Tuesday, April 13, 2010

May Day!

This morning, I read the story "May Day" by F. Scott Fitzgerald. Strangeness abounds, in these worlds of Fitzgerald, waking from a dream of life into reality.

This evening, I went to the 五月天 Mayday concert in San Jose. It was awesome! They are a rockin' band, with lots of high-energy songs, but they also play ballads that are very soulful. (In fact the ballads are some of my favorite pieces). The band sings in both Mandarin and Taiwanese, which is kinda neat to listen to.

After a quick dinner -- during which our level of excitement rapidly escalated -- we ran several blocks to the venue. Saw a couple rows of Stanfolks there too.  ^  ^ In addition to great music, there were the requisite glow sticks. (I learned after attending the Sun Yanzi concert in Beijing that these are key). Oh yeah, and thousands of screaming, cheering, shrieking Asian fans.

Not to make too much of it (I know it was just a backdrop for the music), but the back-story was kind of fun: the concert theme of DNA was broadcast through several high-quality movie scenes, which were actually rather cinematic. Nice camera work and graphics. The plot was a bit strange, revolving around a group of individuals [the band] stuck in the daily grind of life, with a wish for the opportunity to become "who they are". They think of cloning themselves to start anew, but since they can't do this, they decide to clone a whole new world, instead. Striking a musical theme, they undertake a mission to acquire John Lennon's DNA and start things over.

DNA is vital here, but it isn't determinative. "Who are you?" -- the question kept arising, and the clips initially suggest that nucleotides are important. But as they continued to play, and the band's adventures take wild turns (including car chase), the question is resolved by the final message that "You are what you do!"

The other major theme of the evening (homage to Lennon?) is L。O。V。E ! (This comes into full force after child-Lennon and other historical figures as children run through the grass.) I like the energetic and earnest quality of "love" explored by Mayday. It isn't sappy, and definitely didn't feel as saccharine or over-produced as some Chinese pop is. It's just very ... quirky and delightful. It encompasses friendship and caring as much as relationship-type love. Maybe this is because they're a band, so there's an element of camaraderie and friendship inherent in their conception of what love means.

There are the one-on-one moments though, especially with pieces like 最重要的小事, 天使 and 志明與春嬌, where guy and the person-of-his-affection are separated. Sweet and very sad ...

I was talking to Yunli about this later, and it seems part of Mayday's appeal lies in the fact that they are kinda weird, rather than neatly polished like some Chinese pop stars today. Some of the Mayday band members are positively child-like too, like 阿信 -- it's pretty endearing.

The stadium actually wasn't full O_o probably in contrast to LA where they likely played for a full (full full) house. It was a Sunday night, and they actually changed the concert date from February to April, which might have reduced attendance -- the original tickets we bought were for February. But the excitement was still palpable, and I can hardly believe they were right there ... just yards from the crowd, lol.

One more item to note: I felt proud that a band from Taiwan could produce music like this, with a unique sound and particular artistic quality. It was also neat that 華人 from all around the Bay Area wanted to come and hear them.

Picasa Web Album to come.

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