I weren’t a Jay Chou fan right from the start when he debut in 2001. In fact, I hated a lot of his rap-filled songs – not particularly a fan of raps. Not to mention that he used to mumble more than sing. So I couldn’t and refused to understand his mainstream appeal. That was until his 4th album (葉惠美) named after his mother. I started noticing that he does write some very good ballads. Still disliking his rappish songs though.
And then it happened. I fell irrevocably in love with his talent when he released his 6th album, entitled November’s Chopin (十一月的蕭邦). The one particular song that got me hooked and good for life is Nocturne (夜曲). It is no secret that Jay’s favourite composer is Chopin and that his 6th album was a tribute to the poet of piano. Nocturne, the title song just spoke to my heart. Chopin is one of my favourite composers alongside Beethoven, after Mozart, hence I am less familiar with his works compared to Mozart’s. But l listened closely and I could hear some parallels between his and Chopin’s versions of Nocturne. Not easily discernible to the untrained ear but the influence is quite evident.
If anyone were to ask me, I would say Nocturne is Jay’s best work to date. I love this song so much even the rap parts don’t bother me any more. Needless to say, November’s Chopin is also my all-time favourite album since it contains 3 of my all-time favourite songs from him – Nocturne, Maple (楓) and Coral Sea (珊瑚海).
H started buying Jay’s albums from the 4th onwards so ripping the CDs to put the songs into iTunes was easy-peasy. But for the longest time we were without the first few albums; the physical albums were just no longer available in the market. Thank goodness for iTunes Store then. Our collection of Jay Chou albums was made complete recently with the introduction of the iTunes Store to Singapore. To be completely accurate, we are still short of an EP he released in his early years. Will probably buy it off iTunes soon, just for completion’s sake.
When news first came out that he would be coming to Singapore for his world tour, I knew I had to grab the tickets. Unlike the previous time, I refused to gather a huge group of friends to go attend his concert together. Decided to keep the party small so I only asked E. And H of course.
Because I practised and practised, I managed to snag some pretty good seats. I cannot remember why we decided not to buy the most expensive tickets available on the terrace but in any case I was contented with being Row 5 of our ticket category (side note: this is crazy, but I can remember at my fingertips that Row 13 is the first row – Super Junior, what have you done to me!?).
The Taiwanese have obviously learnt a trick or two from the Hallyu Wave – and a good place to start is having one single coloured lightstick for the whole stadium. Although I cannot fathom why they would pick pink for someone like Jay? Is that colour concept unique to this Opus concert tour only? Or is it sticking to Jay as his official colour like how Sapphire Blue is Super Junior’s? I can’t tell.
I was mildly amused that, despite having a lyrics board erected right at the top of the terrace seats facing the stage (presumably for him because who else in the right mind would turn to look at the board instead of the stage?), he was still getting a lot of his lyrics messed up. To be fair, it is a long 12-year period since he first debut, and some of his songs have really insanely-difficult lyrics written by his best lyricist partner Vincent Fang (方文山) that got even me scrambling for the dictionary – I have above average proficiency in Chinese in comparison to my fellow countrymen – sometimes for the meaning and sometimes even just for pronunciation. So he is permitted to slip up once in a while.
And he impressed me again with his mad piano skills. Yes I wowed at the opulent grand piano he shipped in for the concert but having taken piano lessons for 8 years in my youth, I know to look beyond the facade of the piano. I am attracted to men who play the piano and violin well (pity H doesn’t play it at all) because these are 2 instruments I am more intimately familiar with, and thus can appreciate the ones who managed to master them. The segment with him on the piano was obviously my favourite part of the concert. And my least favourite? The musical part where he got some new faces to collaborate with him – would probably be able to appreciate if more after watching his new movie about to be released soon.
It was a fun concert, somewhat like a large-scale karaoke session because most of the concert attendees could sing many of the old favourites. Was the concert any good, the lil sis asked. I couldn’t answer the question squarely. Attending one of Jay Chou’s concert whenever he swings by Singapore has become habitual – an act of loyalty towards him and appreciation for his musical talent. I reckon that would be the same response of many other regular attendees at his concerts.