Debut show hits high notes

YP cadet Haruka Nuga
YP cadet Haruka Nuga |

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The full-house crowd at AsiaWorld-Expo Arena erupted into loud applause and cheers on June 26. Yui Yoshioka, a 24-year-old Japanese singer-songwriter, better known as Yui, was giving her first foreign show here in Hong Kong, and the response was massive.

"I've always received a lot of messages and comments through my website especially from my fans and I've always wanted to come to Hong Kong," Yui told Young Post.

The Hotel Holidays in the Sun Live 2011 concert kicked off with a bang, as Yui and her band performed Again, a song best known as one of the theme tunes for the Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood anime series.

After some lively pop rock tracks, the evening turned acoustic as Yui played How Crazy to calm the crowd. Despite the language barrier and some difficulties in keeping up with the Japanese lyrics, fans were still energetic and responded enthusiastically after every song.

"I don't know why they like my songs despite the linguistic differences," she explained. "But I've always sung from my heart and I like to think that my fans feel that too."

What made the concert even more entertaining was the humorous interaction between Yui and local celebrity, Eric Kot, who made a guest appearance. The pair conversed - each in their own language - and Kot sang and danced along to Shake My Heart, thoroughly amusing the audience.

There was a great mixture of songs from her first three albums but mainly from her fourth and latest album, Holidays in the Sun. The stage lighting complemented the songs well, and the fireworks and confetti launched were crowd-pleasers.

As the fans chanted her name, calling Yui back for multiple encores, it was hard to predict what Yui's last song would be. After she sang Gloria, another hit single from her latest studio album, she took a bow with her band mates.

It seemed as if that was the end of the extravaganza, but then the starlet spoke a few humbling words about her journey as a musician. Referring to the live street performances she'd given in her hometown of Fukuoka before finding fame, she wanted her audience to experience her roots.

She had a special message for teenagers who want to pursue music, advising "if you love to do it, pursue it. But just make sure you'll have no regrets." Yui sat at the edge of the stage with a single spotlight upon her as the crowd silently listened to an acoustic guitar solo of Goodbye Days, the absolute last song of the night.

This may have been Yui's first live overseas concert, but the standard of music - and the fan response - was worthy of any long-established fan.