I had a lovely time last night. A friend treated me to this Mother’s Day concert. In my Coursera Course on Behavioural economics, I was taught that an ideal gift is one that takes away ‘the pain of paying’ for the recipient. So last night was an ideal Mother’s Day gift for me.
We were seated right at the far end of the cavernous hall of Compass Ballroom at RWS. I didn’t mind as even thought I had paid good money previously to watch concerts there, I ultimately always ended up watching the screen instead of seeing the performer. So watching the screen last night for free was good enough for me.
The audience last night was a different demography than one that I am used to. On my right was a couple in their sixties cuddling under the wife’s shawl. So loving, I thought. On our left was a pair of ladies with a mop of white hair. I envision my companion and I watching another concert in a decade or so in that state. The atmosphere last night was just heart-warming. Other than elderly couples and pairs of friends, there were many young people who had accompanied their mothers/fathers to the concert. I watched as a man in front led his mother to the toilet in the dark mid-way during the concert. His hunky silhouette contrasted with his stoop and fragile mother and this image made this man look especially attractive to me, even though I can’t see his face. A young usher took an elderly lady’s arm and shone his torch in front for her, escorted her back to her seat when she returned from the restroom, while her son strolled ahead. This was obviously no ordinary concert, with tonkat and wheelchairs aplenty and the audience were mostly silver-haired. Touted as a Mother’s Day concert, it was indeed the case.
Fei started the concert quite punctually. He walked onto the stage without fanfare in his grey suit and tie and immediately sang 綠島小夜曲. Graphic scenes of palm trees swaying in the backdrop created the mood for the song. I must say, whoever who designed the backdrop graphic cinematic really did a good job. It was entertaining to watch the changing scene accompanied by Fei’s honey-soothed voice.
Fei’s songs were all oldies and he made no apologies about it. To him, oldies are the calling of time 时间的呼唤, of nostalgia and that’s what made them so attractive. Chinese oldies have beautiful tunes and meaning lyrics that express every day love and emotions, unlike modern songs.
He divided his songs into different genres. The first group was about nature (flowers, moon, islands, can you guess the titles?). The next was about love, and then the samba beats, Hokkien songs, Cantonese songs, current hot favourites which he was told are called God’s song 神曲, ubiquitous everywhere in Taiwan (没那么简单 was last year’s.) He had a stand next to him with a sheaf of papers and a glass of water. You would think he was a news reader as he shifted through the papers for lyrics, songs and jokes.
What is Fei’s concert without jokes? In his husky speaking voice and straight face, he explained that he can get away with telling ‘coloured’ jokes (sexual implication) because of the gentlemanly persona he exudes. And he was really funny, whether bantering with the audience, telling jokes or imitating other singers. (And I thought he was the most widely imitated singer on TV!)
Accompanied on stage last night were the champions of Taiwan’s ballroom dancing. The couple provided good visual for the eyes together with Fei’s songs, since he hardly moved. My companion had described his singing style to me as singing to the sky (对天唱歌) and she was right. His gaze was raised upwards whenever he sang, regardless of the song.
Fei’s tenor voice made him versatile in his song’s choice and he sang songs from every famous Chinese pop singers in the 60s to the 90s, men and women. I like his rendition of 囚鸟 (by Peng ling 彭羚). The only few of his own songs were 一剪梅 and two songs from his new albums. When Mike asked if Fei sang this and that and I shook my head, he was bewildered. Still I didn’t miss them, even if I had hoped he would sing 千里之外 which he didn’t.
We really enjoyed the 2.5 hours non-stop singing concert. All Fei had the whole night was constant sips of water to carry him through, with no guest artists and no costume change. We were amazed, especially my friend who is a teacher. For she knows what a strain it is to use your voice for 2.5 hours.
Next year, I shall bring my parents-in-law along.