10.10.2008

Live '08 @ San Diego (Part II)

03 不還你
I was so engrossed in her first two songs, when the background chorus started singing "Baby never never let you go," the song title was at the tip of my tongue but it just escaped from me until the first verse (I was so immersed!). SL performed three dance tunes back to back effortlessly. I was gradually psyched up, although the demographically diverse audience was a bit reserved. When 不還你 first came out in late 2000, I was indifferent to the song. However, after SL incorporating this tune in her mega dance medley in Live 2005, it became fun and interesting.

After 不還你, SL finally took the chance to say hi to the audience. Not knowing which language/dialect she should use, SL greeted everyone in Cantonese, Mandarin, English, and Shanghainese to cover all the grounds. Judging from the response, the Mandarin-speaking contingent appeared to be the most vocal. After that point, SL conversed in the first three aforementioned languages/dialects interchangeably to ensure that everyone was fully engaged. SL said this was the first time she had ever spent the mid-autumn evening with her fans, and it was exciting to perform under such a beautiful full moon. The crowd was further warmed up and SL moved along with the rundown.

05 匆匆
The arrangements of the following numbers were lifted from HK Live 2007, beginning with 匆匆. At first, I was a little surprised that SL performed this song without any dancers. However, SL's vocals and stage presence were so enigmatic and captivating, one could hardly divert his/her attention away from SL's every note and every move.
04 夜太黑

When the song's signature prelude presented itself, it was obvious that SL was about to sing the title track of her second Mandarin album released in 1996 under Rock Records. It was true that I had never fallen deeply in love with this tune before, however, SL's live performance was absolutely mesmerizing. Each verse and chorus was performed with very refined and noticeable variations, showcasing the softness, lightness and power of her all encompassing and dexterous vocals. My favourite parts were towards the end of the song: 在輕輕地輕輕地輕輕地包圍 淪落的美 / 如果誰看來頹廢 只是累, where the first part was delivered as delicately as a butterfly beating its wings, while the second part was switched swiftly into pitch-perfect falsetto. Simply amazing. The southern Californian night had also fallen completely in the open air by then, the lyrics of the song fit the surroundings very nicely.

06 滴汗

'Are you ready? Are you ready?' The 2007 arrangement started the song with this intriguing background chorus, which I found was very, very clever, as it also echoed the climatic finale of the song. Without a shadow of doubt, this jazzy number was one of SL's all time favourites, which she had performed in many major concerts since 1991. As we all know, the lyrics by Richard Lam were extremely sensual and provocative, and yet when SL delivered them in her unassuming way, the performance was one classy act. Of course, this number would not be complete without her signature hand gesture when she softly asked 請勿獨臥汗水上 Are you ready for love (as shown in photo).

07 逃離鋼筋森林

The 2007 rundown continued with 逃離鋼筋森林, the title track of the critically acclaimed and commercially successful City Project Part II; even though the song was not plugged as a single back then. Despite the fact that there were no passionate tribal percussions or dazzling visual effects on stage, SL never disappointed us with her relentless zest and pure energy. I was very impressed by her vocal and physical strength, which showed no sign of fatigue after a series of demanding numbers. Unbelievable.

08 情人的眼淚

After taking off her little white vest, SL revisited this little ballad which was well known to the Chinese-speaking population everywhere. The song also represented a major breakthrough in SL's career, highlighting the very chemistry and magic in her collaboration with Dick Lee, the great Singaporean singer-songwriter. The arrangement by Anthony Lun was completely different from Dick Lee's version, however, it was equally nostalgic and mellow. SL also sang the entire bridge of the song (好春常在 春花正開). Although the song was slightly cruising on the safe and sentimental side, I was completely melted in SL's performance.

09 薔薇之戀

Building on the retro-theme, another seasoned ballad was given a make-over. As opposed to sticking with Dick Lee's version which combined Parisian choral arrangements of the 60s with hip-hop of the early 90s, Anthony's adaptation struck me as blending the traditional ballroom Cha-Cha-Cha with upbeat euro pop, which provided the song with a whole new structure and feel.

