It was a cold, windy day but this day turned out to be the best day of my life. The emotional high that I experienced during the concert had to have been the happiest moment that I have ever felt. The follwing is a brief synopsis of the events leading, during, and after the concert.
When I heard that it was announced that Faye Wong, my idol, was coming to Toronto as a part of her concert tour, I was in shock. I couldn't believe that she would be in the same city that I live in. My initial shock turned quickly into a "high". I wasn't happy, I was high, and no, I don't take drugs. Naturally, I had to get tickets to the concert. I asked some of my friends if they wanted to go and a couple of them were lukewarm to the idea. Could they have been scared off by my suggestion of buying the $168.50 tickets? Luckily for me, my
friend Gary Leung, a true Hong Kong music enthusiast, wanted to go. But even if he didn't, I still would have went alone if I had to. By the time that we went to buy tickets, all $168.50 tickets from A to P were sold out. I didn't like the idea of sitting so far back from the stage and all the good $118.50s, off-centered seats, were gone. So after 15 minutes of loitering, and dirty looks, in the bookstore, we settled for two $88.50s which were in the first balcony and to the side but they were
first row and very close to the stage. All I could do next was wait until the concert, which was weeks away.
The Day of the Concert: 7:45 AM
I awoke from my night's sleep with excitement, restlessness, and disappointment. Excitement, because I knew of the potential of this day, a day where I would "meet" one of my idols. Restlessness, because my anticipation did not allow for a good night's sleep. Disappointment, because the concert was still over 12 hours away and I had a 2 hour management class at 9:00 AM. At the beginning of the week, Faye's newest CD, "Sky", came out and I was going to bring it to the concert in hope of getting an autograph since Gary told me that all singers exit at the same back door at Massey Hall (he went to Jacky Cheung's 1993 concert and got his autograph).
The Drive to the Concert: 6:30 PM
Gary came to pick me up at 6:30 PM as I suggested this time of departure because the normal 25 minutes to get downtown by car could turn into an hour if traffic was bad. I wanted to make sure that we wouldn't be late. We weren't. In fact, the drive only took 20 minutes.
Arriving at Massey Hall: 6:55 PM
After failing to find a free parking space, we settled on some parking lot behind Massey Hall and we forked over our $10.00. As we were walking up Victoria St. (the side wall side of Massey Hall), we approached a service door of Massey Hall and I could hear Faye singing from behind it! She wasn't exactly "behind" the door but I could hear her rehearsing from the stage from outside on the street. We turned the corner and headed for the front doors. To my amazement, nobody was around! Since this was my first time attending a Chinese concert, I assumed that it would be like other concerts (English) and sporting events that I have been to where the line always starts hours before the event. I tried the front door but it was locked so we headed to the box
office door hoping that it would be open because it was cold outside. The door opened and there were about a handful of people inside the 4 by 2 metre room. A couple of them were buying tickets for the concert ($48.50s from what I could hear) and to my surprise, an elderly couple were standing around as well. At the same time, we could all hear Faye rehearsing from the stage. The elderly gentleman approached us and asked if we were here for the Faye concert because he and his wife were
here for the concert too. He went on to say that he liked Sally Yeh also, but he liked Faye better since she has a better voice and she can hit the higher notes. Gary asked him, as a joke, if he liked Roman (the gay singer) and he said that he was okay.
The Doors Open: 7:30 PM
At 7:30 PM, the doors opened and we were the first in. To my disappointment, no Faye souvenirs were being sold - not even a program - unless you counted the $50.00 Faye phonecard for St. Margaret's Hospital which looked exactly like a $0.50 Yes! card. As we entered the concert hall area, I noticed that the interior of the building seemed old but to me, it still had some charm to it. You never know exactly how your seats from the floor plan will look until you actually sit down in them and I was very surprised when I did. From the floor plan, our seats looked like they would be giving us a view of Faye's side but we actually had a more frontal than side view of Faye. And boy, were those seats ever close. If Faye ever walked to the side of the stage closest
to us (and she did many times), she would be about 5 metres away from me! I took out my camera and got it ready, even though the ticket said "no cameras allowed", since Gary told me that at Chinese concerts, cameras are always accepted. From our seats, we could see what appeared to be lyrics on big cue cards on the stage. I took out my binoculars and gave them to Gary, as I can barely read Chinese, and he started reading the lyrics out loud. As the seats slowly filled, I noticed some people bringing in huge tripods and cameras with big, massive lenses. I thought to myself, damn, maybe I should have brought my Handicam.
The Concert Begins, Faye Appears: 8:25 PM
At 8:25 PM, as the lights dimmed, the announcer spoke, and the band took their places, you could feel the anticipation rising in the building. Then, the music started and the dry ice begin to float through the air. After a few seconds, some of the crowd started cheering. I assumed that Faye was coming on stage but I could not see her through the smoke of the dry ice. Then, out of the "fog", like sunlight breaking through the clouds, Faye appeared. At that point in time, a million emotions were running through me. Shock, that Faye and I were in the same room together. Astonishment, even though her hair (wig?) was the "dreads do", and it looked a bit frazzled, Faye looked even more beautiful in person. Nervousness, as Faye was there in front of me. And of course happiness, because Faye was here and we would be together for the next couple of hours.
