Good But Not Great

[ 24-02-2005 ]

IT was like Sam Hui was going for the record books.
His concert was outstanding in terms of length, size of audience, number of guest artistes, and expensive ticket prices. He would also probably qualify as most talkative performer ever!


Having said that, did the Sam Hui Live in Malaysia 2005 gig at the Bukit Jalil Outdoor Stadium last weekend live up to all the hype?

Not quite. In fact, those who went to his concert, which was presented by Da Ma Cai and organised by Galaxy Productions and the Sunway Group last weekend, had a few grouses.

Yes, we all love Sam Hui (as seen from the 50,000 strong audience from diverse age groups and backgrounds).

Hui is, after all, a living legend who pioneered Canto pop with his inimitable brand of music.

Many of his songs are still favourites till today. He was even called the ‘God of Songs’ by his admirers and fans.

At 55, where many are taking it easy, home, Hui is still at large. His charisma has not waned, and last year, he created waves with his dramatic comeback concerts in Hong Kong. Those who were there then, thought it was very special. Having caught Hui’s concert at Hong Kong’s Coliseum I can attest to that. That magic was, somehow, not all there during his KL show.

Perhaps the distance from the stage affected the whole feel. Only the VIP, the RM380 and RM280 tickets holders were on the field where the stage was. The majority of the audience was seated so far away that they could only follow the action by watching video screens. Many might have felt uninvolved because of that.

Still, one must give it to Hui for effort. He was in top form physically – fit and trim with biceps to boost – and his stamina was impressive.

If only he did not talk so much! After every song Hui had the habit of making long-winded small talk.

It became quite tiresome towards the end of the show. Why couldn’t he just let the music speak for itself? Ever wonder why people appreciate singers like Jay Chou and Faye Wong more?

Anyway, the concert kicked off amidst deafening cheers and whistles as the theme song of Aces Go Places reverberated in the stadium.

However, there was slight confusion to where the star himself was at first.

Suddenly, there he was – Hui was riding on a scooter circling the track.

That delighted his fans, although at one point he lost his direction and headed towards the mobile toilets, but was directed back on track by the security.

Despite his superstar status, Hui was friendly and affable. He shook many hands and even went round the stadium presenting roses and scarves. He even planted kisses on the faces of his female fans!

The ‘God of Songs’ admitted that he was addicted to animal prints, especially leopard spots. That could be seen from the leopard print decor on stage. His costumes also used animal prints.

His first guest that night was our very own model/presenter, Soong Ai Ling, presumably chosen for her dimples as Hui sang Li Wo Chin Siew (Smile With a Dimple).

Ai Ling’s ‘job’ was however limited to walking on stage next to Hui, as her voice was not heard at all.

TVB actress Myolie Wu (Zoe in Astro’s series Triumph In The Skies) sang a duet with Hui but unfortunately, the sound system was out for almost a minute. Despite that, the two continued to sing as if nothing happened.

Things got more interesting when Hui’s second brother Ricky greeted the audience dressed as the God of Prosperity.

He was later joined by Hui’s youngest son Scott (also in a similar costume) to sing the auspicious Choy San Dou (God of Prosperity Arrives). Hui paid tribute to his idol Elvis Presley by imitating the ‘King’ clad in a glittering gold suit and a wig. He revealed he was a die-hard fan and boasted that he knew everything about the late rocker.

He was then joined by Ricky who was dressed as an older and plumper version of Presley.

The two then did some Chinese cover versions of some fast Elvis songs.

Ricky was definitely a hit with the audience. His routine of self-deprecating humour (“I’m so ugly, people get scared looking at me”), and pretending to be craving for applause – really worked.

Another highlight was when Hui’s eldest son Ryan (he’s quite a looker) joined him in a guitar jam plying songs like Guai Ma Suang Sing and Tsim Sa Tsui’s Susie.

Then, Scott joined them and did an impressive rendition of Tin Choy Yu Bak Chi (Genius and Idiot), which had some very fast and tongue twisting raps.

The audience was simply thrilled when father and sons sang the infectious Pun Kan Bat Liong (half kati eight ounces).

There was a nice make-believe romantic moment that had Hui, in a cowboy attire, singing Some Where Out There with singer-model Ella Koon as they sat on a mechanical zebra that glided along the stage.

The famed 12 Girls Band were next. They played a song from their new album Romantic Energy before accompanying Hui, on a few more songs.

Hui did not leave out his ‘Sam’s Angels’ which comprised 12 young female vocalists whom he has personally mentored. In angel costumes complete with wings, the ‘Angels’ presented I Will Follow Him and Eternal Flame.

Soon, many more Hui’s classic love songs such as Zi Xun (Paper Boat), Yan Cheong (Impression) and Nan Mong Nay (Hard to Forget You) were performed.

By about 11pm and more than 30 songs showcased, I felt as if the concert was never going to end.

Alas, the God of Songs showed no sign of calling it a night. “It’s still a long way to go! Stay on and I will treat you all fish head curry after this!’’ he joked.

By then, some of the spectators had left. They were outnumbered by his real fans though. Even at 11.35pm, the die-hearts were still screaming for more.

Hui gave three more songs (and more talk) before his final number, the beautiful Long Chi Sum Sing (The Voice Of A Vagabond).

In the end, we had a total of 40 songs covered within a span of three hours and 40 minutes. In a nutshell, it was like a concert of quantity and acceptable quality.

If only he was not so talkative

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