A sexy earth mother in her element

Sandy Lam's unique voice was powerful, warm and tender.
Sandy Lam's unique voice was powerful, warm and tender.PHOTO: ONE PRODUCTION

Hong Kong singer Sandy Lam energises fans with familiar hits



The Star Theatre

Last Saturday

If you loved Sandy Lam's hits from the 1990s, you would have had the time of your life at her latest concert.

About 5,000 fans saw the Hong Kong diva - who last performed here in 2012 - dig deep into her discography, bringing back many fan favourites. Her new works, however, were also not neglected.

She opened the show with the song Gaia behind a net-like screen, on which a montage of waves and planets was projected.

In a sleeveless, flowing white dress, long in the back and short in front, and white shorts that stopped way above the knees, she resembled the Greek goddess in the song's title, but edgier. She was the sexy earth mother, feminine and hip.

She looked amazing for a 50- year-old and sounded great too. Her voice swooped and swirled and was full of character - at times aching with heartbreak, at times gentle and melodious. Powerful and warm, it had a softness that was unmistakably hers.

In all, Lam sang five songs from her latest Mandarin album Gaia.

At her live performances, you do not need to worry that she will go out of tune or her voice will crack - it just does not happen.

Whether it was a soothing ballad or an energetic dance number, it almost always sounded like it was played from a CD.

The concert, which lasted about two hours and 50 minutes, marked the veteran's 30th anniversary in music and its title Pranava supposedly represented a "cosmic sound" or sound of the universe.

As she explained during the show: "In music, there is a lot of energy - it is up to you to use it. You might listen to a sad song, cry, get rid of the negative energy and feel better afterwards. Or you might hear a happy tune and it can magnify your positive energy."

The show certainly had a new-age feel, with segments themed around natural elements such as water, fire and wind.

The water segment was particularly enjoyable, with videos of water trickling and rain pouring down as Lam sang Street Of Temptation and Suffer For You.

After all, these ballads seemed so much more emotional and dramatic when sung under an umbrella amid pouring rain.

Far from being another lovesick balladeer, she showed she could hit the dance steps just as easily as the notes. During energetic numbers such as You Can't Have It Back and The Love You Gave Is Not Love, she showed off some nifty moves, accompanied by eight dancers strutting their stuff against psychedelic patterns of blue and pink.

Half the audience - those near the stage - got to their feet. Her energy, unfortunately, did not travel to the other half.

"Stand up and sing!", "How is the dancing?" she called out between verses.

If she wanted the audience off their seats, all she had to do was sing the classic love songs which they grew up listening to and loved her for.

This she did towards the show's end. From her 1995 album Love, Sandy, she performed four songs - Suffer For You, This And That, I Heard That Love Had Returned and Scar. That is almost half the album and I did not expect so much time to be given to an album released 21 years ago.

But the old songs had more than three-quarters of the audience standing up and waving their lightsticks or lit-up phones. And when she sang Scar, the concert practically turned into a giant karaoke room.

Mission accomplished.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 25, 2016, with the headline 'A sexy earth mother in her element'. Print Edition | Subscribe