SINGAPORE - For a vocalist whose voice has been said to lack character and emotion, Chinese singer Della Ding Dang showed plenty of personality during her 21/2-hour performance at The Star Theatre on Saturday (April 21), as part of her 10th anniversary concert tour.
She used her powerful and technically brilliant voice to good effect, letting it quiver with sorrow at times or ring with passionate defiance at others.
This took the 3,500-strong audience through an emotional journey of heartbreak, picking up the pieces and growing stronger - common themes in her songs - as well as the trials and tribulations she has experienced as a singer since her debut.
Having seen the 35-year-old perform here several times, it is great to see the songbird grow in confidence and develop her own style, changing from a fledgling singer supported by her labelmates, Taiwanese rock band Mayday, to forging her own identity as the "Queen of Love Ballads".
Effusing charisma and showmanship from the get-go, she got the audience on its feet with her vivacious opening number Give Me One Love, against a projected underwater backdrop of bubbles, rotating starfish, spinning hearts and a mermaid version of herself.
It was a far cry from her first performance at the Taipei Arena as a guest singer for a Mayday concert, where she recalled she was so nervous that her teeth chattered uncontrollably.
During last Saturday's show, she was much more relaxed and sure of herself, often reining in her voice instead of letting it go.
Even during one of her signature numbers, I Am A Little Bird, she refrained from belting its concluding high note several times - not because she could not, but because she could still evoke feelings without having to. She did let it all out though at the end, after several false endings.
Sticking to just one outfit for the whole show, she eschewed much of the bells and whistles of her previous performances and let her music speak for itself.
And, for the most part, it worked. One standout segment was a sit-down set where she some recalled memorable events - such as her first meet-the-fans session here at Bugis Junction in 2010, and when she once fell onstage during a concert in Taiwan - interspersed with songs picked from various stages of her career.
Perched on a bar stool, she saw no need for snazzy choreography. It was just her and her music.
Another high point was when home-grown singer Kit Chan, who was in the audience, went onstage to compliment Ding Dang's singing chops and enchanting stage presence. Coming from a singer as accomplished as Chan, that was high praise indeed.