A TASTE OF TAO
Sum nice reviews of David's Soul Power concerts last yr to enjoy - HK & KL, the writer is really, really, really wonderful *thumb up*
You think you're here to see me but actually I am here to see you- David Tao Zhe - from The Star (Malaysia)
David Tao Zhe rocked, serenaded and wowed the audience in his David Tao Soul Power tour in Hong Kong recently. Li EE KEE got carried away.
There is something to be said about a singer when some of the industry's renowned crooners take time off to attend his concert.
Although, in the case of David Tao Zhe, one need not require the presence of Anita Mui and Jacky Cheung to affirm what is common knowledge. Since the release of his self-titled debut album, Tao Zhe, in 1997, Tao has persistently proven his musical artistry to critics and fans alike.
Three album later-I'm OK (1999), Black Tangerine(2002) and his latest effort, Ultrasound 1997-2003, a best of compilation that includes four new tracks- Tao embarks on his first concert tour.
"One of the most difficult things as a singer is not being able to see tour listeners. I'm finally able to," Tao, who alternated between Mandarin, Cantonese and English, revealed during the concert at the Hong Kong Coliseum.
David Tao Zhe connecting with his audience: " There is power in music. Never underestimate it. My purpose is music in to spread love. That's what Soul Power is about - love, peace and harmony. And being able to share my music with you is a happy thing for me."
Tao proved to be an adept entertainer, evident from his recently concluded Hong Kong shows. On three consecutive nights beginning Aug 14, over 30,000 local fans joined by some from Japan, Taiwan and Malaysia gathered at the Hong Kong Coliseum to witness Asia's R&B King in action. Expectation were naturally high. Tao, too, must have felt some pressure. If he did, he did it well.
Clad in a black vest with the word "SOUL" emblazoned in sequins acroos the chest, matched with green cargo pants and guitar strapped across his shoulder, Tao's opening remarks was: "We're gonna rock the house tonight Hong Kong. Ready?" Despite having performed for the past two nights, each show lasting three hours, Tao showed no sighs of fatigue. He was on an adrenaline high. Thoughout the night he darted across the stage, making his way to the audience, much to their glee. Lauching into Wang Ba Dan (Bastard), a heavy rock-tinged number that high kicked its way into the concert's opening, its loud rhythms were then tempered with a slow number, Fei ji Change De 10:30(Airport in 10:30)
Tao rendered 28 songs that night ranging from R&B, hip-hop and rock to pop and dance from his four albums. Fans also got to hear three of his new tracks from Ultrasound - the upbeat Jin Tian Mei Hui Jia(Shanghaied), the tender Ji Mo De Ji Jie (season of Loneliness) and inspirational Runway, which tells of how one must be daring in pursuing one's dream.
The US-based singer also presented several numbers a cappella, sometimes accompanied by just the piano, other times by the guitar and violin. Special guest Tension, Tao's protege, performed Ye Lai Xiang and Boyz 2 Men's Its So Hard to Say Goodbye to Yesterday.
Other English numbers covered included the classic Somewhere over the Rainbow by Judy Garland from The Wizard of Oz movie and U2's I still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For.
Unlike many of today's singers whose concerts are glitzy affairs filled with extravagant pomp and splendour, Tao' Soul Power was all about the music minus the frills. No fancy props, skimpily dressed dancers or a dozen costume changes.
Instead, fans were treated to an intimate evening with their favourite singer who serenaded them while backed by an able groups of eight musicians, comprising three guirarists, two drummers, two keyboardists and a violinist. Malaysia's own extablished musicians Lewis Pragasam and Andy Peterson were among the line-up.
"Music isn't just for entertainment," Tao informed fans. "To me, it's something serious. There is power in music. Never underestimate in. My purpose in music is to spread love. That's what Soul Power is about-love, peace and harmony. And being able to share my music with you is a happy thing for me."
But it wasn't all business. Tao entertained, engaging in delightful and at times poignant banter with fans. He let them in on an embarrassing episode at a Mcdonalds outlets in Hong Kong when he was a child. From then on, he realised his Cantonese wasn't exactly his strongest language. (Tao and his family moved to Taiwan when he was a young boy.)
He takes his fans down memory lane, reminiscing his earliest recollection of Hong Kong, from taking the Star Ferry to travelling on the MRT. He revealed that it was in Hong Kong, his birthplace, that he found himself. Tao also coyly indulged fans with hand-shakes, hugs and for one ecstatic girl, a kiss as a reward for applying lip balm on his lips.
It was evident that the fans enjoyed every minute of their time with him, and vice versa. As he indicated at one point during the concert:"You think you're here to see me but actualy I am here to see you."
After the concert, Tao remark that he was very happy with the fans. Unlike what he had been cautioned earlier, they were warm and responsive - dancing, singing, waving, hooting, clapping and teasing with shouts of "you are so sexy/ good looking" and "Daaavvviiiddd..."
Such reaction was not restrited to teenaged girls, for the guys were in on the action too, showing no inhibition in expressing their love for Tao's music as they waved their glow sticks in sync with tunes.
It was an enjoyable three hours, though there were times when the momentum tended to slow down. As Tao himself admitted, there is still room for improvement.
