A blessing to my ears, a healing to my soul. Seeing A-Lin once again made me fall in love with her talent and personality, even more so than before.
The wait was finally over! After a 7 year wait, A-Lin has returned down under with A-Link With Passengers tour in Melbourne on Friday the 6th October at Margaret Court Arena. I was lucky enough to catch her in 2016 when she brought down her SONAR World Tour, and loved the fact that her growth over the last few years meant that she came back to a bigger venue.
As an Amis Aboriginal, A-Lin started the show with ‘Sololen Kako Ina’ and ‘ROMADIW’ inspired by the Amis culture and language before hyping up the crowd to stand and sing along to ‘A Big Big Hug (大大的擁抱)’ which had the audience happily clapping in unison. The solo version of ‘920’ meant that the audience turned themselves into Xiao Yu and sang along to the other half of the song in his absence. The Melbourne crowd took time to warm up to the upbeat songs, so A-Lin jokingly commented, “Only this front part of the audience is on their feet, is it because everyone likes ballads only? Should I leave the stage? Should I update my entire setlist?”, which gained loud cheers and replies from the audience.
So, A-Lin gave the Melbourne patrons what they wanted, a series of her slower songs: ‘Moment of Romance (天若有情)’, ‘You Are My Song (你是我的歌)’, ‘Loneliness Doesn’t Hurt (寂寞不痛)’ and ‘Before, After (以前，以後)’ which earned the first set singalongs of the night.
A pre-recorded video played while A-Lin changed for the next segment, talking about her struggle at one point regarding gaining approval from people and worried that people did not like her music. Even as a pre-recorded video, loud screams of support and love were sent back to A-Lin.
When she returned to the stage in a stunning white dress, she also brought her debut track and hit ballad, ‘Lovelorn, Not Guilty (失戀無罪)’ which she has performed 2676 times including this night in Melbourne. The audience sang so loudly that A-Lin left a chorus just for the crowd to sing while she happily pranced around on the stage, listening to her fans sing her own song back at her. Overwhelmed by emotions, she praised the Melbourne audience and requested for a glass of champagne to calm her nerves, which she gulped in one shot; gaining laughs from the crowd with how down to earth she is.
A-Lin performed almost nonstop for 3 hours continuously, but my personal favourite moment of the show would be the ballad segment where her beautiful and powerful vocals reigned through songs such as ‘Blame (我怨)’, ‘What Comes After Happiness (幸福了然後呢)’, and ‘Best Friend (摯友)’. A-Lin even laughed and admitted that she found it funny that the crowd was clearly more hyped up from the ballad love songs compared to her actual upbeat pop tracks.
A-Lin explained that many of her fans know her through music and the reason behind her tour name, A-Link With Passengers is her wish to link her music to her fans and their daily lives. She warmly shared a story about one of her fans who always used to play her songs when she was on the way home from work, so her daughter knew she was going come home. Unfortunately, the daughter passed away, but her fan wrote her a letter thanking A-Lin for her music to still be a link to represent her love for her daughter.
This connected us with her next song, ‘有一種悲傷 (A Kind of Sorrow)’ which planted a seed in my heart and left me with a feeling of heartache and emptiness. I was surprised how this song resonated, as the entire arena was silent, respectful, and the only focus was on A-Lin’s impactful and emotion filled vocals.
After a quick outfit change into something hipper and more futuristic, A-Lin came back to deliver a mind-blowing dance segment with ‘Michael Go (麥擱貢)’, ‘Dancing in the Sky (一舞鍾情)’, ‘Anti-Perfect (不屑完美)’, and ‘Gentlewoman’. My highlight of this segment was her loving tribute to Coco Lee’s ‘刀馬旦 (Dow Ma Dan)’, thanking her for leaving us amazing music, performances and being able to continue to inspire others with her work. This was quickly followed by a performance of ‘我心已打烊 (My Heart Is Closed)’ which had the whole arena following along to the addictive and fun choreography.
A-Lin did leave some of her best hits for her last segment, and the Melbourne audience transformed a beautiful starry ocean to accompany the likes of ‘Rare (難得)’ and ‘Good Friend’s Blessing (好朋友的祝福)’. Sitting down on the side on stairs with only a spotlight upon her, A-Lin sang ‘What Did You Take Away (拿走了什麼)’ but comedically forgot the lyrics and restarted the song, which gained lots of heartfelt laughter from the crowd.
That being said, her second attempt was heavenly, engaging and elegant. Another crowd favourite, ‘P.S. I Love You (P.S. 我愛你)’ had the Melbourne audience singing louder than before, paired with A-Lin throwing a lot of hearts throughout the venue. This was followed by this year’s 34th Golden Melody Awards winning work ‘盡情旋轉 (Turn)’ before she exited the stage.
At this point, loud cheers of encore echoed through Margaret Court Arena and A-Lin returned to take song requests from fans. The arena erupted into chaos with fans screaming from every corner to be the lucky fans picked by A-Lin to wish for their favourites to be heard. We heard snippets of ‘Love, How Should I Go? (請問愛怎麼走)’, ‘Best Actor (最佳男主角)’, ‘We Will Be Better (我們會更好的)’, and ‘Four Seasons (四季)’. The best being ‘I Am Busy (我很忙)’ where she started the song too high and struggled to hit the high notes by the end of the chorus, which was sweetly endearing and hilarious.
Witnessing the never ending song requests from the crowd, A-Lin switched it up to pick lucky fans to sing with her instead. The microphone was passed around while fans sung to ‘Forget Love (忘記擁抱)’ and ‘Give Me a Reason to Forget (給我一個理由忘記)’ which gradually became an arena wide fun singalong. To my surprise, the very last song of the night was a cover of F.I.R.’s ‘Crescent Bay (月牙灣)’ before A-Lin took her final bow and thanked the Melbourne fans once again.
I was utterly impressed and was extremely happy leaving the venue. My heart was filled with nostalgia and joy after listening to so many songs live that I have loved for years. Throughout her 17-year career, she has made a mark on so many fans through her love of music. I was also reminded of just how down to earth A-Lin is, how gracefully carefree she carries herself and how much she truly loves what she does.
I’m very excited to see what next projects the 34th Golden Melody Awards Best Mandarin Female Singer will bring us next. Let’s just hope it doesn’t take another 7 years before she returns to Australia.
A-Lin performed in Australia as part of of her A-Link With Passengers Tour proudly presented by CK Star Entertainment and Live Nation Australia, with the final Australian show of the tour, the Melbourne concert, taking place on Friday the 6th of October 2023 at Margaret Court Arena.
For more information, visit:
Photography by Lachy Sprouts.