REVIEW / CONCERT
MAYDAY: JUST ROCK IT
Singapore Indoor Stadium
It has been three years since Taiwanese pop-rock mega-band Mayday last held a full-scale concert in Singapore.
So it was fitting that their epic Just Rock It concert, which played to a 10,000-strong audience at the Singapore Indoor Stadium last Friday evening and stretched for three hours with three encore numbers, felt like a homecoming.
Shorn of the sprawling, elaborate sets that typically accompany their Hong Kong and Taipei shows, the quintet delivered with laser-minded focus the angst-ridden power ballads and high-tempo rock numbers that have made them one of Mandopop's staples.
The band worked together like a well-oiled machine, each member knowing when to dial back his playing to let the soloists shine, be it Monster and Stone on their guitar riffs, or Masa on bass.
As they sang of halcyon days, of love gained then lost, and of living with abandon in a crazy world, they evoked powerfully a nostalgic optimism that has always been at the core of their broad appeal.
Halfway through the show, they sat huddled around a table setting on stage, joking with their fans and reminiscing about their younger days.
In between snatches of their hit Laugh And Forget ("I've long forgotten my sorrow, I only remember to sing, laugh and forget"), they fed one another Singaporean faves satay and pandan cake - an act of deep fraternal intimacy, as far as friendships go.
Now in their late 30s and all married, save for lead singer Ashin, they quizzed one another on what advice they would give their younger selves.
Masa, recalling the practice sessions which made drummer Guan You's limbs ache, quipped to his bandmate: "What you love the most will cause you the most pain."
Putting on such a long show meant the band had to, regrettably, conserve some energy during the fast numbers - there was little jumping around or hair-tossing, except on a couple of crowd-pleasers such as Leaving The Earth's Surface and End Of Loneliness.
The fans were, however, happy to chip in, belting out the big sing- along choruses along with the band and fervently waving their light sticks, turning the stadium into a hypnotic sea of neon that pulsed yellow, white, blue and pink throughout the night.
Saving his energy also meant that Ashin stayed in tip-top vocal form - his gentle tenor, rich with a quiet melancholy, shone on the band's signature ballads Contentment, Gentleness and Suddenly I Think Of You, which were greeted with the loudest cheers that evening.
Masa also tackled lead vocals on a piano version of the band's 2011 hit Noah's Ark, his voice soft, tentative, but stirring.
The band saved a slew of their latest hits for the evening's end, such as the fast and furious Party Animal and the bittersweet Us In Another Future.
But it was perhaps the celebratory If We Had Not Met that best summed up the audience's sentiment towards Mayday: "If we had not met, where would I be? If we had not met, this music would not exist."