Concert review: Rock icon Wu Bai lets rip for over two hours, but fans still want more

-- PHOTO: ROCK RECORDS / MARCUS LIN
-- PHOTO: ROCK RECORDS / MARCUS LIN
-- PHOTO: ROCK RECORDS / MARCUS LIN
-- PHOTO: ROCK RECORDS / MARCUS LIN
-- PHOTO: ROCK RECORDS / MARCUS LIN
-- PHOTO: ROCK RECORDS / MARCUS LIN
-- PHOTO: ROCK RECORDS / MARCUS LIN
-- PHOTO: ROCK RECORDS / MARCUS LIN
-- PHOTO: ROCK RECORDS / MARCUS LIN
-- PHOTO: ROCK RECORDS / MARCUS LIN
-- PHOTO: ROCK RECORDS / MARCUS LIN
-- PHOTO: ROCK RECORDS / MARCUS LIN
-- PHOTO: ROCK RECORDS / MARCUS LIN
-- PHOTO: ROCK RECORDS / MARCUS LIN

One. That was the number of songs Wu Bai & China Blue performed for the encore.

It came as a surprise, since Mandarin music performers have been spoiling the audiences here by doing at least three more songs to round up their concerts.

The single-song encore decision for the Wu Bai & China Blue Singapore Concert 2015 at the Resorts World Ballroom on Saturday was a pity since the 5,000-strong audience was on its feet, ready to dance the night away.

However, the Taiwanese King of Rock, whose real name is Wu Chun-lin, left the stage after his iconic Minnan anthem, World Number One.

Even after the house lights came on, many still thought the show would go on, screaming for Wu to return.

One female fan wondered aloud, "Were we not passionate enough?"

A spokesman from the concert organiser One Production told The Straits Times that Wu felt that the audience kept temperatures high throughout the concert.

But if he continued, the concert would never end.

That might actually be what the fans wanted - chorusing Wu's rock ballads to eternity.

Still, they should have been sufficiently satisfied with the 22-song show, which lasted 150 minutes.

Wu promised at the start of the show that all the songs to be performed were classics, except three new songs, which he quipped, were "soon-to-be classics".

He kept his word. In a neon yellow shirt and vinyl jacket, the party got started with his greatest hits - White Dove, Norwegian Forest, Crying Man and Wanderer's Love Song.

Wu brought so much energy on stage that his followers went berserk lapping up his every move. Every power note and every guitar riff were followed by thunderous applause and screams. Grey haired middle-aged uncles and aunties shed all inhibitions to gyrate their hips to dance-along numbers like You Are My Flower and the new song Hand. Security had to step in to usher crowds blocking the aisles back to their seats.

Wu Bai & China Blue could do no wrong with this cult.

Despite being more than 20 years in the business, they still had surprises up their sleeves.

Mid-show, the band traded their electric guitars for acoustic ones, for a never-seen-before unplugged session. Eternally Bright Sorrow, from their new album, was folksy poetry, while the karaoke must-sing Love You For Ten Thousand Years found new life in simpler, breathy tones.

The band's chemistry was evident in the segment. Wu teased the third generation Italian-American drummer Dean "Dino" Zavolta about wearing his black bowler wrongly. When he removed the hat to reveal a bald scalp similar to tan-skinned bassist Shiao Ju's, Wu joked, "We used to have only one braised egg. Now we have a boiled egg as well."

The signature metallic fans at the front of the stage also became the target of his deadpan humour. He urged the backstage crew to adjust the height of the fans: "The fans were supposed to blow my hair, not my lips."

Wu gave a fresh spin to songs made famous by other singers, including If Even This Is Not Love, written for Hong Kong singer Jacky Cheung, and Taiwanese balladeer Sarah Chen's Waking To A Dream, both made grittier with Wu's trademark gravelly voice.

What was sorely missed was his repertoire of Minnan songs, such as rock anthem Lone Bird On A Branch and the romantic duet Express Love Letter.

If they were performed in the encore, this show would have been a classic.

stlife@sph.com.sg