After the first or maybe it was the second song, Faye spoke. Her voice was soooo sweet. Before the concert, I was afraid that she would be at a loss of words during "audience interaction" since she appears that way on many HK award and charity shows. But not tonight. She said that it was nice to be in Toronto and she asked us in Chinese, "Isn't this a nice concert hall?" To which the audience responded in grumbles or in Chinese, "huhs". She replied back, "It's not nice?" We replied,
I didn't have the guts the first time that Faye spoke, but I told myself, next time for sure. The next time that Faye spoke, I was ready but I had to wait until there was a pause in Faye's dialogue. I couldn't cut her off. When the first pause came, I yelled out, "I LOVE YOU FAYE!", in English. The audience laughed at my comment and Faye replied in Chinese, "Meh-ah wah?" (What was that?) and she looked right at me! I just smiled back with a stupid grin on my face, in awe that Faye would even look at me.
Emil Chou's "I Will Marry You Tomorrow"
In one of Faye's other "talking" breaks with the audience, she said, "The next song is a Mandarin song that I like a lot but it's not one of my songs." I was intrigued, my mind was suddenly racing to guess which song would be next but before I could, the first few guitar chords gave it away. The song was Emil Chou's "I Will Marry You Tomorrow". I had heard this song before and I liked it very much so I was intrigued at how Faye's interpretation would be. Right away, the first few words out of Faye's gorgeous mouth and I was blown away. It was hard to
believe but Faye's version was even better than Emil's. Maybe it was my personal bias talking, but when Faye's concert CD came out, I played it for my friends at work and they agreed with my evaluation.
Over the course of the evening, I found myself singing along to many of Faye's songs but I would quickly restrain myself each time. I told myself that, "Hey, you can listen to your voice anytime, this is Faye Wong on the stage!"
During the concert, Faye made 3 costume changes.
During one change, the dancers threw out souvenir star-shaped, glow-in-the-dark "FAYE" frisbees and I almost got one as it landed in the aisle seat beside my own.
Faye sang both of her English songs "Kisses In The Wind" and "Do We Really Care".
No Encore: 10:25 PM
I must admit that I felt sadness when Faye announced that the next song, "Fragile Woman", would be the last song of the night. But I said to myself, "At least there's still the encore." She said that, "I hope you all can come out and make it to my Hong Kong concerts." I wished. The band kept playing as Faye went off the stage and the audience kept clapping. But a minute later, the announcer said that the concert was over and the lights came on. I was in shock. There was no encore. Gary and I hurried outside to the back door where Faye would exit. The concert lasted exactly two hours.
Waiting For Faye: 10:30 PM
By the time that we made it to the back, there was already a small group of about 10 people milling around. About 20 minutes later (10:45 PM), the band was coming out to board the bus. One band member said, "Forget it everyone, Faye's gone." I thought that he was just bullshitting us to throw us off her trail so that we would leave. He wasn't. Faye must have left when she went off stage while the band kept playing as a smokescreen for her getaway. I have to give her credit though, I knew that she was smart but I didn't want her to prove it to me quite like that. While we were waiting, we met a variety of people waiting for Faye too. Especially this one guy who was white. I was
more than shocked when I saw him holding Faye's "Ten Thousand Whys" CD. We started talking and I found out that he was a Faye fan too. He also told me how he went to the Far East Theatre in Chinatown to watch "Chungking Express" when it first came out. Around midnight, we finally gave up hope that Faye would come out so we left.
One Last Chance: 11:45 PM
We were on our way home when we decided to give it one last chance. Maybe we could track Faye down at the after-concert dinner at the official sponsor, New World Restaurant. While we were waiting in Gary's jeep, we saw some of same people who were waiting with us at Massey Hall. We just sat there with the binoculars scoping out the place, hoping to see Faye. At 12:30 AM, the band exited the restaurant and boarded the bus for the hotel. We waited another 10 minutes to see if Faye would come out. She didn't. So two hours after the concert began, and over 17 since my day began, we called it a night.
I ended up taking over two rolls of film that night but I have a real shitty, point and shoot, 35mm camera. Even though I sat really close to Faye, the pictures made it seem like that it was farther back. Out of the two rolls, I would have to say that only a handful of them were any good. Surprisingly, some of the pictures I took without a flash (because I took a couple of pictures in a row and the flash wasn't ready) were better than the ones with a flash.
I have to say that the day of the concert was the happiest day of my life up to that point in time. I got to see my idol, Faye Wong, whom I love, perform live right in front of me. I think that Faye sings just as well live as she does on her CDs. This is a good thing considering many of the singers out there are studio-enhanced and can't sing for shit in a live setting. Now that I look back at this moment, I must consider myself fortunate to have been there that night. That was likely Faye's first and last concert in Toronto. Since Faye has made it
well-known that her first concert tour was probably her last, I must consider myself "blessed for I have heard Faye Wong sing."
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