How often could we see Stevie Wonder in a live show? We could see him as much as we want through DVDs, listen to him through his recordings, but unless you live in the other part of the globe or willing to go far to watch his gig, it’d all be impossible. The Java Festival Production had tried to invite him for many years, from one edition to another. Finally it happened. Many people were shocked when Peter Gontha announced the final confirmation of Stevie Wonder for the first time through his twitter account.
When the ticket for Stevie Wonder started to open exactly at midnight (January 20, 2012), the tickets with opening early bird price of IDR 350.000 were sold out in just minutes. The ticket price went up slowly, but they all still got sold out quickly. Well, there’s no surprise at all, it’s the one and only Mr Stevie Wonder.
Born by the name Stevland Hardaway Morris, this multitalented American singer-songwriter, multiinstrumentalist and record producer is one of the most legendary musician. Stevie Wonder, his stage-name has became a wonder-phenomena behind his physical disability. He got signed by Motown Records since the age of eleven, and still continuing his career until now with 22 Grammy Awards winning including Grammy Lifetime Achievement Awards, and over 30 US Top 10 Hits.
It’s true that this soul man with a very unique vocal and singing style has been singing all kinds of songs in wide variety. But interestingly he actually began with jazz. His first record, “The Jazz Soul of Little Stevie”, Stevie Wonder showed his capability in singing jazz when he was still twelve years old. In the age of 13 he already had a major hit, “Fingertips (Pt.2)” and collaborated with famous artists such as Marvin Gaye. Continued with another huge hits in the late 70s, from “For Once In My Life” to “Signed, Sealed, Delivered, I”m Yours”. The success went on from the 70s to late 80s with another classic albums such as “Talking Book”, “Songs In The Key Of Life” and singles/hits such as “Superstition”, “You Are The Sunshine Of My Life”, “Sir Duke”, “I Wish”, “For Once in My Life”, “Higher Ground”, “Living for the City”, “Don’t You Worry ’bout a Thing (popularized again big time by Incognito), “Pastime Paradise” (used by Coolio for his “Gangsta’s Paradise), “Isn”t She Lovely”, “You And I”, “Lately”, and “Overjoyed”. Again, time to time we find his jazzy touch over the Motown’s soul.
Many unforgettable hits, but perhaps the most famous hit of him is “I Just Called To Say I Love You” from the romcom The Woman In Red OST, which not only became #1 hit on charts all over the world, but also won an Academy Award for Best Original Song in 1985. Almost all of those hits are still covered over and over by many musicians from various genres until now. His other soundtrack works including “Stay Gold” from the Francis Ford Coppola”s “The Outsiders”, “These Three Words” from the Spike Lee’s “Jungle Fever” and the song “It”s You” which sang in a duet with Dionne Warwick (also from “The Woman In Red”). The song “Happy Birthday”, which’s still used in many birthday”s anthem until now, originally written for Dr. Martin Luther King’s birthday campaign as a national day in 1980, and “Ebony and Ivory” (duet with Paul McCartney) was also marked his spirit as an human and peace activist.
Later on, Stevie Wonder was also collaborated with many great artist such as Michael Jackson, Julio Iglesias, USA For Africa”s “We Are The World” and the AIDS-inspired charity song, “That”s What Friends Are For”. It”s been over 20 years since his 1989’s show in Indonesia, but now here he’s again.
So many people queued long before the gate was opened. All of those patience are paid off when he stole the audience’s attention with the compilation of the track such as “How Sweet It Is”, “You and I”, “Overjoyed”, “I Just Called To Say I Love You”, “The Way You Make Me Feel” , “I’m Every Woman”, “For Once in My Life”, “Don’t You Worry Bout A Thing”, “My Cherie Amour” and “Superstition”. Stevie looked as always, trying to cheer everybody’s mind up with sing along together with all his masterpiece and follow him scatting some words accompanied by his piano playing. One thing that we should note, Stevie Wonder’s daughter Aisha Morris was spotted within the backing vocals and they did a duet nicely.
Stevie Wonder is simply the biggest highlight of this year”s festival, and could be the greatest ever. There were too many moments to remember during the show, but for us it’s truly a blessing to be able to cover his very special show. Imagine watching Stevie live on stage for almost 3 hours. What a joy! One interesting fact: he didn’t even sip any drink at all during the show. How could he do that, we don’t know, but we do know he’s a wonder. Thank you Java Jazz Festival for inviting him here, and thank you Stevie for giving us such an unforgettable concert. May you be back again in the near future.
See more pictures:
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Team on duty:
Reporter: Riandy Kurniawan, Ata Michaella, Mellysa Anastasya, Ghea Sagita, Bintang S Tania, Fardhani Ramadhana, Daniel Irawan, Vierna Mariska, Muhammad Fadhly
Photographer: Omar Arif Maulana, I Putu Surya KB, Praditya Nova, Dwi Ratri Utomo, Febrian Dirga, Bayu P Warjiyo