Instructor: Carl Waluconis
My Inspirational Rhapsody
My eyes were fixated upon the screen when I saw Ms. Mariah Carey belting out the song "Hero" seven years ago. Watching this amazing performer who has sold more than hundred and thirty millions albums worldwide and sixteen number one hits was truly mesmerizing. She was wearing a black nightgown that touched the ground, and sporting long and brown curly hair, her elegant style and beautiful smiles really got to me. I did not have any clues of who she was or the lyrics of her song. I just loved her high-pitched vocal, and the way she waved her hand, truly elegant I think.
As time went by, I started to read articles about her ability to bring the audience into her songs; I started to think that a Mariah Carey album might be worth the try. So I bought her album, she was smiling on the cover of her "Music Box" album, a close up picture that captured a certain eloquence and class. I put the tape in and pressed play, and from there I was hooked, badly.
I went on collecting all of her albums, singles, bootlegs, and making her life a part of mine. Going through my pubescent life, sadness, anger, and happiness. I always turned myself to her songs and found inner strength that kept me out of trouble through my teenage years. When she was happy, so was I. Years went on and still I am happy and always contented with each and every album she has released. But there was a certain dissapointment that was bugging me; I had never been to one of her live concerts. How can I, as a fan never have been to her concert, I asked myself?
I finished my high school around February and received my diploma, to my surprise; she was having a concert in Singapore. I was disheartened again, how in the world could I persuade my mom to let me go to her concert? It would cost her a fortune I thought. I carried this question upon my chest all the time. Until one night when I finally became sick of this, and I went forward to her and asked "Mom, since I am graduating with flying colors, why don’t you let me go and watch her concert in Singapore?" I was prepared to be disappointed at that time. But out of nowhere a ‘YES’ as a reply slapped me hard. I could hardly believe it. This was a dream come true. I smiled and thanked my mom for her generosity. I was shattered at that moment, I wanted to scream out loud, but I was beyond that. Quickly gathering my composure, I walked out of the room and smiled, the ground is paved with cloud, and the sweet smell of spring was in the air.
The obstacle of obtaining a good seat was clearly ahead of me, and I had to decide how to even get a ticket to the concert. Thankfully, with the circle of friends that I had nurtured all these years, I had enough connections to get my hands on the ticket. It cost me around 260 Singapore Dollars. It was really expensive at the time, but with strong determination, and ignoring my grudges with the price, I went along and cashed in all the money I had. There goes my poor piggy bank.
I was clueless when it comes to obtaining a ticket, because I didn’t even know about shopping through the Internet, and obviously the convenience of TicketMaster was absent in my case. It took me almost a week to get my hand on that ticket; the monopolized system is evident here. United Overseas Bank had the first privilege to pre-sell the tickets for their credit card holders. I was in despair when I heard that, but an angel performed a miracle through my friend Rini, a cute girl with rosy cheek and shoulder length hair. An email from her finally broke me down in happiness. In my wildest dreams, I never even dared to dream about watching her concert.
I planned my trip, and cut costs wherever it is possible. The journey will start from Medan (my hometown) to Malaysia by taking a cruise line ship, and from Malaysia I would take a bus trip to Singapore. The journey plan is already prepared. Now, I was holding to my excitement, and despite closing my eyes, I was barely sleeping.
The next day, I was in the ship already, and the calendar said it is 10 March 2000. It took me about five to six hours for the horrible trip to Malaysia. I had been seasick and the wave did not help much either. The wave of the blue water keeps hitting the boat, and I felt a little shaky and nauseous. The sun was shining brightly and the air was humid, but I did not care.
Finally the ship reached the port of Malaysia; there was urgency for me to get down from the boat. Without looking back at the nasty boat, I walked away from the port and stayed in the cheapest motel I could find. My body was aching, begging me to rest. I slept that night, with exasperation, but I did so anyway happy in the knowledge that I was already completed half of the journey. I close my eyes peacefully.
Next morning, I hop on the bus. The calendar whispered to me that it was already 9:00 AM and the date was 11 March 2000. The bus trip was fairly comfortable and I slept through the journey accompanied by her voice. It took me 7 hours to finally reach Singapore, a small country, with an impressive transport system and flawless highways.
