CHERRY BLOSSOMS IN THE TROPIC!

Cherry & peach blossoms in the hot & humid island of Singapore?  Yes, no kidding about it.  It’s happening right now in the Flower Dome, even earlier than Japan and Korea.  What a treat!

This first-ever experimental blossom display – Blossom Beats – is presented by the Gardens by the Bay.

Blossom Beats celebrates the delicate nature of life.  It features a good variety of blossoms including cherry (sakura) and peach.  The overall display was designed in the setting of a Japanese garden, decorated with a Torii (a traditional Japanese gate most commonly found in Japanese Shinto shrines), kimonos and other Japanese-themed decorations.

Torii in the midst of a variety of beautiful blossoms

IMG_2155IMG_2205 (1)IMG_2135IMG_2141IMG_2235Not all had blossomed yet at the time of my visit last Sunday (13 Mar)

IMG_2188IMG_2237Near the entrance of Flower Dome, a Japanese garden with cherry blossoms (behind the bridge).

IMG_2109Bonsai arrangement is another highlight in this two-week (only) display.

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It has been almost 9 years now since I last saw cherry blossoms and it was in South Korea.  Though I have also seen it in Japan, it was certainly a joy to have this opportunity to appreciate these beautiful blossoms again, more so for the first time here in Singapore.  I was actually hoping for another holiday in Japan later this month for a true Hanami experience in the parks but my plan could not materialise due to other commitments.  Save it for next time.

IMG_2183Prunus Accolade – pink flowering cherry

IMG_2186Prunus Yodoenis Yoshido which are white in colour

IMG_2203Peach blossom Prunus “Genpei Shidare” which is characterised by flowers of two colours – red and white

IMG_2133OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAPrunus Fujishidare which has pendulous branches

IMG_2159Close-up of Prunus Fujishidare

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Cherry Shirotae (Prunus Shirotae) – known to flower abundantly. Flowers are white and lightly fragrant

IMG_2178Prunus “Okame”

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Later in that afternoon, we were treated with a beautiful traditional Japanese music performance – Blowing in the Sakura Wind : Sounds from Japan – by two renowned musicians from Japan.

Mother & son pair : Kaho Irie, Koto (Japanese stringed music instrument) Grandmaster and Yosuke Irie, Shaku Hachi (Japanese end-blow flute) artiste from Japan

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis performance was a joint collaboration between Japan Creative Centre Singapore and Gardens by the Bay, held in commemoration of the 5th anniversary of The Great East Japan Earthquake (11 March 2011) and also in celebration of SJ50 (50 years of Singapore-Japan diplomatic relationship) in 2016.

I was glad that hubby could finally take a breather from his furious work schedule for many weeks now, and joined me in this special experience in the Gardens by the Bay.  I think our government should do more to enforce work-life balance in private corporations and take action against companies that make their employees work like headless chickens!!

Blossom Beats is surely one unique event not to be missed especially for those who have not seen cherry blossoms before.  I imagine it involved massive efforts from many to make it happen.  Beautiful blossoms aside, a visit to the Flower Dome is educational too, as I always find it.  There is always something new to discover, and new knowledge to bring home too.  All we need is just to pay a little bit more attention to what’s being displayed together with the flowers, like these ones below.

IMG_2129 IMG_2161IMG_2224Should there be future cherry blossom displays planned, I think it will great if the designers could consider creating a better Hanami experience like organising the trees more closely in rows and allowing visitors to walk under the trees.

This time, while the blossoms are beautiful, I find the overall display too cluttered with irrelevant decorations such as the huge artificial rocks and wood-carved monkeys from the past display (Dahlia Dreams) that was held over the Chinese New Year period.  These don’t seem to fit into the theme, and the huge artificial rocks are too overwhelming and distracting.  Perhaps there was not enough time to clear them since Dahlia Dreams had just ended on 8 March and the people had only 3 days to put up this new display.