A blast of a good time
By LI EE KEE , Tuesday September 16, 2003
A natural on stage, Tao enthralled fans, young and old, male and female. David Tao Zhe’s Soul Power Tour concert rocked the 15,000-odd crowd at Stadium Merdeka and LI EE KEE came away singing praises for it.
IF A one-line review would suffice, I would say David Tao Zhe’s Soul Power Tour concert in Malaysia was a blast.
For those who weren’t there, yeah, you may say you didn’t miss anything. But if you were, you would know how much fun you had at possibly one of the year’s best Chinese concerts (in Malaysia, of course).
And if one person amongst the close to 15,000 gathered at Stadium Merdeka, Kuala Lumpur, last Saturday got Tao’s message of love, compassion and understanding (hint: the video recordings about the importance of hugging and how the most beautiful asset of a city is its people), Tao has succeeded in his purpose.
As expected, the show started later than scheduled but it was worth the waiting.
Wang Ba Dan (Bastard) set the proceedings in motion. Its kick-butt rhythm and lyrics were the perfect pick to get fans roused. Next up was the song that had the public asking, “Who is Tao Zhe?” five years ago, the R&B tinged Airport. Quicksand and 22 followed subsequently.
Twenty-eight songs were performed that night encompassing his three previous albums: Tao Zhe (1997), I’m OK (1999) and Black Tangerine (2002). He also rendered Shanghaied, Runaway and Season of Loneliness from his latest, Ultrasound 1997-2003, a best of compilation with four new tracks. Each song was lapped up by fans with relish.
Tao also covered Zhang Hui Mei, popularly known as A-Mei’s, High High High, which was produced by him (quite fitting too considering A-Mei is scheduled to stage her concert here soon), and delivered an imaginative reinterpretation of Teresa Teng’s classic, Yue Liang Dai Biao Wo De Xin (The Moon Represents My Heart) with a tinge of R&B flavour.
In addition, he sung two English numbers – the acappella staple Boyz II Men’s Its So Hard to Say Goodbye to Yesterday with protégé and guest artiste Tension, and from Tao’s favourite band U2, the stirring anthem I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For, which was given a twist at the end as Tao tellingly revised it to, “But I think I have found what I’m looking for”.
There was little that was lacking in Tao’s presentation. Every song was delivered with his heart and soul. Without having to worry about dance moves and which costume he had to change into next, Tao focused solely on what really mattered – his music.
Be it a cappella, unplugged or with the backing of a full band, Tao demonstrated he is indeed the real deal.
Proving his versatility, Tao shifted effortlessly from the hard-hitting Black Tangerine before taking it a notch down with a soulful rendition of the romantic Blue Moon, only to later pick up the groove with the hip-hop influenced beats of Shanghaied. The singer-songwriter-producer on stage was no doubt an entertainer.
Anyone can sing after a few lessons but to move crowds of thousands and hold their attention for close to three hours require a certain charm that few possess. A natural on stage, Tao enthralled fans of all ages.
Even when Tension took to the stage, the spotlight never shied away from Tao. During their a cappella routine, Tao took everyone’s breath away with his amazing vocal abilities (think Whitney Houston when her notes go on forever) and proved that the teacher was still the master.
As he had made clear in his promo visit a few weeks back, Tao went all out in his one-night concert. Running to and fro on stage despite having sung his lungs out earlier, he was the Energizer bunny in action.
Kudos too must go to his band. The 13-member band, of which five were Malaysia’s well-known musicians – violinist Joanne Yeoh, drummer Lewis Pragasam, bassist Andy Peterson, guitarist Ajit and the self-confessed “mat salleh sesat” Jamie Wilson (hubby of famous songbird Ruhil, who was there to support him) – matched up to Tao’s energetic display. Like him, they were having a rolling good time and their wonderful camaraderie was infectious.
And lest you think back-up vocals should remain in the background, well, think again. One of the highlights that night was when Tao’s “little chickadees”, all five of them, came out to play, taking centrestage with Tao as they sang along with him on Kungpao Chicken and My Anata. Their hilarious antics were absolutely adorable as were the people themselves.
Tao’s fans were a great crowd, coming from as far as Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, Japan and even Africa (the latter being the running joke of the night). They sang, waved and danced. It was a sight to behold.
Little wonder that Tao may have felt somewhat emotional as he spread his arms wide and hugged everyone. Gosh, even I got a bit misty-eyed. Malaysians really rocked that night.
Not forgetting a special mention to the security personnel. Some may criticise them for their killjoy attitude, including Tao, but they were just doing their job.
Having been fortunate enough to to witness his Hong Kong edition of the Soul Power Tour (thanks to organiser Galaxy Production and presenter Tiger Power Hitz), and having watched his Malaysian performance, while there were only minor differences (even the jokes were recycled), nothing beat the atmosphere of home – seated in the historic Stadium Merdeka (compared to the covered Hong Kong Coliseum) under a clear night sky with the Petronas Twin Towers illuminating in the background and surrounded by thousands of really swinging Malaysians.
I may still be reeling from the lack of hearing in my left ear; no thanks to being seated right smack in front of the huge speakers, but it was worth it. And if anyone asks, I was there at David Tao’s Soul Power Tour concert.