Friday, April 27, 2007

Should've changed that stupid lock!

What ingenious lyrics from the disco anthem, "I Will Survive." So many little things in life add up to quite a significant amount.

Went to see Harlem Yu's concert at the Coliseum. Kinda hard to believe this is his first concert at the Coliseum after 20 years in the music business. His voice always catches my attention, and he's a terrific live performer. Great vocal skills yet charismatic entertainer. I have never seen a crowd so appreciative of an artist at the Coliseum before (given HK people's cold reception of musicians), but this crowd demanded 2 encores (the second one was unexpected, even by Harlem himself, for his ran out of songs), and I've seen quite a lot of shows...that's saying a lot about Harlem's ability to woo the audience. I must say this was one of the best shows I've seen lately, on par with Chucho Valdes' thunderous performance at the Cultural Center.

Seeing live shows is indeed an often emotional experience for me. Witnessing certain artists take the stage, own the stage, and living their dreams is more than a spectator sport; you're located in the zone of excitment. Simultaneously, it's a learning experience for me. I always like seeing how artists own the stage. The most exciting performer I've seen is Dr. Lonnie Smith. The way he builds up his solos is amazing, and he goes through certain stages:

1) First stage: warm-up (taking it slow and bit by bit, feeling how the song should proceed, and feeling how the audience wants it [because if the audience isn't receptive, then it's a waste of time altogether])

2) Second stage: build-up (he pushes his emotions a little forward, takes his audience into a deeper emotional level, connects spiritually and intellectually with them, and also shows off his chops a little bit)

3) Third stage: pushing the limit (now his audience is totally comfortable with where he's taking them, then he pushes their limits of acceptance and also challenges them ["basically how far can you go"], and he is at a groovy mode.

4) Fourth stage: explosion (this is the most exciting stage - this is why people buy tickets to see him. This is where he lets all his emotions out. This is not about chops anymore. It's the feeling, the soul, the gut, all flying out. You groove with him b/c you agree with him. Albeit the explosion, Dr. keeps his composure throughout the process.)

5) Fifth stage: cool-down (this is where the emotions and fire die down and he takes you back to normalcy. But it's less abrupt than it is gradual. You just let him cool you down. And after that, you feel good.)

So these days, I have a lot of Dr. Smith's soul in me (and I say that in the humblest way), including my recent show at Grappa's Cellar. I must say in terms of playing the chops and owning the stage, that WAS by far my best performance in HK. I just let it all out this time. And the audience could clearly connect with me. I could see it. I could feel it. It's the best feeling in the world.

Check out Ram's weblog for more details about the night.

It's sad to know my PCLL year in going to end soon. I must say this has been a delightful, joyful (though extremely difficult) year for me. I must say I'm blessed to have such a good group of friends in the program. I haven't met one person I don't like (Ok, maybe one). But overall, this support unit is priceless. I can't get it from anywhere else. I really enjoy the small talks at cafes and fast food places in between classes or after the SGs. Sometimes we talk gibberish, other times we talk about careers, but in any case, the talks have been quite interesting. I'm going to miss this wonderful year when I enter the real world again (for the second time). I treasure all this time from here to finish. Most of all, let's pray that we'll all pass the exam.

I hope I use the five point method by Dr. Smith in other areas of my life. I aim to finish everything in an art form, be it going to the market to buy fish or writing a groundbreaking thesis on neurons. Life is about showing some style.

Well I hope you like mine.

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