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.
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
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.