In a rollercoaster of emotions providing a night blessed by soulful vocals. Gary Chaw (曹格) brought his Crazy For Live World Tour to Melbourne’s Festival Hall on Friday 1st December. This is my second time seeing Gary, and to my surprise, the first time was 11 years ago back in 2012 for his Sensation World Tour.
Upon arriving, I found the concert venue intimate and cozy, complete with long white lightsticks distributed to every seat. It was in that moment it hit me, every other show I have seen prior at Festival Hall had been standing events, so the seating set up was new to me. After getting comfortable, I eagerly waited for Gary Chaw’s concert to begin.
No fancy introduction was needed as Gary took the stage and immediately filled Festival Hall with his captivating voice with the song ‘Mr. Lonely (寂寞先生)’ before jazzing it up with ‘3-7-20-1’, ‘Hollywood (荷里活)’ and ‘Wake Up Song (起床歌)’.
After a quick hello to the excited Melbourne crowd, Gary needed to confirm an important question; which language should he speak in? The multilingual singer-songwriter suggested Mandarin, Cantonese, English, Hakka, and Malay, flexing his language ability before the crowd voted in cheers with Mandarin Chinese taking the win.
He introduced ‘Mask (面具)’ as a song he wrote after being eliminated from The Chinese version of The Masked Singer back in 2015, explaining that life is full of decision making and that a decision made in that moment doesn’t truly have a right or wrong, only time can tell if the choice made has a positive impact on your life. I also loved the emotions evoked from ‘Palm (掌紋)’ and his song devoted to the person who loved him the most in life, ‘Grandpa (爺爺)’.
Gary shared with the Melbourne audience that he doesn’t think of himself as a musician, rather he’s just someone who really loves music; he isn’t someone who sings well, simply someone who loves singing. Although, I certainly don’t agree with this statement as he is blessed with such heavenly vocals.
Gary found this opportunity to share some of his own favourite songs that has inspired him through life consisting of A-Yue/Ayal Komod’s ‘Love Me, Don’t Go (愛我別走)’, Winnie Hsin’s ‘Scent (味道)’ and Faye Wong’s ‘I’m Willing (我願意)’ which fans cleverly changed lyrics from “I’m willing to change everything for you” to “I’m willing to change everything for Gary” which inspired a very impressed smile from the man himself. These songs were clearly classics as every person in the crowd sang along loudly to them with glee.
Fans also learnt that when his son, Joe, was a baby, Gary always sung The Carpenters’ ‘Close To You’ that always soothed him from crying; and I didn’t doubt Gary after hearing how affectionate, soothing and comforting his cover was.
After a quick outfit change, Gary was back with a cheeky and fun performance of ‘SUPERMAN’ and ‘Life is Beautiful (美麗人生)’, followed by his iconic duet ‘Liang Shanbo and Juliet (梁山伯與茱麗葉)’ which was sung with fans and by fans as the microphone was passed around in the Melbourne crowd. As someone who has loved this song for a long time, I was very happy to obtain such a fun memory and for Gary Chaw’s next visit, I’ll be sure to I add this song to my karaoke repertoire and playlist.
The fan interaction did not end there as Gary continued by bringing three lucky fans on stage to accompany him to the song ‘Two Lovers (兩隻戀人)’ which turned out to be one of the most memorable and comical moments of the night. I never expected to laugh so hard at a love song, but this was ticked off my list.
Admittedly, I have a weakness for Cantopop. So, when Gary brought out his Cantopop segment dedicated to classics I’ve heard as a child, I was filled with emotions and nostalgia. Leslie Cheung’s ‘Chase (追)’ and Justin Lo’s ‘Men’s Karaoke (男人KTV)’ really threw me down memory lane. I also loved that he hyped up the sponsor segment, encouraging fans to cheer to bring him back to Australia and have the organizers bring down more artists which I found was the most engaging I’ve ever seen of any artist before Gary performed his “last song” ‘Betrayal (背叛)’ which conjured such a loud singalong from the happy Melbourne audience.
Without a doubt, a loud call for an encore erupted and Gary quickly returned to the stage with favourite performance of the night, Beyond’s ‘Boundless Oceans, Vast Skies (海闊天空)’. The energy, the crowd’s singing and Gary’s passion combined was all perfect! You could truly see Gary’s love for music radiate up on the stage and how much he shines doing what he loves. His interactions with his band and the joy exhibited from his band members also really made my night, especially his talented bassist Da Tou (大頭).
Gary Chaw passionately explained his love for Wong Ka Kui’s music, how there are lots of hidden gems in Cantonese music, and that we should really expand the music we listen to. As someone who believes that music is borderless and that emotions and melodies are the most important part of music, I found myself sitting and nodding in agreement with his statement before he serenaded us with the beautiful song ‘The Only You In The World (世界唯一的你)’.
I was pleasantly surprised that Gary chose to end the night with two English songs; Adele’s ‘Someone Like You’ and Wiz Khalifa’s ‘See You Again’. But these two tracks wrapped up the night wonderfully and was evidence that Gary can sing anything.
The Melbourne Crazy For Live World Tour concert was an event dedicated to music and music only. Gary had no need for dual screens, intricate lighting displays, nor pre-recorded videos like most other concerts tend to offer. Gary’s outfit changes were simple and quick, which left you not waiting long and craving for his exquisite voice and the beautiful sounds of the music he chose to perform. It was a perfect song selection in an intimate setting and this concert, together with Gary’s talents, provided everything required to create a gorgeous musical safe haven where we focused purely on the man himself.
Gary Chaw’s Crazy For Live World Tour concert in Melbourne made for such a beautiful night filled with many touching moments, fantastic singing, excellent songs, and lots of laughter. I believe I even heard Gary shout “See you next year!” as he was leaving the stage. So, let’s just hope it doesn’t take another 11 years before he decides to come back to Australia.
Proudly presented by ACY Live, Gary Chaw’s Crazy For Live World Tour Melbourne show was held on Friday the 1st of December at Festival Hall.
For more information on Gary Chaw and ACY Live, visit:
Photography by VISPENN.