Did I just experience one of my favourite concerts ever? I think that’s a ‘yes’!!
I was so excited when it was announced that Will Pan (also known as Wilber Pan and 潘瑋柏) was finally coming to Melbourne. The devastation I felt when his initial Alpha Coming Home Tour was cancelled back in 2020 due to very obvious reasons. But the man himself took a raincheck and kicked off his 2023 Coming Home World Tour down under!
With 20 years in the industry under his belt, Will Pan knew how to kick up an epic show.
Starting off with an absolute bang, Will Pan made his grand entrance at Melbourne’s Margaret Court Arena with ‘Coming Home’ igniting the cheers and instantly bringing the energy through the roof. The energy didn’t skip a beat and continued through to ‘Close Encounter (第三類接觸)’ and ‘Go Hard (硬鬧)’. The sea of red lightsticks bounced up and down to every beat before Will Pan greeted Melbourne fans and explained it’s been 3 years since he last had a concert; and that he was glad the first leg of his tour was Australia.
His RNB dance tracks really took me down nostalgia lane. As the second opening to ‘UUU’, ‘Duet Dance (雙人舞)’ and ‘Touch (觸動)’ played, excitement and glee ran through my veins when I remembered just how much I loved these songs. I was also very glad the delivery of ‘The Story of Billy (24個比利)’ was as impactful as his music video. The cleverly designed choreography the perfect fit to such a powerful song. Will had the crowd jumping up and down to ‘Release Yourself (釋放自己)’ and ‘The King’s Speech (王者之聲)’; the energy was infectious, and everyone cheered along under a shower of confetti.
After a quick outfit change, Will returned with a series of hit pop songs including ‘Little Ant (小小螞蟻)’, ‘Loving the Future You (愛上未來的你)’ and ‘Kiss Me 123’. He explained he triggered his knee injury with how intense and lively the first segment of the show was but advised that he would still give 100% despite this. Will then joked that for his Sydney show, the photos taken by fans made him look extremely bloated, so he hilariously sucked in his cheeks and posed to ensure photos tonight are more to his liking.
Will expressed that when he writes music, he prefers more upbeat tracks to share positive energy and happiness. But despite looking like a happy-go-lucky person, he is very emotional and may cry if fans sing back to him in unison. Sparking an adhoc singalong of ‘Cannot Not Love (不得不愛)’ from the Melbourne crowd.
The prankster that Will is welcomed special guest, Rainie Yang, to join him on stage for ‘Snore (打呼)’. This turned out to be a joke with Will later explaining that he loves playfully cuing Rainie in every show, to the point that she now complains to him about it. This funny chat was before Will officially performing ‘Cannot Not Love (不得不愛)’ which proceeded to become one of the loudest singalongs of the night.
Things were slowed down with ‘Forgotten Hug (忘記擁抱)’ where Will was centred between some beautiful blue lights. Afterwards, he once again apologized for his knee injury causing issues with this show and took some song requests to make up for it. Fans screamed for ‘Chilli and Curry (咖哩辣椒)’, ‘The Perfect Story (完美故事)’ and ‘Same Regrets (同一個遺憾)’; before Will sang his personal favourite tune, ‘I’ll Make Love To You’ by Boyz II Men which no one (not even I) recognised which in response brought disappointed laughter from Will. As a ballad lover, I loved that I was finally about to hear ‘The Second Chance (轉機)’ and ‘The Road Is Too Winding (路太彎)’ live in concert after those songs were played repeatedly in my playlists for years.
I actually thoroughly enjoyed one of the pre-recorded videos he played where Will spoke about the clash of Chinese and Western values; one which forces you to take criticism humbly while the other breeds confidence. As a Taiwanese-American, Will Pan grew up with both upbringings and through his success. However, the backlash and cheers he received, he was able to learn that at the end of the day, he writes his own destiny. This was beautifully followed with the bilingual performance of ‘Moonlight’ sharing the message of chasing dreams.
The throwback to his classics really took the Melbourne audience’s cheers to its peak! The loud singalongs were nonstop as fans were on their feet singing and chanting to ‘Pass Me the Mic (我的麥克風)’, ‘Gecko Stroll (壁虎漫步)’, ‘Who is MVP (誰是MVP)’ ‘Incoming Call (來電)’ and the last song of the night, ‘Around the World (反轉地球)’.
The adrenaline was still running high and Melbourne fans were not willing to let Will Pan go easily. Chants for an encore ripped through the arena and continued to do so until Will returned to the Margaret Court Arena stage with his encore segment ‘Adoration to Happiness (快樂崇拜)’ where a new peak was reached. Returning for a final bow, Will Pan took the time to thank everyone involved for the successful Melbourne concert and closed the night with ‘Tell Me’, once again was paired with deafening cheers and singing.
The stage design, of one simple main screen and two supporting were used so cleverly to maximize the fun and make what would be a basic stage set up so elevated. The lighting was phenomenal and created a grand and majestic feel overall. Although there were some minor sound issues throughout the night, it didn’t impact the crowd’s eagerness and energy. The glowing red sea of complimentary lightsticks also added to the atmosphere and injected night filled with nonstop positive energy, a wave of nostalgia and memories, an extremely hyped and energized crowd, filled with joy from Will Pan’s back-to-back classics and hit songs. I could not ask for anything more.
I know Will Pan mentioned his knee injury which caused minor issues for him, but with the amount of passion coming from him, it felt that he more than compensated for it. His commanding stage presence and professionalism really impressed me, and if you’re telling me he can put on a better show than what I just saw, please sign me up for the next one.
This was easily one of the best concerts I’ve seen. I’m still in awe of the amount of energy Will Pan exchanged with his audience, and the passion and power that he and radiated with his music while performing live on the Melbourne stage. I’m honestly super excited for his future projects and even more pumped to see him in concert again.
Will Pan performed in Melbourne, Australia at Margaret Court Arena on Friday the 21st of October as part of his 2023 Home Coming World Tour, proudly presented by ACY Live and OzStars.
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All photography by VISPENN.