Pop concert performance – an extinguished glamour ?

In theory, Hong Kong Coliseum is available for holding sports events. In practice, it gives Hong Kong pop singers an opportunity to earn ‘quick money’. Nearly more than eighty per cent of the events held in the Hong Kong Coliseum are pop song concerts or pop song competitions. Sports events are rarely held there. It seems that the problem cannot draw any attention from the public.

It was 8:00pm on Feb 12, 1997 in the Hong Kong Coliseum. Some people were finding their seats while some were going to washroom. Though there were four sides inside, only three sides were open for audience for the sake of the performance.
It was 8:25pm. The orchestra members, the chorus team and the musician director were ready for the show. They began to play the musical instruments. The audience could hear a man’s voice but where was he? Suddenly, a person was ascending from the basement of the stage. He was Alan Tam.
When the people were entering the Coliseum` a red pocket, which contained two cards, was given to the audience. One is a calendar of 1997 while the other contains the lyrics of Tam’s recent songs. Whenever the people attend a pop concert and whoever the singer is, they want to get as many as possible from the concert. In Tam’s concert in 1994, torches were distributed to everyone who went to the Coliseum. According to Tam’s schedule the next concert would be held in three years, what would be given to the audience in his concert in 2000?
Had the audience wanted excitement during the show, they would have been fairly disappointed that night. Tam claimed that in this concert emphasis was put on his songs, which were the main concern of the concert. He said, “In the past, glamorous light bulbs had been hung on the ceiling of the Coliseum, fireworks had been displayed and mechanical tools had been used. As soon as I’ve tried everything in my concert, what else can I do?” Yes, pop concerts in Hong Kong gave the audience an extraordinary visual and audible enjoyment through the past decade. When the audience was given a Benz model car, they would like to have a Ferrari model next time.
In Tam’s concert of 1989, a palace-style dance for the performance of ‘Flower in water’ (水中花) impressed the audience. The dancers dressed like housekeepers in palace. Also, several statues and a white piano were put on the stage to make scene more outstanding. In his concert of 1991, he invited some audience to play with him on the stage. Special clothing was given to people to wear in order to entertain others. Besides, there was a short opera in the 1991’s concert, in which Tam played a ‘youngster’ who developed his career in a wrong way and was shot dead finally. It was a new and creative attempt, for both Tam and the way pop concert goes. During this performance, however, he merely stood on the stage to sing for most of the time.
In Tam’s previous concerts, band players played the music. They were responsible for playing acoustic guitars, bass, keyboards, drums and electronic synthesizer. However, this time an orchestra was invited to play the music. Departing from the band sound and heavy metal, audience enjoyed a fresh and pure music background. Tam invited John Laudon and Lau Yee Tat to compose songs for him several years ago. The former was a member of a dissolved band ‘City Beat’ and the latter was the song composer of Tat Ming Pairs, a distinct and outstanding singing group. This created some impact upon the style of his albums and concerts during that period of time.
During the performance, some people gave flowers to Tam. In the past, bouquets of flowers in satellite-sized were often seen in Tam’s concert. Now only small bouquets of flowers were given to the singer. Being confined by the 3-sided stage, Tam could not go freely to every corner to shake hands with people. This was rarely seen during his concerts in the past. With a 4-sided stage, the ‘extension’ of the stage enabled Tam to run towards different sides to have a closer contact with the people.
Actually, what is the function of the TV placed high above the stage? It is used to make the audience sitting in the ‘peak’ to watch the show clearly. But is it really clear? The vision was somehow filtered by the screen. It sounds strange to have a TV. It is difficult for people to move their eyes to and fro between the stage and the TV. If they want to watch a live show, why do they need to watch the show through a TV?
During the process of preparation for the concert, Polygram (Tam’s record company) invited the public to fill in a voting list. The public needed to vote 30 favorite songs of Tam. This surely makes a ‘gimmick’ for Tam’s concert. Still, Tam did not sing all the voted songs during the show. Probably, there was a standard rundown for the show where most of the songs were selected beforehand.
It was 11:35pm. Tam had sung his last song for the show. Since it was not the last show, there was no ‘encore’ part. The audience was accustomed to the tradition. Usually when they attend the last show, they would ask the singer to ‘encore’ at 11:15pm. Now, Tam had left the stage. With all audience leaving the Coliseum, the light dimmed and the place fell into silence.
Outside the Coliseum, there were hawkers selling photos that were taken during the first show. “Forty dollars per photo … sixty dollars per photo …first show.” The voices of hawkers lowered …… People were hurrying home after the show. Did anyone pay for the photos?
1997.3.14
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About Eternity of words

在抒情和抗爭之間遊走。 曾獲香港青年文學獎小說獎,以筆名「心頁」創作新詩,作品散見於《香港文學 》、《秋螢詩刊》(復活號)、《詩++》及《聲韻詩刊》 等。 著有詩集《中女情懷總是詩》 及《抒情的抗爭》。
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