Monday, August 27, 2007

Report from the Jacky Cheung concert

Normally, this post would start with pictures, but they were so strict about people taking pictures at the concert that I'll just have to avoid posting any to avoid any possible legal action.

Because it's getting late, so I'll just write this post in the following format:

3 best things about the Jacky Cheung concert:

1) The singing - why else would you go to a Jacky Cheung concert? The dancing? Actually, that was pretty good too.

2) The hybrid musical of Snow Wolf Lake and Perhaps Love - Don't worry, it's not a spoiler, he tells you the first chance he gets that he's doing it, and it's been all over the Hong Kong papers. This is basically a 30-minute musical that blends songs from the stage and film musicals. It's a great idea to incorporate the Perhaps Love songs because he gives the film so much energy with his voice alone, so watching him do those songs live was quite amazing. Plus, the idea of a mini-musical within a concert just shows how much thought Jacky put into the this concert.

3) Stage design - the organizers decided to give away less seats (9000 instead of the usual 12,000) for a three-sided stage that makes the Hong Kong Coliseum look even smaller. The show felt very intimate, and this way, Jacky got to face all of his audiences. However....

3 worst things about the Jacky Cheung concert:

1) The audience - where to start? The average age of the audience was on the middle-age side: around 30-50, and apparently that generation has never heard of clapping. There were some very enthusiastic audience towards the second half, but the people around me just flat out didn't react. Some people even just spent their time watching the monitor, even when the man is within 50 feet of them, just to see how pretty his makeup is up close. Why don't they just save some cash for the DVD and give the tickets to those that really need it? Did someone point a gun at them and said "go watch Jacky Cheung sing or I'll shoot you?" And this audience was realistic as hell - as soon as Jacky gets to a song they don't know, they rush to the bathroom in droves. This was especially obvious during the transition to the mini-musical, when it seemed like at least a hundred people moving around the Coliseum. Then people started to file out before the 45-minute encore section started (the concert started at 8:20 and ended at 11:30, which might be bad for a weeknight), and half the place started emptying before Jacky even left the stage. He had this "oh, well, I'm used to this shit" expression on his face, but I couldn't help but feel sorry for him. Now I know why first shows and last shows sell out so quickly - first shows are for real devoted fans, and last show is to go overtime with songs everyone wants to hear, making everyone happy. My show was right in the middle of the tour, and I picked this date for personal reasons, not because I didn't care.

2) Audio volume level - maybe I'm getting old, but I was literally left with ringing ears after a section of fast songs. This can't be healthy, and I don't even think it's supposed to be normal.

3) Men in black and blue - the organizers were extremely strict about taking pictures and video recording. So strict that they had big men in black clothes and their better-dressed blue counterparts walk around the Coliseum at all times. When they catch someone, the men in black would approach the offender and shine the flashlight in his/her face. Sitting from above, this was incredibly distracting, and honestly a pretty bully-like thing to do. I can understand the no-videorecording rule; they have DVDs to sell. But the other show I've been to this year at the Coliseum (the Denise HOCC Ho show) was nowhere near this strict with picture-taking. It's not like spoilers here would destroy anyone's enjoyment - it ain't Harry Potter, people. Anyway, the real big complaint was how distracting they are, because their actions nad mannerisms just catch so much attention to themselves. What happened to giving free publicity?

Honorable mentions

Starting on time - Usually concerts at the Hong Kong Coliseum start at least 15 minutes late, and I mean that by starting all the warnings at least 15 minutes, which means the artist doesn't start singing until 25-30 minutes late. However, Jacky promised that this one would start on time because he wanted to pack as many songs as he can before getting penalized for over time. And he started promptly at 8:22 (the ticket says 8:15 and they started the warnings at 8:10) and ended at 11:32. I definitely got what I paid for (although those poor bastards that left didn't...).

My seat - I didn't change the seat because the seating chart on the ticket website indicates that I would be facing the stage head-on. Instead, I'm on the left side of the stage looking down, so Jacky's not even singing at me at least half the time. Worse yet, I paid the second-most expensive tickets just to not be able to look at the big screen behind him. And the real worst thing - I couldn't see Jun Kung live because he was drumming in the back of the stage. But still, I saw Jacky's face very clearly when he comes to our side of the Coliseum, so I'll let it go.

All in all, I had a very good time. This was a concert I've been waiting all my life to see (I've missed his America shows), and Jacky is an amazing performer in person. I would watch it again if he decides to end the tour in Hong Kong. This time, I'll pay for better seats, hoping for a better audience there.

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