Huayi - Chinese Festival of Arts

Crowd Lu works the crowd at Huayi - Chinese Festival of Arts

(From far left) Chao Yi-Lan, Oliver Chong and Wang Ching-Chun in Blood & Rose Ensemble by Shakespeare's Wild Sisters Group. Crowd Lu's lively, idiosyncratic banter gave the show an element of fun. Singer-actor Sugie Phua (left) plays a wanderer with
Crowd Lu's lively, idiosyncratic banter gave the show an element of fun.PHOTO: ESPLANADE - THEATRES ON THE BAY

The Taiwanese singer certainly made the audience smile with his unique brand of joyful exuberance



Esplanade Concert Hall/Last Friday

Taiwanese singer-songwriter Crowd Lu can do no wrong.

Whether it is belting out the incorrect lyrics or having his voice crack during a song, the 32-year-old often emerges unscathed to cheers from the audience.

Perhaps, what his fans see is his signature brand of carefree optimism, a delightful ability to see joy and humour in the embarrassing and even, in suffering.

Everyone knows he can sing and he did not disappoint at his one-hour-and-45-minute-long performance last Friday, part of this year's Huayi - Chinese Festival of Arts, which nearly sold out the 1,600-seat Esplanade Concert Hall.

On the breezy song 100 Ways Of Living, he kept his falsetto as light as a breath of fresh air. On the ballad Yu Zai (Little Fish), his voice floated on the melodies with soulful earnestness.

And while many singers might try to gloss things over when they croon a bad note, Lu did not.

When his voice cracked while performing the song You Complete Me, he shrugged it off with a smile, adding after the song: "I'm so happy you got to hear that."

True to his name - his Chinese name Guangzhong sounds like the word "audience" in Mandarin - Lu sure knows how to work a crowd.

His lively, idiosyncratic banter made the show a journey of rollicking fun. If he ever gives up music, he might want to consider being a stand-up comedian.

At one point during the performance, he joked that he was searching for his earpiece, but found it hanging from his ear.

"Well, at least it is better than looking for your glasses while you are wearing them," he quipped.

And when he used his guitar to reflect light onto audience members, supposedly bringing them good luck in the Chinese New Year, he chuckled: "I feel like the God of Fortune."

And speaking of special occasions, he took the chance to wish everyone a happy birthday, en masse. "Well, everyone is likely going to have a birthday in the next 12 months... so happy birthday!"

Indeed, his show was peppered with witty innocence and youthful cheer.

Perhaps it was this same optimism that has helped him ride through his life's painful moments.

Reports say he was run over by a bus in his freshman year of university and spent months in hospital, where he learnt how to play the guitar.

He alluded to this during the show, saying: "When you encounter problems in life, maybe it is because you are just standing in the wrong position."

With his joyful exuberance, Lu certainly knows how to make a crowd smile.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 26, 2018, with the headline 'Crowd Lu stays loveable'. Print Edition | Subscribe