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Concert review: A chubbier Jay Chou is no less mesmerising

SINGAPORE – Age is just a number. At least it looks and feels like that was the case for Taiwanese Mandopop superstar Jay Chou as he pranced across the stage with so much energy all through his almost three-hours-long gig at Singapore Sports Hub last night (Sept 3). You might just forget the fact that he is three years shy of his 40s. He still has the moves, including staging a dramatic entrance. This time he appeared as if he’d arrived from a spaceship thanks to some nifty visual effects.

SINGAPORE – Age is just a number. At least it looks and feels like that was the case for Taiwanese Mandopop superstar Jay Chou as he pranced across the stage with so much energy all through his almost three-hours-long gig at Singapore Sports Hub last night (Sept 3). You might just forget the fact that he is three years shy of his 40s. He still has the moves, including staging a dramatic entrance. This time he appeared as if he’d arrived from a spaceship thanks to some nifty visual effects.

This is Chou’s first concert in Singapore after getting married to model Hannah Quinlivan and having his first baby daughter, Hathaway. And his performance, visuals, special effects, extensive set of props all delivered. Too bad the most important factor – the sound quality was compromised. I could barely hear him through some parts of his first few songs. A check with a friend who sat somewhere in the middle of the Sports Hub confimed it. It could also have been better if the deafening bass was adjusted to be softer than the main microphone’s volume. The venue also felt extra humid - perhaps that was down to too many people in the audience. I could hardly feel the air-conditioning, which made me feel thankful for the plastic-fan prepared for all.

If the talented musician, singer, songwriter, record producer, actor, director, creative director, businessman, mentor, filial grandson, son, husband, father-of-one was acutely bad at something, it must his inability to strike up a meaningful banter with the the crowd. He only stopped to speak to the full-house after three songs, and praised Singaporean fans for being “as enthusiastic as ever, cheering non-stop from the first item he performed.” He asked rhetorical questions such as, “If holding a concert once every two years is too long?”, “Is it okay if I held a concert here once a month?” and inevitably, “Have I grown fatter?”

We’re guessing that the weight question is probably a loaded one since all his outfits this year were extremely conservative. He donned a black jacket and hot pink shiny pants during his entrance, and was covered from neck down. I almost felt sorry for him looking at how wrapped up he was in this heat. But I was secretly waiting for a good surprise – perhaps him flashing some abs just like three years ago, or some nice biceps from two years back. I was wrong. His next few outfits consisted of more jackets and pants. It was clear that the king of mandopop has no intentions to show any skin this time around.

But nevermind that. The nearly 40,000 strong crowd at the Singapore Sports Hub last night were essentially there for his classic songs, which he had nicely inserted in between his newer titles, sending the crowd screaming and waving their light sticks non-stop. It was clear that his songs are not confined to any particular age group. There was a really old couple sitting just two rows before me, who even stood on the chairs for better view halfway into the concert and then I spot a lot of young couples, who are probably in their 20s.

The highlights for the die-hard fans were definitely the interactive sessions – when Chou and his special guests (fellow Taiwanese singer Gary Yang and 16-year-old Canadian-Taiwanese singer Patrick Brasca, his mentee from Sing! China) randomly picked three lucky fans to duet. The three fans were sporting even if they relied heavily on the on-screen lyrics.

Overall, Chou’s performance was well-planned, although it certainly would have been much a better evening if the sound was fixed. Judging by the mass and hearty karaoke session as the audience sang along, the fans here have certainly missed him – and his abs. - EMILIA TAN

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