Anthony Wong Creativity Concert; Coliseum; May 30 There was a sense of finality about Anthony Wong Yiu-ming's People Mountain People Sea Creativity Concert, which marked the approaching end of Hong Kong's colonial era.
After Wong's rendering of Cheng Siu-chow's Yee Tin To Lung Chronicle, a 1980 hit but an odd choice to close the show, the lights dimmed and voices of local Canto-pop stars and politicians filled the Coliseum.
The pre-recording contained a series of 'post-97 wishes'. One singer came up with, 'I hope China will take over America', while Emily Lau Wai-hing's wish for more democratic progress had the full house cheering and applauding. Then it was time to leave. There was no encore or curtain call, just a lingering sense of nostalgia (for the past) and uncertainty (about the future).
Despite the venue, Wong's creativity concert was no ordinary Canto-pop show. It had no extravagant stage designs, no dramatic costume or fancy dancing. Instead, the multimedia show had plenty of good music, taste and biting wit.
Presented jointly by Commercial Radio and Topstar Music Maker, this was a re-staging of Wong's successful Arts Festival concerts last March. Once again, Wong teamed up with some talented artists from Zuni Icosahedron and other independent musicians.
While the choice of songs remained much the same, its jokes have been updated. For instance, in the Put Down . . . Can't Put Down music sketch, the performers tell the audience: 'Put down Apple Daily and can't put down your Wen Wei Po. ' There were also plenty of reference to Tamagotchi, the popular Japanese virtual pet.
Former Commercial Radio disc jockey Jan Lamb Hoi-fung made a guest appearance and sang a couple of his compositions.
What makes Wong's show a success is not only his excellent interpretations of songs from the past but its originality and daring attempts to poke fun at the absurdities of real life today. Creativity Concert is as much thought-provoking as it is entertaining.