Fri-Sun, 8pm, Coliseum
You know there's something wrong with the economy when the government stages a music festival. Usually so hostile to the notion of people enjoying themselves with loud music, our ruling authorities have long shied away from such large-scale events, preferring to stick to the business of obfuscating and delaying plans for universal suffrage and instead corralling us into the safety of LCSD-controlled venues for ballets, operas and orchestras.
Hong Kong's economy was stricken with Sars the last time they took a serious punt on popular music - and so we found ourselves on Victoria Harbour gyrating to Prince and the Rolling Stones, among a few others, in one of the few genuinely ambitious outdoor music events that the government has had anything to do with in recent years. But what did that lead to? Cost overruns, poor attendance, and an independent panel of inquiry. Whoops.
So this time, still smarting from the 'great recession', we have a much safer bet: Summer Pop. Over the weekend, we get three nights of grand-scale Canto-pop, featuring some of the biggest names in the business: Joey Yung, Ekin Cheng, Big Four (Dicky Cheung, Andy Hui, Edmond Leung, and William So), and Grasshopper. Canto-pop, indoors, in the Hong Kong Coliseum. It's a guarantee sell-out. You can't get a surer bet on 'the arts' than that - but at least the government (via the Tourism Board) is turning its attention and dollars to a music event. What to look forward to?
More of hunky Cheng, who's been more film star than pop star in the past decade after a long enforced lay-off courtesy of his label EEG; the razzle-dazzle of now-veteran Yung's love-song-heavy set; the talent-first, looks-later boy band Grasshopper, still holding it together 26 years after they first formed; and super-group Big Four, who do a good line in goofy humour, dousing their live shows with a fair spray of self-mockery.
It'll be fun, it'll be glitzy, and it'll be hugely popular. It might even be enough to shift our attention from the economy.
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