Concert review: Jam Hsiao entertains with power vocals and theatrics



Singapore Indoor Stadium, Nov 24

Going into a Jam Hsiao concert, I was prepared for killer vocals. The Taiwanese Golden Melody Award-winning singer has always been known for his pipes, ever since his debut on reality singing competition One Million Star more than ten years ago.

His singing on Saturday night (Nov 24) was not without small flaws here and there, but it was powerful throughout. He reeled off six songs before he stopped for a brief talk segment.

At one point, near the end of a two and a half hour concert where he tore through power ballads and hit show-stopping high notes numerous times, he put down his microphone, took off his earpiece and sang his 2014 number The Song. There was an audible gasp of surprise and the crowd of 9,000 kept silent to hear him sing, wonderfully and clearly, without a microphone, at the Singapore Indoor Stadium.

A singer with this kind of chops can probably do a simple pared-down show, but Hsiao, true to the concert’s name, wants to be Mr Entertainer.

He was a dramatic performer who often lost himself in the songs. He threw his head back, he stamped his feet and he sprinted across the stage when the music pumped him up. He would open his arms wide and just listen to his live band play.

That sort of energy was almost disconcerting, as if he were in a trance, but it did elevate his performance to the level of theatre.

It helped that the stage was beautiful. The backdrop was a screen that opened up to reveal a three-by-three set-up, with classical musicians playing live in some of the nine boxes.

Hsiao, 31, who is a talented musician on top of being a singer, showed off his range by playing the piano and the drums, which had opened upthe world of music to him in his younger days.

I would have enjoyed the concert more if he sang more of the many covers he is known for, but he chose to focus on his original songs like Princess, Pi Nang and Miss You Forever. He left large portions of the lone cover, New Endless Love, for the audience to sing, first helping them get the pitch right. He then sang the harmony, which still made for a nice moment.

It was probably my favourite part of the concert as it had a lot of heart. His love for music, his enthusiastic fans and his spot-on musicians all came through strongly.

He was also great at interacting with his fans. He bantered with audience members when they asked him to throw his towel into the crowd and during the encore, he climbed up railings to get close to fans, taking selfies and shaking hands.

To me, Hsiao is one of the best Mandopop singers and, more importantly, one of the best performers of his generation.

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