Concert review: Ronald Cheng's concert had an honesty and humility seldom seen at shows

Despite the odd missed cue, Ronald Cheng's strong, on-pitch vocals held steady throughout, even when he walked around the ballroom to shake hands with fans.
Despite the odd missed cue, Ronald Cheng's strong, on-pitch vocals held steady throughout, even when he walked around the ballroom to shake hands with fans.PHOTO: LOVELIVE CULTURE

SINGAPORE - From his childhood to family ups and downs, Cantopop singer-actor Ronald Cheng covered it all at his solo concert at the Resorts World Ballroom last Saturday.

The 47-year-old, who previously performed here at a 2009 concert with Hong Kong singer William So, took the 3,200-strong crowd through his life journey, showing old photos from his growing up years and early career.

The Taiwan-born performer, who married former TV news anchor Sammie Yu in 2011, also seems to be enjoying a blissful marriage.

After mentioning his wife during the show, he sang the song Luckiness, with lyrics such as "I can be brave to make you happy / embracing - floating or sinking - together is more attractive to me than money". The couple have two children - Emma, 8, and Evan, 4.

And what of his career?

Between songs, a clip of Cheng winning Best Supporting Actor at 2013's Hong Kong Film Awards - among his greatest acting achievements - was aired.

Many fellow Hong Kong stars such as Jacky Cheung, Gigi Leung and Kelly Chen, also made appearances through video clips.

But in a change of tone, the concert also featured part of a newspaper article about Cheng going berserk in 2000 during a flight from Los Angeles to Taipei, intoxicated with whisky and champagne. When a flight stewardess refused to serve him more alcohol, he reportedly put her in a headlock and also attacked other crew members.

The sordid incident hijacked Cheng's career in the 2000s. But instead of brushing it under the carpet, Cheng acknowledged it during the concert, giving the show an honesty and humility seldom seem in similar razzle-dazzle affairs.

Not that there was a shortage of glitz, with Cheng's princely all-white opening outfit, four costume changes and two spectacular confetti showers.

Despite the odd missed cue, his strong, on-pitch vocals held steady throughout, even when he walked around the ballroom to shake hands with fans.

What was lacking were several Mandarin numbers which made him popular in his early years.

Out of the almost 25 songs sung, only three were in Mandarin - Never Mention (I) Love You, Lovesickness Is Useless and Don't Love Me. Where was the famous Your Eyes Betray Your Heart?

Cheng, clearly, is far from perfect. He makes mistakes. He has flaws. But, at least from this revealing, candid concert, he is open about his shortcomings.

It is perhaps fitting that his closing song, Rascal, goes: "but still only you love me, this useless person / you are willing to endure mistakes".