I don’t know how I ended up buying tickets to this concert, most of the singers whom I don’t know, except for Zhang Hong Liang 張洪量, whose song 你知道我在等你嗎 I have attempted a few times at KTV. The rest of the singers, Zhao Chuan赵传, Zhou Zhi Ping 周治平, Tai Zheng Xiao 邰正宵 and guest artiste Pan Yue Yun 潘越云 I am not so familiar with. I think it was my sister-in-law (SIL) who first suggested and I decided to test the water with my group of concert kakis. Surprisingly, all said yes, and yes to the cheapest ticket. We are just listening to them, no need to buy so close was the general consensus. I understood perfectly. This was not the first time we have purchased the cheapest concert tickets just to 听歌 (listen to songs) as we had done it numerous time.
So, I went online to purchase, not the cheapest tickets, but the second cheapest tickets for 10 of us, as the cheapest was really way at the back on circle 3. The second cheapest was at least in the from of circle 3.
On Saturday night, all of us arrived at Star Theatre at various time despite the fact that I said we should meet at 7.30pm. The first couple came and I gave them the tickets to enter first the theatre. The second group arrived and as we were chatting, the first couple telephoned and said they were being relocated to the lower level and we may be separated. So good? So it was true about the poor ticket sales that even on that day, the radio was still advertising it. I gave the second group all the tickets and made them go up to change all while I wait for the rest. They went up and said unfortunately, everyone has to be present to enter to change tickets. Luckily by then, all had arrived and we rushed upstairs, queued, and managed to change our seats from ‘level ten to level seven’. My friend gave the ticketer a bigger smile and asked, ‘Any lower levels?’ He pointed to the tickets and said he had given us ‘Level six’.
Gleefully, we went down the escalator and was ecstatic to find ourselves in the stall, among the most expensive tickets. I turned to search for my couple friends, who waved from the last row. We all laughed gleefully from schadenfreude (meaning: pleasure derived by someone from another person’s misfortune.)
The first singer who sang was Zhou Zhi Ping 周治平. His friendly banter put the audience at ease as he lamented his songs were going to get older and older. My friends commented how ‘old’ he looked now. I never knew his younger look so it didn’t matter. What was good was he smooth delivery of four songs, all of them sounded familiar, especially 《那一场风花雪月的事》.
The next singer Tai Zheng Xiao 邰正宵 came on to sing a duet with him and we could hear the glaring difference in singing ability between the two. Tai Zheng Xiao 邰正宵 proved to be the weakest link among the singers, but the most youthful looking and one that has the most fans screaming in the audience, which goes to prove that the popularity of a singer may not be his singing talent but his looks. His Cantonese accented mandarin was obvious when he spoke. Among my friends, they were waiting for his 九佰九拾九朵玫瑰 (999 roses). He sang out of tune almost all his songs.
Zhang Hong Liang 張洪量appeared next and although he sang much better, at times, he appeared hoarse and out of breath. My friend P turned to me and commented, ‘smoked too much.’ He was the friendliest of the lot, and came down to the audience to shake hands and take photos, with the security personnel forming a close circle around him. Please lah, haven’t they observed the demography of the audience? What do you think the middle-aged audience would do? In fact, other than a few who went up to him for photos, most remained on seat and meekly shook his hands. I was waiting for his 你知道我在等你嗎 (Do you know I am waiting for you?) He mentioned that he had not been in public as he wanted to watch his children grow up instead of touring. Now that they are grown, he is singing again and will have a new CD out soon. His parting song was sang with 潘越云, a song my brother loves, 廣島之戀.
It’s always a pleasure to hear 潘越云 sings live, this being my second time. Her powerful voice soared with the high notes, clear and sharp. Her dressing though could be improved. With long jet black hair and long black sleeveless gown displaying thick arms, she resembled a witch. I know, I am not being nice.
The last act, Zhao Chuan赵传, was the helm of this concert. He had many more songs than his compatriots, but what was disappointing was that as he had a concert in Singapore last year, he didn’t want to repeat his popular songs, like 我是一只小小鸟 (I am a little bird) and thus some of his songs were not familiar to me, at least. Midway, there was a technical problem with the amplifier and he apologised, for which the audience suggested he 清唱, and he obliged with 深海, a beautiful piece he sang without accompaniment, which the band gradually joined in. Of course he sang 我很醜可是我很溫柔 (I am ugly but affectionate) but instead of the self-deprecating way that we are familiar with, he gave it a jazzy beat, as if to humour himself. We all prefer his original version though, which shows his sincerity.
At the end of the concert, which ended as soon as 赵传bid farewell (middle-aged audience has no concept of encore. I know, having attended a few already!), we all made our way out of the theatre, satisfied with the unexpected turn of good fortune and the beautiful songs we heard. My brother said it was a good concert, for which my SIL chided him that he had at first been reluctant to come.
It was indeed a wonderful night spent among love ones amidst love songs.