Concert review: Yoga Lin in top form at Huayi festival after four-year absence from Singapore

Taiwanese singer Yoga Lin.
Taiwanese singer Yoga Lin.PHOTO: HIM INTERNATIONAL MUSIC

HUAYI 2017: YOGA LIN LIVE

Esplanade Concert Hall/Friday (Feb 3)

After waiting more than four years for Taiwan's Yoga Lin to return here for a concert, his fans were impatient to hear him live again. There was clearly much expectations , not to mention pent-up emotions - tickets for the 1,600-seat Esplanade Concert Hall gig sold out quickly.

Lin sure lived up to expectations in a thoroughly enjoyable show that hit all the right notes, proving that his one year away from show business to serve his mandatory military stint had done nothing to diminish his fine instrument of a voice.

Over the course of a close to two-hour-long concert, he rocked out, crooned and glided into his falsetto range effortlessly. He had his fans spellbound with silence one moment and then roaring with approval and up on their feet the next.

His latest record, Sell Like Hot Cakes (2016), was his fifth studio album of original material. Rather than focusing on that, he drew substantially from his discography - Fiction (2012), Perfect Life (2011), Senses Around (2009) and even his debut Mystery Guest (2008).

Even though the lyrics were not displayed as they usually are on monitors, fans chorused along and even chimed in perfectly on the last line of Wake Up: "I've been sleeping really badly, it's best if you move in."

One of the most moving moments came when Lin sang the ballad The Early Sunset, originally written for a fan who had died after a car accident. Accompanied by the plaintive strain of a cello, he conveyed a palpable sense of loss and devastation: "I didn't give you wings, why do you want to fly."

He could have just ticked off his sizable number of hits and his fans would have been satisfied. Instead, he chose to cover songs by others as well, demonstrating his chameleonic musicality and leaving his inimitable stamp on them all.

Rene Liu's Cheng Quan (Step Aside) took on an elegiac quality and built up to an emotionally overflowing finale. He also had fun with British band Blur's cheeky headbanger Song 2 - he strummed on an acoustic guitar to launch into the tune before blowing the track wide open with a full band accompaniment.

Given the time constraint - the concert was billed as 90-minute long - Lin did not spend too much time talking. When he did, his offbeat sense of humour came through. Noting that he could see everyone clearly when the house lights came on, he added: "I can tell that everybody washes their face well."

And when he found out that only a handful of fans had started listening to his music only in the past year, he quipped: "I guess that means I've been pretty popular."

He might have meant it ironically, but there was no doubt he was indeed popular. After the show, it took him an hour to autograph CDs for the line of about 500 fans which snaked about the venue.

bchan@sph.com.sg