Name me a better way to spend a day in May than seeing Mayday.
The legendary Taiwanese band finally returned to Australia after a long 5 year wait since their last tour in 2018. Despite the last-minute venue upgrade due to high demand, the arena was packed and Mayday conquered Rod Laver Arena with their Mayday Fly To 2023 (好好好想見到你) Tour on Friday the 12th of May.
The audience roared in excitement when the five members of Mayday (五月天); Ashin, Monster, Stone, Masa, and Guanyou took to the stage. They instantly had my adrenaline building when they belted out to ‘Eternal Summer (盛夏光年)’. It was at that moment that everything felt perfect, and I remembered why I adored this band so much. Listening to their music, I was immediately energized despite a long day at work and was ready for anything they were going to throw at me.
Mayday had the crowd going wild as they jumped and sung along to ‘Party Animal (派對動物)’ and the appropriately titled ‘Jump! The World (離開地球表面)’ bringing the excitement up another notch.
Obviously with the highs, we needed some slower beautiful rock ballads too and Mayday delivered with ‘Because Of You (因為你 所以我)’ and one of my personal favourites ‘Contentment’ (知足)’. The crowd became a beautiful starry ocean swaying from side to side. ‘World Crazy (瘋狂世界)’ was truly a wakeup call accompanied by visuals of world issues from earthquakes, the Black Lives Matter movement, the Covid pandemic etc., forcing reflection with lyrics about wishing to escape this crazy world.
After performing hit after hit, Mayday finally paused to introduce themselves to the Melbourne audience. Interestingly enough, Ashin immediately upon introduction addressed the seating changes that occurred due to the venue upgrade, as many fans were unhappy with the new seating arrangements. He skilfully joked that there were only two options; to get a refund now, or have Mayday make up for this mishap and sing until everyone is satisfied, which ignited amplified cheers from the crowd.
Stone made sure to welcome all fans, whether it’s their first-time seeing Mayday, or they have seen them in the past. And prankster Masa spoke about performing at Rod Laver Arena for the first time, but somehow finding the venue very familiar, then remembering he had seen it before on TV when he was following the Australian Open and it was a pleasure to be able to perform in such an iconic and memorable venue.
The most entertaining and comical segment of the night was no doubt the song request segment. If you know Mayday at all, you’d know that they are the kings of banter with no filters. Their relationship with fans is similar to longtime friends where you make fun of each other and have a good time.
Fans cheekily brought signs, playfully teasing that they wanted to see other artists such as 5566 and Jay Chou; or tried to make the band members say hard Chinese idioms. But in true Mayday fashion, they did not leave unscathed as Mayday fought back with hilarious remarks.
Spoiling the Melbourne crowd, Mayday accepted many song requests from around the arena, performing ‘A Future Without You (有你的將來)’, ‘Clenched Teeth (牙關)’, ‘Mickey Mouse (米老鼠)’, ‘I Love You Hopeless (I Love You 無望)’, ‘Garbage Truck (垃圾車)’, and ‘Always Open Your Heart (開天窗)’ which the band admittedly had forgotten how to sing.
Ann Bai, Mayday’s support act, joined the band to perform ‘People Life Ocean Wild (人生海海)’ and ‘OAOA’. Following, iconic hits were performed back-to-back, such as ‘Sun Wu Kong (孫悟空)’ where all the members took on different verses, and ‘Motor Rock (軋車)’ which had everyone sing along in fluent in Taiwanese despite not knowing the language.
Ashin mentioned that next year marks Mayday’s 25th anniversary and shared about the band’s origins, simply starting as a bunch of friends who wanted an excuse to hang out after school and not go home straight away. Never did they imagine this would still be going strong 24 years later, would take them around the world and have them performing so far from home. Acknowledging this, he thanked the audience for this opportunity.
In dedication to the 2008 Sichuan earthquake, which happened on the same date as the Melbourne concert, 15 years ago; Ashin gifts the song ‘Cang Jie (倉頡)’ to those who couldn’t make it tonight, those who are missed, and those we keep in our memory. ‘Cheers (乾杯)’ did stir up my emotions and while listening to this beautiful song, I thought about growing old, looking back on my life thus far, and the memories I have made along the way. I am certain it put the audience in a very reflective mood as well.
The combination and clever use of screens, simplistic visual displays, and detailed delivery of lightning alleviated the arena. With their visuals on the big screens, Mayday never hesitate to show you the ugly side of life. They remind you of reality, the world today, and their music guides you (it guided me) through the lowest of lows, to celebrating the highs.
I was in awe of how visually stunning and high quality the entire night was. Ashin mentioned himself that despite the Melbourne arena being a lot smaller than their typical shows in Asia, they wanted to still bring the same quality they would for something as grand as the Beijing National Stadium. I was thoroughly impressed that both the Chinese lyrics and English translations were available for almost every song, bridging the gap and ensuring that everyone present truly understood the messages that they wanted to deliver.
For Mayday’s first encore they performed their latest song, ‘A Song With You (你的神曲)’ and their well-beloved cover track ‘Womxnly (玫瑰少年)’ which is actually a song written by Ashin for fellow Taiwanese artist, Jolin Tsai. After a few more great tunes, the band bowed, huddled together and although it felt like it was a goodbye, it was actually the band plotting for a secondary encore. The audience reached another peak with ‘Don’ts Don’ts (傷心的人別聽慢歌)’, ‘Fool (憨人)’ and ‘Persistence (倔強)’. Then Mayday gathered for bows and left the stage.
Surprisingly, there was a third and final encore. The group came back again one more time with ‘Love-ING (戀愛ING)’ which brought together ear deafening chants before Mayday’s final departure.
I have proudly seen Mayday four times during their past Australian visits and each time has left me breathless and craving for more. With Mayday concerts, they always feel unique, like as if time went by far too quickly, and it left me with a rollercoaster of emotions. This Melbourne show was three full hours filled with joy, laughter, tears, and heartfelt feelings.
Seeing Mayday live in concert again after all these years brought so much joy to not only myself, but to those in the venue seated around me. It was de-stressing singing along and laughing alongside this band. I sang so loud and screamed so much that I definitely have left the arena with a very sore throat but also with a full heart. I’m looking forward to the next time they return to Australia and bring back another amazing world tour to our shores.
Mayday performed in Melbourne at Rod Laver Arena on Friday the 12th and Saturday the 13th of May 2023 as part of their FLY TO 2023 World Tour.
The tour is over now but for more information on Mayday, visit:
Promotional image supplied by Live Nation Australia.