Concert review: Triumphant, though not perfect, homecoming for Stefanie Sun

Homegrown singer Stefanie Sun, 35, was the first pop act to perform at the new National Stadium on Saturday night in front of some 20,000 fans. -- ST PHOTO: BOON CHAN
Homegrown singer Stefanie Sun, 35, was the first pop act to perform at the new National Stadium on Saturday night in front of some 20,000 fans. -- ST PHOTO: BOON CHAN
Homegrown singer Stefanie Sun, 35, was the first pop act to perform at the new National Stadium on Saturday night in front of some 20,000 fans. -- ST PHOTO: BOON CHAN
Homegrown singer Stefanie Sun, 35, was the first pop act to perform at the new National Stadium on Saturday night in front of some 20,000 fans. -- ST PHOTO: BOON CHAN
Homegrown singer Stefanie Sun, 35, was the first pop act to perform at the new National Stadium on Saturday night in front of some 20,000 fans. -- ST PHOTO: BOON CHAN
Homegrown singer Stefanie Sun, 35, was the first pop act to perform at the new National Stadium on Saturday night in front of some 20,000 fans. -- ST PHOTO: BOON CHAN

Homegrown singer Stefanie Sun was the first pop act to perform at the new National Stadium on Saturday night in front of some 20,000 fans.

It was an especially momentous occasion as her Kepler world tour marks her comeback after marriage and childbirth.

Unfortunately, it proved to be something of a bumpy ride.

Her voice was sounding strained on the low and high notes of the fast-paced Infinite Possibilities.

She then asked: "What's in season in Singapore now? Not me, I was popular 14 years ago."

The answer turned out to be the flu.

And a few songs later, about midway through the concert, she announced after singing the hit ballad Angel's Fingerprints: "This is a little awkward. My voice is almost gone."

The trooper added "Let's do our best okay", and showed her mettle by holding on for a full-length two and a half hour long show.

It reminded one of the fact that she was recently rushed to the hospital after her concert in Chongqing on June 21, though her subsequent gig in Chengdu on June 28 went off without a hitch.

The evening here had started on a strong note when Sun appeared on an elevated platform in a sparkly black outfit singing her breakthrough hit Cloudy Sky.

She greeted the crowd with an enthusiastic: "Woohoo, Singapore, I'm back. How, can speak Singlish or not?"

Still, she admitted that she was nervous and she was nervous for every show because it is always a delicate balance to achieve. "On stage, you need to relax and have fun. You need to be relaxed but not too slack."

She proved to be adept at engaging the crowd. At one point, she stage whispered: "I've done about nine shows and this is the quietest one. Is this the Singapore I know?" Right on cue, the audience erupted into cheers.

The private star even shared a little anecdote about her one and a half year old son. She said that he has a magic finger because whenever he points at a door, or milk or biscuits, the door will open and he will get his milk and biscuits. "Can I feel what it's like to be him?" asked Sun. She pointed at the crowd and her fans obliged her by raising the roof.

A highlight of the concert was the staging of the track Kepler, from her latest album of the same name.

As she stood on a lit doorway atop the planet Earth, the cosmos drifted leisurely behind her.

This was the same staging done for the song when she kicked off her tour at Taipei Arena in Feb.

She had prepared something just for her Singapore stop though.

It felt as though National Day had come early when she sang We Will Get There and One United People, the theme songs for the National Day Parade in 2002 and 2003 respectively.

As a venue for pop concerts, the National Stadium gets a mixed score.

The overall sound had quite a bit of reverb to it and was rather murky though Sun's distinctive timbre and evocative singing came through clearly enough.

It was also not the most comfortable viewing experience as with the retractable roof in place, it felt a little warm and stuffy. Thank goodness for the paper fans provided by the show organiser.

The large venue did mean though that more fans could be accommodated in one space and the atmosphere this brought about was great. After her announcement that she was losing her voice, her fans rallied around their idol, singing along with gusto and shouting out words of encouragement.

It might not have been the perfect homecoming but it was still a triumphant one for Sun.

bchan@sph.com.sg

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