No cutting off Beyond roots

Paul Wong says he hopes to connect with the audience by singing Beyond songs.
Paul Wong says he hopes to connect with the audience by singing Beyond songs. PHOTO: ROCKSTAR LIVE

Musician Paul Wong will be playing most of his former band's hits at his first solo concert here

Hong Kong musician Paul Wong's group, the legendary Beyond, have been disbanded for more than a decade amid rumours of bitterness still stewing among some of their members.

Despite this, the singer and guitarist does not distance himself from Beyond, nor does he ban reporters from asking about the past, even if the shadow of Beyond continues to loom large over his solo music career.

In an interview with The Straits Times, Wong, 52, says: "It is only natural that people link me to Beyond. It is how they came to know me. I will forever be a member of Beyond.

"Rather than shed my Beyond roots, I want to perform our classics and let people witness my improvement. Isn't that better?"

In fact, the rocker says he will be belting out Beyond hits such as the rousing anthem Boundless Oceans Vast Skies at his first solo concert here tonight, at The Star Theatre.

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Half of the setlist will comprise Beyond tunes, while the other half will be filled with songs from his solo albums such as Yellow Paul Wong (2001) and Concerto In A Minor (2011).

He says: "I will be singing more Beyond songs than usual. I hope to connect with the audience by evoking their memories. This is the best way to commemorate Beyond. I hope the audience will sing along to the songs."

Beyond are widely regarded as Cantopop's most influential band despite the demise of its illustrious frontman and chief songwriter Wong Ka Kui in 1993. He died after falling off a 3m platform while filming a television game show in Japan.

The remaining members - Paul Wong, bassist-vocalist Wong Ka Keung, 52, and drummer Yip Sai Wing, 53 - continued as a trio before disbanding in 2005.

Last month, they were supposed to reunite for a Hong Kong concert to pay tribute to Wong Ka Kui, but Wong Ka Keung, his brother, did not turn up.

The laidback Paul Wong turns sombre when asked about his alleged strained relationship with Ka Keung.

Believing that time will heal all wounds, he says: "Given my fiery temper, I have held back from saying too much for my sake and in the hope that the matter will eventually die down.

"Every band will have their disagreements. If I talk about the matter, only the media will benefit. There is no need to let the issue worsen by talking to the tabloids in Hong Kong."

He prefers to talk about his rosy family life.

Known to be a doting dad and husband, he breaks into a wide smile when talking about his wife, Hong Kong actress Athena Chu, 44, and their four-year-old daughter Debbie.

No children's programme is too uncool for the rocker, as he easily names characters such as Peppa Pig and Barney the dinosaur during the interview.

And it seems no request from Debbie is too unreasonable for him to accede to.

When the girl wants more TV time before going to bed, she will ask him instead of mummy.

Wong says: 'Mummy will say no to watching more TV. My daughter will come to me and plead for just five minutes more of Peppa Pig. I will give in. The five minutes will drag on until we get caught by mummy."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 09, 2016, with the headline 'No cutting off Beyond roots'. Print Edition | Subscribe