Tour to end

Pop star Jacky Che­ung pre­pares to end a gru­el­ing two-year tour with a 15-show stint in Hong Kong, Chen Nan re­ports.

China Daily (USA) - - FRONT PAGE - Con­tact the writer at chen­nan@chi­nadaily.com.cn

Singer Jacky Che­ung, 57, will con­clude two-year global ad­ven­ture

Walk­ing down onto the stage through a thick cloud of smoke and loud mu­sic and to a wave of cheers from the ap­pre­cia­tive au­di­ence, Jacky Che­ung makes his grand en­trance at a Hong Kong ho­tel ball­room.

“I’m still in the mood for these shows,” the 57-year-old Che­ung an­nounces with a big smile.

He came clad in a bright pink jacket, sil­ver turtle­neck shirt and white pants. Che­ung is one of Hong Kong’s big­gest pop stars and has been on his world tour since 2016.

Af­ter 191 shows around the globe, he will fi­nally close The Clas­sic Tour, with 15 shows at the Hong Kong Coli­seum from Jan 11 to 29, 2019.

As he toasted the crew mem­bers who have joined him on his globe-trot­ting ad­ven­ture over the past two years, in­clud­ing art di­rec­tor Yee Chung-man and mu­sic di­rec­tor Goh Kheng Long, Che­ung was full of en­thu­si­asm, while chok­ing back tears of emo­tion.

“I of­ten got stressed dur­ing the tour be­cause lots of things tended to hap­pen. Ev­ery week, we would re­peat the same pro­ce­dure and do the same things to­gether,” he says. “How­ever, I was al­ways re­freshed when I went out on the stage. I prac­ticed my singing at home be­fore the tour be­gan, but it never feels the same as when I sing in front of 10,000 fans.”

The singer has made head­lines while per­form­ing his sold-out shows, but not, as you would ex­pect, for his stel­lar per­for­mances. More than 20 peo­ple wanted by po­lice have been ar­rested at his con­certs in the last six months, in­clud­ing a dozen peo­ple who were ap­pre­hended at his show in Xianyang, Shaanxi prov­ince, on Sept 30.

While fans give credit to Che­ung’s wide pop­u­lar­ity, which ap­peals to peo­ple of dif­fer­ent ages and all walks of life, the singer says that po­lice re­lied mainly on fa­cial recog­ni­tion soft­ware to catch the crim­i­nals and that “they would be caught by po­lice any­way, and that could hap­pen any­where, like in a su­per­mar­ket or at a con­cert.”

He said: “We just need to do the right thing.”

It’s not the first time that Che­ung has em­barked on a long and gru­el­ing tour sched­ule. Back in 1995, he had held his record-break­ing 100-show world tour. Then, in 2010, Che­ung started the Jacky Che­ung 1/2 Cen­tury World Tour, which has a Guin­ness World Records’ en­try for “the largest com­bined au­di­ence of a live act in a year”. Be­tween De­cem­ber 2010 and De­cem­ber 2011, Che­ung en­ter­tained more than 2 mil­lion peo­ple at more than 140 shows across 61 cities in China, the United States, Sin­ga­pore, Malaysia and Aus­tralia.

“I pre­pared my­self well for the long tour and what made The Clas­sic Tour spe­cial is that I made so many plans for it, such as the song list, the danc­ing, the cos­tumes and the stage set,” he ex­plained.

Re­fer­ring to the afore­men­tioned crew, he added: “Those peo­ple helped me bring my vi­sion to stage, which was not easy.”

As you would ex­pect, the mu­sic has been the high­light of the tour. Though, while the au­di­ence know his songs well enough, Che­ung of­fered his au­di­ence new ar­range­ments and adapted some of his per­for­mances into a type of mu­si­cal, an art form which has long been a fas­ci­na­tion of the singer.

In 1997, he was the art di­rec­tor of, and played the lead­ing role in, the ground­break­ing Can­tonese Broad­way-style mu­si­cal, en­ti­tled Snow.Wolf.Lake, which was en­thu­si­as­ti­cally re­ceived by both au­di­ences and crit­ics. Af­ter more than 40 con­sec­u­tive full-house per­for­mances at the Hong Kong Coli­seum, he adapted the mu­si­cal and pre­miered a Man­darin ver­sion in Bei­jing in 2004.

“I love var­i­ous styles of per­for­mance, which is in my na­ture. Al­though I am ap­proach­ing 60, I still want to try some­thing new. It’s a way to sur­prise my­self and to be dif­fer­ent,” he says.

Start­ing his ca­reer af­ter win­ning a singing con­test in 1984, Che­ung quickly be­came one of the big­gest Canto-pop stars, and is called “heav­enly king” by his lo­cal fol­low­ers.

In 1993, 4 mil­lion copies of Che­ung’s al­bum, The Good­bye Kiss, were sold in Asia and, so far, he has nearly 70 al­bums un­der his belt, which have cu­mu­la­tively sold more than 60 mil­lion copies world­wide.

His ca­reer hit a rough patch in 1988, when his Can­tonese al­bum,

Dream in Grief, sold less than 10,000 copies and a year later, the singer started to act in films to make ends meet. How­ever, it wasn’t all that bad, win­ning two “best sup­port­ing ac­tor” awards — first at the 8th Hong Kong Film Awards for his role in As Tears Go By (1989) and later re­ceiv­ing the Golden Horse for his role in Swords­man in 1990.

Un­like in his younger days, which were gov­erned by tight sched­ules for record­ing and re­leas­ing al­bums and act­ing in movies, Che­ung now con­cen­trates on his mu­sic per­for­mance and his fam­ily life.

He likes be­ing ex­pres­sive on stage and en­joys the lime­light, but af­ter that, he re­turns home and lives a sim­ple life, spend­ing time with his fam­ily and watch­ing TV dra­mas.

“We thank our fam­ily an­ces­tors for the good things that hap­pen, such as a suc­cess­ful ca­reer. I am lucky be­cause I love per­form­ing and I have a tal­ent for it,” says Che­ung. “Peo­ple asked me, ‘What’s next af­ter you fin­ish the 15 shows in Hong Kong?’ Well, I still want to tour, and I still have new ideas. I think about singing on stage for­ever, but I guess it de­pends on the def­i­ni­tion of for­ever.”

What made The Clas­sic Tour spe­cial is that I made so many plans for it, such as the song list, the danc­ing ...”

Jacky Che­ung, Hong Kong pop star

PHO­TOS PRO­VIDED TO CHINA DAILY

Above and above left: One of the best-sell­ing singers from Hong Kong, 57-year-old Jacky Che­ung will con­clude his The Clas­sic Tour in Jan­uary with 15 per­for­mances at the Hong Kong Coli­seum. Kick­ing off in Bei­jing in Oc­to­ber 2016, the tour has brought 191 shows world­wide so far.

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