Las Vegas Rundown:
1.愛上一個不回家的人/2. 夜太黑/3. 心野夜/4. 埃及玫瑰/5. 沒結果之後/6. 灰色/7. 燒/8. 柿子/9. 為你我受冷風吹/10. 聽說愛情回來過/11. “Love, Sandy” Medley (影子情人 / 知難不退 /這些那些 / 傷痕)/12. 當愛已成往事/13. 好人–側田/14. 三十日–側田/15. 男人KTV–側田/16.傾斜17. 講多錯多/18. 醒醒/19. 一分鐘都市一分鐘戀愛/20. 推搪/21. 逃離鋼筋森林/22. 瘋了/Encore: 23. 鏗鏘玫瑰/24. Have Yourself A Marry Little Christmas/25. 至少還有你
(Pictures taken at the MGM Grand, Las Vegas, on Dec 24, 2011) I’m seeing Sandy Lam live in Las Vegas on 12/24 and San Francisco on 12/26. Once I purchased the tickets the anticipation is unbearable. I cannot believe it’s been 26 years since I bought her debut album, a cassette tape, in 1985. Sandy Lam has always been a part of me, a part of my adolescence, growing up, coming out, and simply, living. She earned her first dollar as a DJ, known as 611 in the airwave, with Commercial Radio in Hong Kong. She was then aged between fifteen and seventeen. It was around this time that she signed an artist contract with CBS Sony, becoming known in pop-music industry as Sandy Lam.
Because of the marginal position of alternative/contemporary pop (more artistic, vocal technique-oriented) in the Hong Kong society, she is now probably known, certainly born after 1990, more as an almost archetypal figure of show biz tragedy than as a pop artist. (By the way, this is meant to be a compliment.) It didn’t help that her repertoire comprised what were then largely pop songs which, like most pop songs of all eras, were often churned out and never meant to have much of a life beyond a few weeks’ eager rotations on the radio, despite her strong position to command even the least popular of the songs. At least, to the consolation of many of her fans and I, her lesser known sidetracks have carried on and become our beloved favorites, that define different stations of my life.
Yet a few months after the new millennium, when “the best of” polls ran rife almost in every niche thereof, music critics in Hong Kong and Asia were moved to describe her as unquestionably one of the most important influence on Chinese popular singing of the previous twenty years. What was it about her singing that made them say that? Like some of the greatest international pop-stars, Sandy often takes liberties with written-down melodies, modifying them in subtle ways, rendering them more emotionally effective and more her own. To some extent, she is making the best of an already-wide vocal range which, even at her most supple and robust, is probably at least fifteen notes. You’ll never hear her sing the same song even if it’s the same song taken from the album.
A soprano, but her musicianship is greater than the sum of its parts as these might be identified by a musicologist. What lifts her at her best above almost everybody else in her field (except Faye Wong) is the presence in her singing of genuine emotion without artifice. There are musically purer, smoother, silkier, more perfect voices, but they don’t have the capacity to make you feel the singer’s emotional intention within the song as easily as hers do. And she does this with bright, up-tempo, happy, or sexy songs in the first half of her careers (CBS Sony, Warner Music, Capital 1985-1994) just as much as she does with the now far better known melancholy songs she chooses in the second half of her career (Rock, Virgin, Gold Label, EMI), which has primarily targeted Mandarin-speaking markets.
There are many senses in which I shouldn’t even know about her. Two years after her debut I moved to San Francisco. The eight concerts she held in Hong Kong (1991, 1993, 1996, 2002, 2004–with Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra, 2005, 2007, and 2011) I attended only the first two. I saw her at Lake Tahoe in 2006 and San Diego in 2008. Why am I talking to you about Sandy Lam, besides the fact that she is my only pop diva? That this is a book blog probably isn’t appropriate to talk about music, but I think you can tell a lot about people from what is important to them. Do they like art? What kind of art? How much do they like it, and why? Where did the liking come from? Provide the answers to these questions and you will have gone a long way toward revealing much of yourself. Ultimately, for all the expert criticism in the world, the test of something as subjective as music or literature or even a relationship, as my favorite novelist E.M. Forster put it, our affection for it. And conversely, the test of us is that for which we have affection. That is why you are apt to get upset when somebody you care about does not share your taste in music or movies or literature. If I am a pod, the peas in this pod would be literature and Sandy Lam’s music.
Many of her songs that I like most are not the ones the critics praise, nor are they No.1 hits. They are songs that stroke my heart and evoke memories, both happy and sad, in my life. You can neither find fault with her performance nor expect new surprises. Sandy Lam is just one consistent performer, full of passion and emotion. Las Vegas was a great show, with a very play-safe rundown. I expect more sidetracks in San Francisco. Thank you Sandy for a wonderful concert—and I love your glamorous long hair!
Top 25 Most Played SLs: 1. 沒結果/2. 微雨撲巴黎/3. 破曉/4. 心野夜/5. 微涼/6. 多謝/7. 夢了/8. 哭/9. 早晨/10. 瘋了/11. 至少還有你/12. 赤裸的秘密/13. 滴汗/14. 一分鐘都市一分鐘戀愛/15. 一輩子心情/16. 沒有你 還是愛你/17. 野花/18. 願/19. 最佳男主角 (頒獎典禮後…At His Penthouse Suite)/20. 為何他會離開你/21. 黃昏/22. 誰像你好/23. 沒結果之後/24. 你是我的男人/25. 逃離鋼筋森林
Between some reading and prosecco, I’m living to Sandy all day up until and between her concerts.
Filed under: Hong Kong, Memory Lane, Mexico, Personal, Sandy Lam 林憶蓮, 林憶蓮 | Tagged: Music, Personal, Sandy Lam, 林憶蓮 | 6 Comments »