If time permits, I may make my way down to the Flower Dome again for another round of visit before the display ends on 27 March. 🙂

More photos here

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KEPLER CONCERT BY STEFANIE SUN 孙燕姿克卜勒世界巡回演唱会

Last Saturday (5 Jul) DS and I went to the  Singapore National Stadium again for yet another first – the first pop act to perform in this new stadium.

Kepler Concert by homegrown singer Stefanie Sun (aka Sun Yan Zi)

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It was a very entertaining concert and the audience were really in high spirit.  There were about 20,000 spectators that night.  So imagine all the screaming and cheering!

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We felt that Stefanie has improved tremendously since the last time we attended her first concert in April 2002.  She has improved so much in her showmanship and in engaging the audience, although we think that she could still increase her efforts in putting up better dances.

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Stefanie Sun is definitely one local singer that we like and support.  We have a good collection of most of her albums and like many of her songs which we find very uniquely her, clear and engaging.

I found it particularly meaningful that she kicked off her concert with “Cloudy Day”, her breakthrough hit (成名曲 – 天黑黑) 14 years ago when she started her singing career

Two Singapore NDP (National Day Parade) theme songs were sang before the last song – We Will Get There (NDP 2002) and One United People (NDP 2003).  These were specially performed for the Singapore stop only and she described it as a precursor to Singapore’s national day next month (9 August).  But alas, DS didn’t record this special part! 😀

One song (我要的幸福) only for the encore

DS and I had really enjoyed the concert.  We both concluded that it was a good show but it would have been perfect if her voice condition and control was better that night.

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We think that the national stadium is not an ideal venue for a pop concert like this.  It is no doubt that it could accommodate a larger capacity of audience but it was too warm and stuffy for comfort, and the acoustics wasn’t as good as that in the indoor stadium.

OUR PEOPLE, OUR MUSIC 2014 – 全民共乐 2014

DS and I went to the newly opened Singapore Sports Hub last Saturday (28 June) to attend Our People, Our Music 2014 (OPOM 2014 or 全民共乐 2014) concert.

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This is the second time OPOM was held.  The first was 10 years ago when SCO (Singapore Chinese Orchestra) celebrated Singapore’s 39th birthday but we did not attend then.  This time, the total number of performers has increased significantly to more than double of that in the first one and it was attempting to achieve new Guinness World records.

Surely, I was excited to be at this newly opened sports complex, and be part of the first and mega concert held there as a show of our support for SCO, and of course, the rest of the performers too.  In anticipation of the large crowds (30,000 spectators expected), we decided to be there earlier to avoid the jams and also to have some time to “admire” the new national stadium.  When we arrived before 6pm, there were already many people there!

Partial view of the newly opened Singapore Sports Hub,  from the overhead bridge connecting to it.  Quite a long walk from Kallang MRT station though.

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The Overhead Bridge leading to Sports Hub.  Nice but not fully ready yet as some of the lifts are still not operational.

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Another view, cars waiting to get into the car-parkSportshub03

Large crowds were already queuing to get into the national stadium for the OPOM 2014 even before the gates were opened at 6pm.  All 30,000 tickets for the concert were sold out.  I noticed that majority of the attendees were middle-aged or senior citizens, quite many of them were from various RC (Resident Committee) around the islands who arrived in chartered buses.

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The 55,000-capacity national stadium with retractable roofs and cooling bars below the seats is indeed very impressive!  Another proud iconic landmark of Singapore!

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You can even see Singapore Flyer and MBS (Marina Bay Sands) from the national stadium when the retractable roofs are opened!

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I was really glad and found it meaningful to have attended OPOM 2014.  Thanks to SCO for their great effort in organising and uniting such large number of (professional and amateur) Chinese orchestra performers together and presenting such a spectacular mega event. Beside members of SCO, many of the performers were students and even senior citizens from clan associations and community clubs.  I understand the youngest performer that night was a drummer of only about two and a half years old, and the oldest, an 82-year old.  There was a visually-handicapped Erhu player.  Over 200 students from Foon Yew High School (宽柔中学) across the causeway in JB were among the performers too.  There was also a group of Japanese housewives (of expats working in Singapore) playing the Erhu.

