Concert review: Cantopop superstar Hacken Lee charms with cool charisma, stage experience

Veteran Hong Kong singer Hacken Lee performing at Marina Bay Sands. PHOTO: MARINA BAY SANDS

Sands Live: Hacken Lee Live at Marina Bay Sands

Sands Grand Ballroom Last Friday

Can anything faze Hong Kong singer Hacken Lee? Not likely, judging from his two-hour concert hosted by Marina Bay Sands as part of its Sands Live concert series.

Some 6,000 fans who packed the Sands Grand Ballroom had the pleasure of catching his cool demeanour from the get-go.

The 55-year-old took the stage to loud cheers and held up his microphone, only to realise that it had gone kaput.

The hiccup might have left some performers stunned and embarrassed, but not Lee. He is, after all, a veteran with more than 35 years of show business experience under his belt.

He calmly walked to a darkened corner of the stage to get a replacement, then greeted the audience. “Life is like that… full of surprises,” he said in Cantonese to roaring laughter. “Let’s pretend that you didn’t see me earlier and start all over, shall we?”

Just like that, the lights went down. He reappeared on stage to kick-start the show with his award-winning ballads Fei Hua (Flying Flower, 2001), Lan Yue Liang (Blue Moon, 1989) and Yi Sheng Xiang Ni (Miss You Forever, 1993).

“If you didn’t know those three songs, you must be at the wrong show,” the vocal powerhouse quipped.

Lee last performed in Singapore five years ago, so Friday’s show felt like a long overdue catch-up with his fans.

The production was kept simple, sans dancers, and he changed his outfit only once.

Every two songs or so, he would banter with the appreciative audience, who were mostly in their 50s and above.

When their applause was not as enthusiastic at one point, he teased: “Has your energy level waned with age? You can do better.”

He revealed that his wife and two sons had joined him on this trip to Singapore, to which the crowd cheered and clapped.

A baffled Lee asked: “They get applause too? They did not even perform.”

But he did have a special guest, Vincy Chan, who performed a duet with him. The fellow Cantopop singer, 40, gave him recommendations on what to eat in Singapore as well.

Chan grew up here and is a Dunman High School alumnus. She was among the top 24 contestants in Mediacorp’s talent show Project SuperStar (2005) before getting her big break in Hong Kong.

Cantopop star Hacken Lee, accompanied by special guest singer Vincy Chan, performed at a sold-out concert to more than 6,000 fans. PHOTO: MARINA BAY SANDS

The show continued with Lee in an acoustic segment, serenading with sentimental songs like Po Xiao Shi Fen (The Break Of Dawn, 1991) and Gao Mei (Tall Girl, 2002).

He saved his most upbeat, classic hit Hong Ri (The Red Sun, 1992) for last, but not before telling the audience that if they want more, they can fly to Hong Kong in May to catch his concerts, a collaborative effort with the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra.

Cantopop star Hacken Lee charmed with his vocal prowess, cool charisma and stage experience. PHOTO: MARINA BAY SANDS

Assuming that the show had come to an end, the crowd began streaming out of the venue.

What did they know? Lee returned on stage with an “unplanned” encore number, much to the surprise of his fans who scrambled to get back to their seats.

But he merely said: “Take your time. I’ll wait for you.”

And with that, the cool superstar wrapped up the night with the only Mandarin song of the concert, Yi Sheng He Qiu (What More Could I Ask For In Life, 1994).

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