I stay at Rini’s place that night, and she was happy that we finally meet again. She transferred from my high school to Singapore as an overseas exchange student. And I was truly delighted, having a friend as helpful as her really makes me feel grateful. We were chatting all night; we talked about friends, experiences, happiness, and sadness, practically everything that I had in mind. And I showed my gratitude; I bought a couple things as presents for her. She smiled and said I did not have to do all this. But this was all I must do in order for me to feel good about myself.
At night, before I went to bed, I stared at my ticket again, it read
UNITED OVERSEAS BANK
RAINBOW TOUR – ONE NIGHT ONLY
NATIONAL STADIUM – 13 MARCH 2000, 8:00 PM
BLOCK A6 ROW 5 SEAT 1
Next afternoon, the feeling finally sank in me. The sky was dark and thunder was all over the place as if it was going to rain. I arrived in the National Stadium of Singapore around 4:30 pm. The day was young, but I did not have enough patience to wait until 7:00. So I walked forward bravely to the hundreds and thousands of acres of arena.
This was really happening, I was on my way to meet with someone whom I have been devoting my life to. The feeling was exuberant, and I bet I would come out the arena smiling and raving about her. I brought no camera with me since the law forbids all the audience to bring any camera, video camera, or tape recorder. I found my seat and I had a pretty good view of the stage.
By 8:00 pm there were almost 30,000 thousand die-hard fans gathered in that dome. I felt as though my anxiety and my disbelief was running through my veins as I sat there waiting. The was no opening act in that show, instead, Louis Miguel tape played continuously for three hours before the concert started.
By the time my watch struck 8:30 pm, suddenly all the lights were dimmed and the songs stopped. All the audience went crazy and screamed their lungs out. I carefully anticipated her presence, but she was not there. Apparently, she came through the back entrance, and every pair of eyes was staring at her as if she was the Second Coming. In the company of six bodyguards, she made her way to the main stage. Somehow I felt that she was smiling at me. What wishful thinking.
She started her concert with her tremendous five octaves song titled "Emotion." She sounded just as great as on her record. I was so overwhelmed by this amazing feeling. I felt like it was played in slow motion, I completely forgot about everything, there was no one around, just Mariah and me.
I was in my seat trying to remember every single moment in my head, trying desperately not to miss anything, in case I suddenly ‘woke up’. She belted her song with ease, hitting every high note in grace. Her outfit was perfect, showcasing her elegance while representing her glamorous lifestyle.
The encore was my all-time favorite songs that had changed my perception of life. It is appropriately titled "Hero". I rushed to the nearest fence, since I know that she would come down from the stage and shake the hand of her audiences. I can still remember what she said about this song, "I wrote this song during the beginning of my career and it has a whole new meaning for me now. It is about how to cope with our life problems with our inner strength, and I have been going through this all for this past couple years. I have to struggle and so do you. I know you can do it and also do not ever forget to believe in yourself. This is for you." All those magic words just sort of echoed in my mind searching for ground to land upon, but it did not.
As she paraded down the stage, my body began to grow weak and it started to shake. I kept on screaming at the top of my lungs and put my hand out trying to reach her and get her attention. She cheered all her die-hard fans on the right hand side of the stage and then she walked to the left hand side where I was located. As she got closer to me, my body grew immensely weak. It is like having an unexplained euphoria. Every single emotion that I have known at that moment was washed out of my veins.
She was just a few meters away from me and I spotted her smiling at me. I must have stopped breathing that moment, her smile was about to make me drop dead right then and there. I tried to reach for her but I was unable to. The crowded sea of ‘lambs’ was drowning me. Just a few seconds before she ended the songs, a massive amount of glittering papers were dropped from the top the dome as a sign that the show was over. I felt as if it was snow in Christmas, but that was the indication that the show was over.
Many fans including me kept shouting "we want more, we want more." Surely Mariah had to say goodbye since it will never be enough for all her ‘lambs’.
While part of the audience was leaving the stadium, I stuck together with some of the fans on the first two rows and formed a choir and sang her song out loud. This was a little bit surreal for me and it was actually the greatest night in my life. I could not stop singing all my way home. It was simply those la-la-la types of tunes, and I thought I needed someone to punch me to shut me up. That night, my every wish and every dream somehow became reality.