It took 45 minutes or more for all the performers to march in to take their seats!

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Erhu had the largest number of performers among all the instruments

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Comperes for the night – Qiqi (琪琪) from Good Morning Singapore (早安你好) TV programme and Jimmy T

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Guests of honour – Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Lawrence Wong

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 Programme listOPOM2014-06

Part 1 – Introduction & Prime Minister Lee initiating the concert : Strauss’ Also Sprach Zarathustra Op. 30

Part 2 – Our Home – Nostalgic (我的家园-回顾) : Blue Memories – A Medley of golden hits of late Teresa Teng (蓝色的思念-邓丽君金曲连奏)

I really enjoyed this segment of the concert very much. It was indeed very nostalgic and brought back wonderful memories of the good old days of Singapore and also my school days when Teresa Teng was one of my favourite singers.

Part 3 – Our Home – Dream (我的家园-梦想) : A Man Should Stand Strong 男儿当自强 featuring Martial Arts by Vincent Ng, Singapore’s only World Wushu Champion for 16 years

Part 4 : (i) Our Home – Drive (我的家园-前进) : Horse Racing & (ii) Our Home – Future (我的家园-未来) :Spring of Tianshan (天山之春)

Spring of Tianshan featured Chen Xin Yu (陈欣宇),a 10-year old and very talented Pipa soloist who was the first prize winner of the 2012 Singapore National Chinese Music Competition (Pipa Junior Category).  Her performance is really impressive!

Part 5 : Our Home – Energy (我的家园-动力) : Power Singapura (动力狮城)!

The Largest Chinese Drum Ensemble, a new Guinness World Record was achieved in this segment of OPOM 2014.  This drum ensemble was led by Quek Ling Kiong, Resident Conductor of SCO.  And, do you remember our Kallang Wave?  It was back again in this segment!

Part 6 : Our Home – PossibiCity (我的家园-远景) : Variations on Singapura (新加坡变奏曲)

Part 7 : The proud moments – the announcement of two new Guinness World Records – Largest Chinese Orchestra and Largest Chinese Drum Ensemble – by Jack Brockbank, Official Adjudicator for Our People, Our Music 2014

Part 8 : The  Finale – beautiful rendition of “Home” by Dick Lee, the multi-talented local singer cum composer.  Home is the 1998 NDP (National Day Parade) song composed by Dick Lee, and sung by Kit Chan

I was touched that night, not so much about them making the Guinness records, but their team spirit and great effort in not only making such a mega Chinese orchestra performance possible but also a great success.  The event and the success of it wouldn’t have been possible without the entire team’s hard work, strong determination and perseverance.  I can imagine the massive plannings, preparations and logistics involved in bringing all these performers together, the enormous amount of time and effort they had to spend on individual group practices and mass rehearsals.  It was no simple task at all.  Likewise, the great contributions from all involved behind the scenes, including the volunteers cannot go without unnoticed too.

Thank you SCO for the wonderful and memorable night!

AMEIZING WORLD TOUR – ENCORE

已经有好长一段日子没有去看演唱会了。 记得最后一场是2011年10月、陈洁仪的演唱会。 那是15个月前的事了。

1月26日在室内体育馆举行的AmeiZing演唱会-Encore是老公和我今年出席的第一场演唱会。错过了阿妹去年1月在新加坡举行的AmeiZing演唱会, 所以很高兴有Encore这一场。这一次,和以往相同的买了最贵的门票(每张是228新币)。虽然有点心疼,但我们认为那是值得的。接下来就少到外头用餐几次吧! 😀

阿妹把她2013年度的第一场演唱会献给了新加坡。

站在高架上出场的阿妹,一出场就使得全场的情绪沸腾了起来。 除了高昂的尖叫声,好多歌迷、观众也都站起来舞动!当然,我们也不例外。

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与三年前(阿密特的演唱会)相比,阿妹明显的发福了好多。岁月的痕迹也似乎开始写在她的脸上了。但对我来说这都只是外表,重要的是她那超棒的现场演唱的实力与功力。她依然是我们非常喜欢和欣赏的一位实力派歌手。

