Cantopop ballads delivered with pure chemistry

Singers Hacken Lee and Joey Yung (both above) have been friends for more than a decade.
Singers Hacken Lee and Joey Yung (both above) have been friends for more than a decade.PHOTO: UNUSUAL ENTERTAINMENT

REVIEW / CONCERT

HACKEN LEE & JOEY YUNG LIVE AROUND THE WORLD IN SINGAPORE

Resorts World Ballroom

Sunday

The popularity of Cantopop might have declined since its glory days in the 1980s and 1990s, but Hong Kong singers Hacken Lee and Joey Yung showed that the genre has not lost its glow.

During a concert lasting more than three hours and attended by about 5,000 fans, the two Cantopop royalty kept the audience enraptured with their melodious ballads.

Not surprisingly, the show revolved around the theme of love, with Lee, 48, and Yung, 36, weaving their songs together to portray the different phases of a relationship.

Through about 40 mostly Cantonese and a few Mandarin songs, the duo explored practically every aspect of modern love - the rush and joy of getting together, doubts and insecurities of relationships, pain of break-ups and sadness in moving on.

The "men are from Mars, women are from Venus" message was clear right from the opening song Unknown, when Lee and Yung emerged at the same time, ready for battle.

Although some of their dance moves belonged to the last century, the veterans handled the challenging choreography with aplomb, with Lee lifting Yung off the ground on a few occasions.

Their many duets gave their fans a night to remember, his rich tenor the perfect balance to her mezzosoprano pipes.

Although Lee is married and Yung has a boyfriend, they have been labelled "work spouses".

They have been friends for more than a decade and their chemistry was obvious. During the show, he teased her about her Mandarin and she returned with a playful quip about how the song Ugly might be a reference to his looks. All in good fun.

Even when one was singing a solo number, the other usually remained on stage, swaying to the music. It was clear this was a joint concert, not a double bill.

Followers of the popular Chinese singing contest reality show I Am A Singer's latest season, which Lee and Yung took part in, were not disappointed.

The duo performed a few numbers from the show, such as a cover of Jay Chou's The Promised Love, which they sang as a duet.

While the set list featured mostly their own songs, there were also a few treats, such as the duet Hard To Love, originally sung by Jacky Cheung and the late Anita Mui.

Lee also performed the classic Chase, by the late Leslie Cheung, to some of the loudest applause of the night.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 11, 2016, with the headline 'Cantopop ballads delivered with pure chemistry'. Print Edition | Subscribe