Visual feast, but bland ballads

Della Ding Dang.
Della Ding Dang.



Singapore Indoor Stadium

Last Saturday

In live performances, Chinese singer Della Ding Dang's voice is technically brilliant - it is bright and glorious, with an impressive range. But it lacks personality, somehow failing to carry across much emotion or nuance.

At her second solo concert here last Saturday, which was attended by 5,000 fans, she was once again wonderful, powerful and, for the most part, pretty much the same.

The vocals were rich, strong and confident. Even when belting out high notes, she was almost always on key.

But despite the tension in her singing, there was also a monotony. From soft to loud - and often back to soft again - her many ballads occupied the 21/2- hour concert and grew slightly tiresome after a while.

She would have done better to express the nuances - the tenderness, vulnerability and heartbreak, which most of her songs are about - instead of letting the lyrics do all the work.

Thankfully, she did jazz up the proceedings a little with a few fast numbers, such as Crazy In Love and The Wild Animal, and boy, can she dance.

Dubbed the Queen of Drama Theme Songs, the 32-year-old opened with Palm, a theme song from the 2013 Chinese period drama Prince Of Lan Ling.

Against a backdrop of falling rose petals, she stood among the petals of a giant red rose. In a sparkling, jewel-encrusted white dress, she exuded an ethereal, fairy-like quality.

She used the stage set-up - both ends had walkways leading to a smaller stage at the centre of the venue - to get closer to the audience during a medley of Break Up, It's Alright If The Whole World Can't Understand and Freedom.

Waving to the audience and bantering with them, and gamefully posing for photos, Ding Dang was ever the showman.

There were magical moments, such as when she floated high above the audience in a suspension seat in the shape of a sphere, wistfully singing One Half.

During Involuntarily, a string of lights appeared like a beautiful constellation of stars revolving around her.

With the show's good production values and four costume changes, there was plenty for the eyes. If only it had been as much of a delight for the ears.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 29, 2016, with the headline 'Visual feast, but bland ballads'. Print Edition | Subscribe