good fun, kind of like a a futuristic, supercool children’s entertainer, altho I initially had this sudden fear he was actually this guy I had an intense two-night-stand with, who threatened to either run off to India to discover himself or go into advertising. (And therefore, could possibly be accompanying Imogen Heap on a world tour.). But it definitely wasn’t.
Tim Exile in a rare static moment.
Tim Exile's amazing shoes.
Finally, it was time for Imogen to come in. I couldn’t wait for the three songs to be over, so I could chill in my seat, but luckily, the three songs were entrancing enough it didn’t feel like I was killing time.
After we were vamoosed from the pit I gleefully took my rightful place besides Meli, Cym and Nadine, and settled in to watch the show. Hands down, it was the best concert I have EVER been too. I know I throw the word EVER around a lot, but I truly mean it. It tops the time I successfully stalked Princess Diaries boy to the Camden Barfly, blissed out to his tunes and nabbed his phone number.
The stage looked absolutely magical – like a fairy glen – and the wonderfully dressed Miss Heap owned it, darting back and forth, and offering effortlessly witty quips between songs. I loved how she gave a little bit of the background before each one, which showed the personal process behind it, and how she seemed to really care how the audience was responding.
The magical fairy glade of a stage.
She had a seemingly endless array of unusual instruments that she taught us about as she went along, from this “water chords” thing that made “instant horror music” and a “snake” that made a whirly, whoopy sound as she spun it above her head. The thing is, she has a lot of props, but more importantly, she has the basics to back it up – a unique, powerful voice and mad piano skillz. I think every song that I wanted to be played was – I especially enjoyed “Goodnight and Go”, “Bad Body Double” and “Speeding Cars”.
Sadly the best close-up of Imogen I managed to take.
The concert went on for much longer than I expect – two hours (just Imogen, not the support) – and I was really looking forward to bed when it was done. But I thought about what Imogen had said… I realized that I probably should have put in the request to “come say hi” earlier, when I was dealing with the media coordinator… who knew if they’d even be sticking around afterwards?
Still, I decided to give it a shot, and talked to one of the backstage guys, who was quite dismissive and offputting, and quite forcefully told me that my media pass no longer had any more power. I threw around the full names of Imogen’s assistants, which probably helped, and mentioned the interview I had done.
Some other backstage person came forth and asked us if we were “the four people who had been invited backstage” and it was so tempting to say yes, but I said no, feebly repeating that “Imogen just said I should ‘come and say hi’”. He disappeared again, telling us to wait, and we did, suspecting it would be forever… then Tim Exile came wandering down.My sister had been especially dazzled by his performance, so I introduced myself and the rest of us across the barrier, and he came behind to talk to us.
We had a really fun conversation – I realized how much easier I find English men to talk to than say Indonesian, American or Australian – and at some point, I asked him if he could give Imogen the copy of the magazine with her interview in it. And he managed to get us backstage!!
Ooh look... BACKSTAGE!!
We promised to be all cool and stuff, which I think we were pretty much. We held off on requesting signatures and photos (after all, I had definitely abused her pretty shoes with my camera). Imogen was wonderfully warm and friendly, even poured us wine. The backstage was quite pleasant, they’d made it cosy with lots of refreshments, including cheesesand sushi. And we got to chat to Tim Exile some more, as well as Back Ted-N-Ted, who both plan to return to Jakarta. The Big Durian made a surprisingly good impression on them!
Imogen was predictably in demand, so sometimes we were just in the small refreshments room by ourselves, and when we drained our wine and decided to head off, I said made sure to say bye to Imogen, who was way up on the stage. I hoped simply for a wave back but she actually jumped off and gave us all huge hugs. I got two! We were all giddy in the car on the way back… it’s definitely a night to treasure.