Thanks to Elly, Mary Jane and Jeanne (HOM Sweet Home Admins) for the review
With great anticipation, we flew into Las Vegas for the 2009 Music Man World Tour concert. New songs, new acts, and a brand new concert tour from our favorite artist and his prized Bahamut - who wouldn't be excited?! Sadly though, in the wise words of Lion King's Timon, "Our trio's down to two" as we were missing an admin who, because of other obligations, had to stay behind and disseminate last minute news, instructions, and information to fanclub members. But we digress.
The concert started out with a traditional lion dance, upon a stage that was decked out with three giant and very impressive screens showcasing various anime of none other than MUSIC-MAN!! Meanwhile, Bahamut was situated on a mini platform at the very top of the stage. When the show began, MUSIC-MAN flew down on to the stage in full superhero attire and style via his Musicman-mobile, otherwise known as a descending platform. He started off with a song from his newest album - What's Wrong with Rock?, a rockish tune which set the perfect mood for the rest of concert. Not long afterward, he showed off his weapon-of-choice, Bahamut, while singing W-H-Y and a remix of Mistake in the Flower Field. He then rocked out with guitarists Jingles and Jamie Wilson to Descendant of the Dragon. After our resident comedian-superhero wished everyone a Happy Chinese "Nu" Year, he maintained his US concert "tradition" and asked the audience which language we preferred him speaking in. Although the answer was overwhelmingly English, he still kept us entranced with his Mandarin, Cantonese and even some Japanese! He also attempted to speak to us using his MUSIC-MAN voice, but settled for his alter-ego Leehom's voice when the audience could not understand anything that was being said.
MUSIC-MAN then quickly got back into superhero mode and started singing ballads such as Heartbeat, Forever Love, Sense of Security, and First Morning. To everyones' delight, during Forever Love, MUSIC-MAN walked down off the stage and greeted some of the audience members. As fans rushed in to get a closer look at our favourite superhero, he pointed the microphone towards the crowd and encouraged them to sing.
A short clothes change later, a few more ballads were sung (Crying Palms, and If You Heard my Song) before MUSIC-MAN's rapping skills were put to the test with a Bamboo Grove remix. During this energetic song his dancers electrified the stage, while the amazing Brandy did three back flips! The dancers and MUSIC-MAN then rocked to the tunes of past and present, such as Girlfriend and Dirty Love. MUSIC-MAN then reverted permanently (for the evening) back to his alter-ego Leehom form, changed into a blue outfit complete with hat and sunglasses, and introduced himself Xiao Lü (小綠). He stated that he was unable to speak Chinese well, and adopted an accent while he spoke as Xiao Lü. Since Xiao Lü was the drummer of the Change Me band, he started with the drum set, and one by one, his other Change Me bandmates came on. Xiao Hong came out in a red suit, Xiao Huang came out in a yellow suit, and Leehom came out dressed in a white suit and sunglasses. While the band started up with the song Change Me each of the large screen showcased Xiao Huang, Lü, and Hong. After Change Me, Leehom switched from vocals to instrumentals with a poignant violin rendition of When You wish Upon a Star. To the glee of the audience, the song flowed beautifully and ebbed into Falling Leaf Returns to Root with Lust, Caution photos being displayed on the big screens.
With the next outfit change, Leehom appeared wearing a stunning light blue tailored coattailed jacket and proceeded into serenading the crowd with A Simple Song whilst taking off his jacket to reveal a sleeveless white number. Our favorite part was next, when Leehom played the piano and sang You Are Not Here, The One & Only, Love's Encouragement and Big City Small love. After the mesmerizing piano pieces, Leehom took the time to chat with the audience and asked where everyone was from - the cue for us to hold up our HOM Sweet Home banner. He read it and said: "HOM Sweet Home. That's clever, but where are you all from?!" Perhaps, next time we will hold up our city signs... MUSIC-MAN's fans are so far-reaching - there were people from the USA and Canada of course (i.e. New York, Massachusetts, Maryland, California, Hawaii, Toronto), but there were also plenty of fans from far away places, such as Indonesia, Japan, and even some who came from Venezuela!
After he chatted with the audience, Leehom said his world is filled with Chinese music and that he wanted to share a little bit of his world with the audience, and thus smoothly segued to the next song Can You Feel My World! Since this is the HSH admins' favorite song, we were ecstatic that Leehom felt it appropriate to include this song in the world tour. During the instrumental end portion of the song, MUSIC-MAN's alter-ego even graced us with a little bit of his dancing skills as we watched in utter amazement.
After his dance, it was back to singing as he performed another song from his new album, No Reason to Pay Attention to You, followed by Beside the Plum Blossom. During this song, a surprise magic show ensued as Leehom entered a black box while showcasing his rapping skills, and then magically appeared up in the balconies immediately after! A myriad of fans ran over to him, and he sang Heroes of Earth while attempting to, and then eventually making it back on stage. He then sang oldies like Open Your Heart and Shangri-La, and proceeded to say his good-byes as the concert was drawing to a close... But of course, Leehom never leaves us without an encore! MUSIC-MAN came back out wearing his insignia on his T-shirt and sang Loving You = Loving Me while dancing on top of the piano! Sadly, all things must come to an end; he ended the concert with Kiss Goodbye on the piano after thanking everyone and introducing his crew.
But the night wasn't over! For the first time in the US, Leehom agreed to host an autograph session which took place after the concert. The line for the autograph session was remarkably long. In fact, it snaked around the complex! We are not quite sure how many fans were present, however Leehom agreed to autograph all the albums that were present and some fans even bought multiple CDs for him to sign. When it was the our turn to have our albums autographed, we asked him about the fruit arrangement that HOM Sweet Home organized along with some of the other international fanclubs. He stated that "It was very flowerful. I enjoyed it and shared it with my staff like you asked me to."
The extraordinary concert & the first ever autograph session in the states - it was truly a night to remember!
Thank you Leehom, wangleehom.com, MGM Grand, Jade Entertaiment and everyone else whose hard work made this concert night possible! We can't wait for the next North American concert!
Photos: Elly and Mary Jane (HOM Sweet Home - US & Canada fanclub)