I’m an eighties kid. I was born in that decade. And growing up, people around me would listen to the music on the radio. There would be a powerful voice singing the some of the most popular songs on air. That voice is none other than Jacky Cheung’s and he was easily the most popular Chinese singer around.
It is pretty safe to say that Jacky Cheung is a name well-known in every Chinese community in the world. His voice has captured the attention of countless audiences the everywhere and in this world tour, it was no exception.
The Indoor Stadium was packed to the brim. The atmosphere built up with the audiences’ anticipation with every passing second. Everyone was eagerly awaiting the appearance of Jackie Cheung on stage. Sure enough, the crowd cheered as the dancers appeared to perform to the overture. Then he appeared…
…and he kicked off his concerts with a medley of sexy, sensual, high energy dance songs. He danced and sang non-stop with amazing vigour as the ecstatic audience cheered him on. It is hard to believe that the man on stage is already 46 years old and outdoing people 20 years younger.
The medley of dance songs ended with some stage pyrotechnics. Then he began chatting with the audience. This was the 92nd concert in his world tour and he admitted that it was hard work to be dancing and singing at his age. Knowing how to please his fans, he runs through his repertoire for the night. It would be impossible to perform all his hits in this concert, (it would probably last for at least 8 hours if it were to include everything) so a number of his classic hits in Mandarin and Cantonese were selected. There would also be less of his newer songs as audiences in his previous concerts had lukewarm reactions. There would also be songs from his musicals, “Snow Wolf Lake” and the more recent “Perhaps, Love”.
Jacky Cheung is perhaps best remembered for his sentimental love songs. It was common (and probably still is) to serenade girlfriends and wives with his songs. While most would probably suck at the difficult vocals, the green faces and/or constipated look (out of breath from singing) tend to convince the serenaded ones that they mean every word in the lyrics.
Despite singing for 23 years and a throat complication a few years back, his vocals remains strong and robust yet extremely versatile. In this concert, he effectively displays his showmanship, performing songs of vastly different genres, from sentimental love songs to rock to dance and musicals. He truly lived up to the title: “God of Songs”.
Referring to the rock-styled pieces performed, he reasoned that it was one rare channel where he could transform into something more animalistic, and thus the screaming during some of the pieces. While he explained that he doesn’t behave that way usually, he engaged the audiences in a brief screaming match to encourage the behaviour within the Indoor Stadium at his concert.
In this concert, Jacky would also share his with the audience his personal life. In fact, the concert could be considered as his autobiography. In his 23 year career, he has released over 70 albums, sung over 1000 songs and won about 300 awards. Yet his greatest pride and joy is his family. Behind all the glitz and glamour belies a humble family man. And he shared a little embarrassingly that despite having sang so many songs, he hardly had any songs specially dedicated to his wife and daughters. So in a recent album, he had a song written each for his daughter and wife. He joked that he was somewhat disappointed by his wife’s “not bad” statement as he had expected a bit of tears in her reaction.
He also shared snippets about his childhood. He lived in a large family where all the men were sailors. They only returned every three years. He joked that he only knew the difference between a man and a woman when he was three because that was when his mum introduced him to his father! He also shared that he got seasick, which was why he never followed the traditional sailor’s path of the men in his family. That would have been a blessing in disguise.
Relating how he entered the entertainment industry, re-enacted the singing competition which he participated in and won. It was no doubt his life altering moment which he shared in the most vivid and animated manner.
True to his observation from previous concerts, the audience reaction was lukewarm during some of his songs. They seem to only react in a more appreciative manner when he sang his more familiar songs. They cheered and sang along.
With a quick change of costumes, the concert progressed to the section where he performed songs from his musicals, “Snow Wolf Lake” and “Perhaps, Love”. On stage, Jacky Cheung and his dancers played out the excerpts for each song performed. It was a unique and more stylised presentation which joined the songs of two different musicals together. If my memory serves me, “Snow Wolf Lake” was the first Cantonese and Mandarin musical ever produced.
Once the musical songs were over, Jackie left the stage for another costume change for the encore. The thunderous applause beckoned him back to stage where he would the last series of songs for the night. Encores must have been an idea stemming from Singapore’s kiasu mentality, must always get more from a concert. Performing more classic hits, he got the ever ecstatic audience to their feet. The crowd went wild and the live cameras recorded every instance of fans waving their hands and light batons while singing along to his songs.
As Jacky Cheung introduced his last song for the night, audience gave their most appreciative cheer. While it was sad that this concert had to come to an end, they were probably also extremely appreciative of the he had made Singapore one of his world tour’s stops.
In retrospect, compared to other concerts, Jacky Cheung hardly did the mic-to-the-audience-partly-because-I-forgot-the-lyrics trick. It is no doubt that he continually works hard to produce quality works and performances. This three and a half hour concert was a fantastic visual spectacle and absolute audial enjoyment. The set, lighting, sound and pyrotechnics all synchronised perfectly with Jacky Cheung’s flawless vocals and showmanship. The concert was definitely worth every cent.One thing’s for sure, I feel more complete as a Chinese having watched Jacky Cheung live in concert.