Concert Review: Jacky Cheung 1/2 Century Tour 2011 - Malaysia

Perhaps the best indoor concert held in Malaysia in terms of stage set up, lighting and background visuals. "The God of SongsJacky Cheung had four shows here as part of his Half Century Tour 2011, and fortunately enough, I was able to catch it on the 11th earlier this month, which was the fourth and final night of it.

There was only slight delay and of course, no guest performer. After all, it was a 4-night concert. The show kicked off with Cheung's rather amateur tap dancing skills. The stage looked absolutely elegant, accompanied by really cool lighting, powerful relevant visuals and experienced band and dancers throughout. Right from beginning, I could sense that this was not going to be the usual live music concert. The first quarter of the show was like a musical, only that there wasn't any dialogue or interaction with the audience at all. The story is basically about how two adults meet, fall in love, marry, break up, reconcile and grow old together. With movie clips starring Shu Qi shown on the main screen, dramatic acting on stage while singing, songs with suitable feel and lyrics, and fantastic dancers and choreography, the whole quarter was brilliant and classy. The only problems of this part were Cheung's vocals that were not up to his usual standards, and the poor sound management. When the performer is dancing while singing with the head microphone on, the volume of the vocals should be higher than when he's singing to a normal mic.

The show went on more like a normal concert after the first quarter, but better, mainly due to the visuals and lightings specially made for the tour. Cheung only talked to the crowd after the whole musical part was done. He said that he was afraid that we wouldn't understand the musical, hence epilogues were added onto the visuals just in case. He took the time to clarify that most of the songs in the first half would be unfamiliar and promised the audience his classic hits would be sung later on.

The next quarter of the show was the up-tempo part where he sang and danced to a number of rocked up songs, some old and some I hadn't really heard before. My favourite number of the night was definitely "Wen Bie" (Kiss Goodbye). This time it's performed hard rock style, at a faster tempo. Massive lasers and colourful lighting effects were utilised during the song. It was probably the best live rendition of the title I've ever seen. It got me pumped up like the rest of audience. Cheung also briefly shown his life and career story through an adorable set of comic strips shown on the big screen while performing a song.

Cheung ended second quarter of the show with "Yue Ba Nu Qie", a tribute to the late big time senior in the Hong Kong entertainment and godmother, Lydia Shum. It was a lively and light-hearted performance with dancers wearing Shum masks and a gigantic Shum statue on stage. He did a split at the final beat of the song. After that, he advised the crowd not try doing the split if they're around his age because it'd be really difficult to get back up without help. It was impressive how considerably flexible he was for his age. Heck, even I can't do the splits at literally half his age. And not to mention, he actually did improve on his dancing, something so obvious that even he was proud to mention about it. This indicates just how much effort he was still putting in to entertain his fans.

Then came the third quarter, the jazz part, where he performed some of his personal favourites from his most recent studio album, Private Corner, on a smaller stage in front of the main one. He took the time to mention that the song "Sap Yi Gor Yum" (Twelve Tones) was originally composed by local Malaysian jazz musician Roger Wang. The original version, entitled "Love Scale", is in English, sung by Mia Palencia. He admitted he knows that it's difficult to accept his new jazz music, even he couldn't accept it initially. Besides the stuffs from the album, he also jazzed up some of his own old songs and others' classics like "Qing Ren De Yen Lei" (Lover's Tears, originally performed by the late legend Zhang Xiao Ying); perfect song to jazz up but unfortunately, he screwed up the whistle solo part otherwise a brilliant performance. His vocals and the band kind of struggled a little throughout this quarter of the concert.

His old classic hits, the killer romantic ballads, were performed in the final quarter of the show, but not all of course. Only as many as time allowed him to fit in. I was personally surprised and delighted that he did the song "Ming Yatt Sai Gai Jung Geh Sii Hao", never thought I'd ever get to see him sing this one live. The final song of the concert was predictably "Zhu Fu", but disappointingly, the jazz rendition. In my opinion, I think it's probably the worst Cheung song to jazz up.

There wasn't an encore wait and Cheung specifically told the audience that but of course, there were many who stayed and screamed for more after the last number. During the final quarter, he actually admitted all his vocal screw-ups on the night and apologised for the imperfect performance. He said the first show was like a rehearsal, fell sick on the second, almost couldn't perform on the third and hadn't fully recovered tonight. This explained why his vocals struggled like never before, resorted to screaming high falsettos many times to impress (which were really impressive, to be fair). The funny thing was that he was also sick when he came in 2007.

"I randomly ate an apple during my concert some years ago and discovered it was really good for my throat. Since I'm unwell, maybe having an apple now may help. I hope you all won't misunderstand me for disrespecting you by eating during the show."

"The band and myself weren't in our 100 perfect condition but we really gave our best. Tonight's the final show here in Malaysia and I really wanted to give a 100 percent performance but unfortunately I couldn't, please forgive me for that."

Indeed it wasn't the 50 year old's best vocal performance, probably the worst I've heard from him, and the songs picked weren't as spot on as the previous tour. However, a bad performance from THE Jacky Cheung is still, without a doubt, way better than any of the artistes of the newer generations. It was truly an awesome, colourful 3-hour plus concert. Cheung was incredibly professional and emotional; I swear I saw him tearing while singing some of his sad songs. How one can perform songs so seemingly sincere and truthful just amazes me. Jacky Cheung Half Century Tour 2011 is one of the best examples of what makes a great live music concert. Yes, he's reached the half century mark of his age, but I sure hope he'll still go on performing at least until a worthy God of Songs successor arises in Hong Kong.
  1. oh you caught the performance. nice!

    happy new year bro!

  2. wow his concert ticket must have cost alot! :) seems like you enjoyed it very much!

    Latest: Happy Hakka 2012!

  3. i watched him on his 2nd night. i couldn't even tell he was sick. he did mention that he wasn't in his best form but i thought it was the most amazing concert i've been to, audio-wise. so i was pretty surprised to read that you thought the sound management of this concert was bad. for me, this concert had the best audio reproduction ever.


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