Arts & Entertainment

Stefanie Sun Live in Concert

“!(imgcenter)http://static.flickr.com/37/86460060_b3fa231a69_m.jpg!(Sun Yan Zi live in concert)”:http://www.flickr.com/photos/yannie/86460060/

If not for the free tickets that were given to my cousin, I would never have thought of going for Stefanie Sun Yan Zi’s live concert held at the Indoor Stadium.

Astonishingly, the songstress who is billed as Singapore’s Pride did not manage to fill up the whole stadium, with certain sectors full of gaping holes. But to her credit, she had thoughtfully constructed a stage that was open 360 degrees, which meant that she had to sell all the seats in the stadium. But it just felt a little sad that while she had managed to hold sellout concerts in Hong Kong’s Coliseum, she couldn’t accomplish that in her home country.

45 minutes after the stated starting time, the diminutive singer finally emerged from under a veil of translucent screens, belting out Feng Zheng, one of my favourite songs. While she definitely possessed enough lung power, she somehow seemed to overdo it and sounded as if she was shouting instead of singing. The terrible sound system did not help, as it ate up her words, especially during the faster tracks. As my cousin, who is not familiar with her music, pointed out, if the organisers had not been flashing the lyrics as she sang, nobody would know what the heck she was singing about.

“!(imgcenter)http://static.flickr.com/41/86460059_6e7fcdf661_m.jpg!(Stefanie Sun Live 2006: Songbird)”:http://www.flickr.com/photos/yannie/86460059/

And therein lies the problem of the concert. The sound engineering was not flattering to her fast songs, and those were definitely her weaker points. I mean, most people listen to her because of her poignant and tremulous ballads. She had established herself as a singer, five years ago, with Tian hei Hei and from there, her path was laid out for her.

Indeed, she shone during the ballads, with her unique mellow voice conveying raw emotions ranging from despair to resignation to hope. When she moved on to the faster songs, her dance steps lacked conviction and her voice sounded hoarse and nasal, as if she had gone on stage without proper warm up and then had overdone the singing. Eeps.

Her stage presence reminded me greatly of Corrinne May. Both seemed rather shy, and lacked the showmanship that many other performers have perfected. And yet, those worked in their favour for every word that they say, every banter and every comment seemed sincere and honest, rather than staged.

“!(imgcenter)http://static.flickr.com/37/86460058_484fc475cf_m.jpg!(Yan Zi playing the piano)”:http://www.flickr.com/photos/yannie/86460058/

At times, she seemed forlorn on the stage when bereft of the presence of her 12 hunky male dancers (as billed in the synopsis in Life!), the flashing lights swallowing up her petite frame, more so during the ballads. Suddenly, I felt a sense of inexplicable sympathy for her, a young woman whose every move is being scrutinized by the whole world. She may have chosen that path but somehow, it seemed sad that her relationship, when it started and ended, was splashed out across the papers.

Guest performers F.I.R and Tanya Chua (surprise!) were wonderful, drumming up the crowd to a new high. Tanya’s friendship with Stefanie is rather touching, their rapport and admiration for each other evident in the two songs that they sang together.

The concert was entertaining but it lacked the “oomph” that I had experienced in my previous two Jay Chou outings. But it did feel nice supporting a talented local artiste who had made good elsewhere. Nothing spectacular, though overall a good performance.

[Let’s play tag! , , , ]

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