Wu Bai talks about his coming concert

Taiwanese rocker Wu Bai plans to have modern dancers front and centre on the stage for his concert on Jan 3.
Taiwanese rocker Wu Bai plans to have modern dancers front and centre on the stage for his concert on Jan 3.PHOTO: ROCK RECORDS

Modern dance at Taiwanese rocker Wu Bai's concert? It sounds like a jarring gimmick, but he has actually performed with Taiwan's renowned Cloud Gate Dance Theatre troupe before.

Speaking over the telephone from Taipei, he says: "I went to watch a performance by them several years ago and was deeply mesmerised by modern dance. I got to know some of the dancers and have asked them to choreograph for my music videos and concerts. I've even danced with them."

For his concert in Singapore on Jan 3, he plans to have them front and centre on the stage instead of tucked away like back-up dancers. He has even composed a six-minute piece of music for them to perform to.

Wu, 46, seems uncharacteristically shy though when asked if he would be dancing alongside them. He says: "I would be game if it is ice-skating, but not if it's dancing. I enjoy watching modern dance but I can't really do it."

Perhaps his previous forays into the discipline were more "dance" and less "modern".

At any rate, even with the inclusion of modern dance, the focus this time is very much meant to be on his music.

He points out: "I've been singing for 25 years and wanted to hold a special concert of all my classics from start to end. There's no pretending to do this or that, such as hanging by wires and such."

The troubadour, who got married in 2003, is known for his hard-luck tales of love and life in records such as Wanderer's Love Song (1994), The End Of Love (1996) and the highly acclaimed Lonely Tree, Lonely Bird (1998), which won the Golden Melody Award for best album.

Given that he has released more than 20 albums, what makes the cut as a classic?

He declares: "Those which sell more than 600,000 copies."

Given the downward trend in sales though, this is a benchmark that his later discs are unlikely to breach. Acknowledging as much, he says that more recent works will have to be measured by degree of popularity.

And how will that work exactly?

Wu says simply: "I myself know it. I've been singing for such a long time, how could I not know what is popular or not?"

The man dubbed the King of Live Music will lug more than six or seven guitars and include a special unplugged treat for his fans. While a stripped-down segment might seem more relaxed, the rocker disagrees. "We end up sweating more because it's purely about using our emotions and technical skills to present the songs." In other words, there is nothing to hide behind.

His previous concert here in 2012 busted the three-hour mark, but he has no plans to top that. He quips: "Am I made of metal?"

At this stage of his career, and having walked away with trophies in the past, one wonders if awards still matter to the veteran musician.

He replies: "You can't say that you don't care because that's too fake. But if I say I do, that's not quite the truth either.

"Ultimately, the practical meaning of a prize is for good music to reach a wider audience and for those making music to glean some kind of encouragement."