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这一次的演唱会,除了非常火辣的女舞者,阿妹也带来了四位非常健硕的男舞者。

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第二套服装

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第三套服装。阿密特的部分。

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第四套服装。 有像天鹅的感觉。

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第五套服装。

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仔细相比之下,觉得这一次的服装与阿密特演唱会的风格有点点类似。但这一次更性感了。就不知道是不是出自于同一位设计师。老实说,我不是很喜欢这一次演唱会的整体造型。

演唱会长达3个半小时,不但完全没有冷场,而且是越夜越high、越享受。很多时候演唱会都变成了大合唱。就有如阿妹所说的,她的歌迷听众们真的好棒!

这一次的演唱会,我最喜欢也印象最深刻的部分是那历时约45分钟的情歌连唱的部分。首首熟悉、动听的经典情歌,加上预录的短片和字幕,讲述了阿妹的歌唱生涯和心情。 好感人!

“每一次我都会对自己说;就把今晚当着是最后一场,用尽全力去唱吧。。。。” -张惠妹

这就是阿妹的努力和诚意!

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Encore了。 阿妹是坐着一辆超大型的电单车出场的(以下录像)。 阿妹也会跳Gangnam Style的哦。

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演唱会以“三天三夜”圆满结束。

非常尽兴的一晚!

真不愧是张天后!!Amei, you are amazing!

张惠妹说下一次再到来开唱时,将会是一场全新的演唱会。不知道这会是什么时候, 就期待着吧!

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花旦周华健 - 这是最近我非常喜欢、也一直在听的一张专辑。

这一次周华健是以全然不同的风格登场,翻唱了好一些经典的女孩子的歌。一直以来都特别偏爱抒情歌曲的我非常喜欢这一次的选曲。我尤其的喜欢专辑里的天涯歌女(1937年、周旋)、哭砂(1990年、黄莺莺), 女人如花(1997年、梅艳芳)、至少还有你(2000年、林忆莲)、花儿(2010年,周华健)和花旦(2011年、周华健)。 花旦是这一张专辑里唯一的一首新歌, 由娃娃填词。 华健说它道出了他入行20几年的心情。

让我惊喜的是有“国民歌王”之称的华健其实也能把这些所谓的女孩子的歌诠释得很好、很有感情,也让我感受到他细腻,温柔的一面。我想很多他的支持者也会有同感吧。又有谁能说这些歌曲是女歌手的专利呢?

5月26日在新加坡室内体育馆举行的”花旦“周华健2011巡回演唱会, 我和老公当然没有错过。 华健把这一次巡回演唱会的第一场献给了新加坡! 这是我们今年度继Russel Watson、陈洁仪和林俊杰后出席的第四场演唱会, 也是我们第五次观看周华健的演唱会。虽是如此,感觉到华健的演唱会是一场比一场精彩。他没有以花旦的造型粉墨登场。我一点也没有失望, 反而觉得这样更好, 因为重点还是在于他的歌声和对于歌曲的诠释。 对了, 这一次他似乎没有忘词哦。:)

这一次的演唱会,舞台设计加上荧光幕的数码显示(digital display)的创意是其中的一个惊喜!我太喜欢了!

舞台上数码显示的银光幕很美吧!

“花旦”登场了!紫红色的燕尾长裙。

与华健合唱女人如花、来自北京的京剧老师。

超红哦!

歌曲花旦就在下一段。是encore前的最后一首歌

Encore时唱的都是华健自己的经典

看来很开心哦!

华健说这一位来自台湾的saxophonist的爸爸是卖了屋子让儿子到波斯顿去学音乐的。好伟大的爸爸!

曲终人散了,一些粉丝还不忘来个合照。 咦,里边有一位不是老公的前同事吗?