By then, all six dancers also reappeared on stage and did an impressive dance sequence with SL. After all these years, the album Wildflower still has a very special place in my heart for far too many reasons. It was nice to hear SL perform at least one track from that legendary project.

10 要不要

Quite honestly, regardless of what other people may have said about the melody or the lyrics, or whether SL (with her stature and status in pop music) should pick a song like this, I just adore this song. I thought it was very light-hearted, fun and cute. This number reminded me of 開始, track 9 of the album 感覺完美. Although both songs were about intimate exchanges between a fun-loving couple, I found this song particularly witty and the narrative voice was full of character and independence. SL rejoined her dancers after changing her outfit (or should I say putting on a little white short-sleeved jacket) and delivered another flawlessly choreographed sequence.

11 Better Man

When the album came out in late 2000, fans had only a lukewarm reaction to this pop-rock ballad. Personally, I like SL's rendition as much as Robbie's, although I admit that the Mandarin lyrics were a bit bland.

Once she finished the song, the concert suddenly reached the unplanned "audience participation" segment. Someone sitting five or six rows in front of me shouted aloud "Sandy, I Love you!" and SL was looking for that affectionate male voice. Then a stocky man of my age stood up and said he came all the way from New York. SL was pleasantly surprised and very touched. Then a young lady handed SL a lovely bouquet and told her that she came all the way from Oregon. At one point, I was tempted to stand up and say "I'm from Canada!" But there were other people trying to catch SL's attention and the concert was getting a little unwieldy, so I chickened.

SL brought us right back on track by introducing her next song.

12 為你我受冷風吹

When SL mentioned she was about to perform this song, the house burst into unanimous laughter. SL was at a loss and thought people find her Cantonese expressions humorous. In fact, the temperature had probably dropped to 14 or 15 degrees Celsius, and the breeze was very brisk by then. The audience, including me, felt a bit cold under the evening wind and found the song title 為你我受冷風吹 fit the situation to a "t". The rich and elegant keyboard came from the Live 2007 version, which was less sentimental than the 1995 album version. SL, to her credit, sang this song with her usual fragility, grace and conviction. It was a breathtaking performance under the full mid-autumn moon.


_____________________________
Live '08 @ San Diego (Part I)
Live '08 @ San Diego (Part III)
Live '08 @ San Diego (Epilogue)

6 comments:

Wordy said...

so true about the magic of the 2005 mega dance medley to 不還你

I don't like the album 夜太黑 but always love the arrangement of the title song

compared with 開始, in terms of the lyrics, 要不要 sounds far more sophisticated (and more relaxed and confident)

what a beautiful experience to taste the song 為你我受冷風吹 under some cool breeze ... I envy your guys!

Leo said...

The audience, including me, felt a bit cold under the evening wind and found the song title 為你我受冷風吹 fit the situation to a "t".


感動!

續集比第1集更精彩!

期待第3集!

best actor said...

wordy:

the evening was truly memorable for a number of reasons, will reveal more in the final part of the series. :o) i wish i could go to beijing and see her performance with the fans over there.

leo:

thanks, and a lot of loose ends will be nicely tied up in Part 3.

Dominic said...

Did she sing "DISCONNECT" from 2006 album? love that song a lot lately hehe.


my winning video on ac360!

http://www.cnn.com/video/#/video/bestoftv/2008/10/04/ac.360.beat.fri.cnn?iref=videosearch

best actor said...

Dom,

you mean track 4 "communication"? yeah she did sing it and it was reaaaaally good. congrats again to your winning caption... CNN kinda changed it a bit eh?

Tracy said...

Hi it's "geminige" @ 163 bbs tracing your posts back to here....sorry that I just noticed your message left last November...terribly sorry. I'll post the rest of your review there and keep translating.

The way, it's hard to open the category of 回音, maybe b/c there are too many audio clips and pics...

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