TAIPEI • The Queen of Taiwanese pop Jody Chiang opened the first of her 25 farewell concerts with her eyes closed, saying she was afraid she would cry.
She still cried, though, at last Saturday's show in the Taipei Arena, which kicked off her tour capping her almost 40 years in music and that had sold a reported record of NT$1 billion (S$43.5 million) in tickets.
After singing Words After Drinking, one of her best-known songs, Chiang, 53, told the crowd: "I closed my eyes as I was afraid that seeing you will make me cry."
The tears came, however, an hour into the show, when fans started to sing along to Don't Mention Love and she choked with emotion.
About 30 songs later - many performed onstage for the first time - she said: "I have sung so many songs in my lifetime. I didn't expect a time when it would end."
She then wiped her eyes. The Hokkien pop goddess then sang the night's final song, bowed and waved as she was lifted over and out of the stage.
The concert set design boasted sky lanterns featuring the characters "Best Wishes" in Chinese and five huge hanging LED screens displaying images of the concert, which reportedly cost NT$700 million to produce.
The sold-out concerts run until Sept 13 at the Taipei Arena and Kaohsiung Arena and drew about 250,000 people to rush for tickets.
Chiang's initial announcement that she would retire after 16 concerts led to queues at the ticket agency and the ticketing site crashing.
Nine more shows were later added but not before a scalper was prosecuted for re-selling the hot tickets.
The concert was the year's musical highlight. Fellow singers such as A-mei, Fei Yu-ching and rockers MayDay sent flower stands to offer their congratulations.
Chiang received a lifetime contribution award in Taiwan's Golden Melody Awards ceremony last month.