Sad songs hit all the right notes

Taiwanese singers Winnie Hsin (above) and Dave Wang bring on the melancholy at their double-bill concert.
Taiwanese singers Winnie Hsin (above) and Dave Wang bring on the melancholy at their double-bill concert.PHOTO: RED SPADE VENTURES
Taiwanese singers Winnie Hsin and Dave Wang (above) bring on the melancholy at their double-bill concert.
Taiwanese singers Winnie Hsin and Dave Wang (above) bring on the melancholy at their double-bill concert.PHOTO: RED SPADE VENTURES

REVIEW / CONCERT

DAVE WANG AND WINNIE HSIN LIVE IN SINGAPORE 2016

Resorts World Ballroom/Last Saturday

There is something about a hard-done-by ballad that everyone can relate to. At some point, everyone has suffered, and a wrenching ballad is perhaps the best way to vent all those negative feelings - it is cathartic.

The 4,500-strong crowd who attended this double-bill concert - including local actors Chew Chor Meng, Chen Hanwei, Pan Lingling and her husband Huang Shinan - would likely agree.

Both Dave Wang and Winnie Hsin are Taiwanese singers known since the 1980s and 1990s for singing about painful experiences - loneliness, heartbreak, having to forget someone and living with the pain of the past.

Speaking of forgetting, Hsin, 54, might want to forget a huge boo-boo at this show. She was supposed to perform the opening number Forget (how ironic), but she did not appear even as the band and dancers performed the song sans singing.

When the song ended, she emerged and said: "Let's start again."

Once the show got going, she impressed with her clear soprano pipes, performing hits such as Scent and Understanding, proving she has been rightly dubbed Queen of Healing Love Songs.

She also included a few lesser-known tunes, such as the 1998 song Admitting, which was a treat with its wistful lyrics and haunting melody.

Wang received an even warmer response, opening his set with his 1991 song To Dream Of A Lifetime Love.

His voice had an unmistakable weathered melancholy and also seemed to convey an acceptance of all of life's vicissitudes.

Perhaps it was the result of his tough life - he grew up impoverished, taking on odd jobs to support himself, and is a single father.

His song titles - I Can Feel You Are Lying, Do I Really Have Nothing, Forget You Forget Me - read like the diary entries of a jilted lover, and his earnest delivery made it easy to become immersed in his world.

Although he has always had a serious, reserved air, he warmed up towards the end of this show, revealing how he both admired and despised his younger, more arrogant self.

Encouraging the audience, he said: "At 53, I finally know what it is like to be mature and grown up. I know there is nothing that cannot happen.

"What's important is that your heart can withstand the stresses of life and come out a better person."

Solid advice from someone who has lived through and made his peace with hardship.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 12, 2016, with the headline 'Sad songs hit all the right notes'. Print Edition | Subscribe