August 18, 2023
JAKARTA – Indonesian rock band Slank broke the national record for the highest-altitude musical performance on Wednesday with a concert next to a decommissioned open-pit copper mine at the Grasberg site in central Papua.
The performance, 4,285 meters above sea level, was part of an Independence Day celebration organized by PT Freeport Indonesia (PT FI), which operates the Grasberg mine and is majority-owned by the government.
The band performed a number of its hits, including “Terlalu Manis”, “Balikin” and “Orkes Sakit Hati”, as well patriotic tunes “Garuda Pancasila” and “Indonesia Tanah Air Beta”, in front of miners on break from their work in an underground mine below the Grasberg open pit.
Slank’s road crew provided supplemental oxygen masks for drummer Bimo Setiawan Almachzumi, better known as Bimbim, and bass player Ivan “Ivanka” Kurniawan Arifin, as a precaution against altitude sickness.
And with the temperature at the site at 8 degrees Celsius, the band performed in a temperature-controlled structure built specifically for the concert.
Lead singer Akhadi “Kaka” Wira Satriaji, who declined to use a breathing aid during the performance, led a singalong with the crowd, engaged in stage banter and hit the high notes during a rendition of “We Will Rock You” performed with PT FI CEO Tony Wenas. Tony was a keyboardist in the 1980s progressive pop band Simfoni, which he founded with pop singer and composer Fariz R.M.
“It’s an honor for us to perform for this Independence Day celebration because this year we also celebrated the 40th anniversary of our career in music,” Kaka told the crowd.
Slank, one of the best-selling rock bands in the country, was founded when Kaka, Bimbim and original guitarist Parlin “Pay” Siburian begun jamming to Rolling Stones tunes under the name Cikini Stones Complex in 1983.
To bring the performance to one of the highest points in Papua, from which the crowd could see the snow cap at the Cartenz summit, PT FI spent two months working through logistical challenges.
These included shipping Slank’s equipment from Jakarta to a PT FI port in Mimika, Central Papua, a process that took two weeks, before transporting the gear in a shipping container up to the highlands.
For the past few years, PT FI has organized musical concerts in its mining and production facilities.
Last year, the company held a concert headlined by blues singer Sandy Sandhoro in its underground mine, billed as the deepest-ever concert in Indonesia.
Earlier this year, in celebration of PT FI’s 55th anniversary, the company hosted a performance by rock band Gigi.
“Without a doubt, Slank is one of the most legendary bands in the country, and I also happen to know them well personally, so it was easy for me to bring them here,” Tony said regarding why he had chosen Slank for the record-breaking performance.