这一次的演唱会给我留下了非常深刻的印象。每次听着华健的专辑的当儿,演唱会的一些情景还会浮现在我的脑海里。 演唱会的另一个惊喜, 也是很让我感动的是华健那今年二十一岁、目前人在美国留学的儿子的一段录像视频。为了尊重周华健和他的儿子(因为他不是公众人物)我决定不分享这一段视频。儿子道出了他对爸爸的看法和一些鲜为人知的事。 虽然看似有点抱怨, 但儿子却道出了作为歌手爸爸背后的辛苦。的确, 一位成功演艺者背后的努力和牺牲不是一般人可以理解的。他们除了需要付出很大的代价,更需要家人给予无限的支持和力量。看完录像视频后,我其实是感动的流泪。

花旦周华健巡回演唱会(5月26日新加坡室内体育馆)相簿

我们的下一场演唱会 -8月26日,歌神张学友的1/2世纪演唱会。一连五晚(8月26-30日)的演唱会, 真不愧是歌神!!到时又会有怎样的惊喜呢?

KIT CHAN AND SINGAPORE CHINESE ORCHESTRA!

Kit Chan – My Musical Journey

陈洁仪 - 我的音乐之旅

12 February, 2011 : Esplanade Concert Hall

(Photo : from SISTIC website)

At last, Kit is going to have a concert in Singapore!!!  😀 This is one concert that both DS and I have been waiting for after watching Emi Fujita performed at the Esplanade Concert Hall a few years ago.  We have watched Kit performed in the Forbidden City musical and more recently, in December Rain Chinese musical but solo concert wise, once only at the Singapore Indoor Stadium (I think that was in 2001). Memories of that concert are still fresh in our minds.  What made us even more excited about this upcoming concert is that Kit will be performing with the Singapore Chinese Orchestra led by Maestro Tsung Yeh, and it will be at the Esplanade Concert Hall.  What more can we ask for!

Kit Chan at the autograph session after December Rain performance (13 Aug 2010)

Watching a pop concert with an orchestra is also something that DS and I have been looking forward to.  We have discs of Jackie Cheung’s(张学友) Love & Symphony(爱与交响曲) and Zhang Hui Mei’s(张惠妹) Time To Say Goodbye : A Mei Hong Kong Live(歌声妹影).  Both performed with the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra.  We always wondered why there aren’t such concert in Singapore.

Thanks to Kit Chan and Singapore Chinese Orchestra!  We are certainly counting down to 12 February 2011!

I only got news of the concert yesterday morning through the email from Esplanade. With much excitement, I rang SISTIC almost immediately to book my tickets.  Many seats had already been snatched up by then and I only managed to get Category Two tickets on the back row of Stall seats.  That was a slight disappointment but it is glad to know that Kit still commands a high level of popularity after all these years!  She is indeed Singapore’s most enduring songbird!

ONE华健世界巡回演唱会 - ONE WAKIN LIVE IN SINGAPORE CONCERT

2009年2月7日的晚上是一个特别的夜晚。 老公和我出席了一场演唱会。 这是我们2009年度的第一场流行音乐演唱会, 更特别的是因为开唱者是我们非常喜欢、在歌坛已屹立22年的实力派歌手周华健!

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当晚, 新加坡室内体育馆座无虚席,吴作栋夫人也前去捧场了。如果没记错, 上一次周华健的演唱会,吴夫人也出席了。在感谢吴夫人的当儿, 周华健说吴夫人买了20张票呢!

配合屋顶演唱会的主题, 舞台的布置就有如屋顶般,除了有挂着衣服和被单的竹竿、还有卫星接收器,一盆盆的绿叶植物。舞台上整十个大小的荧幕,呈现出不同的画面, 包括好多的照片,感觉很温馨。wakin09-3

演唱会的开场也很特别,从上一场演唱会(2006年)的片段开始。

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这已是我们第四次看周华健的演唱会了。虽然心里也都很清楚他大概会唱些什么歌曲, 但是还是很兴奋、很期待。果然、 周华健没有让他的歌迷、支持者失望!当晚,还是有惊喜的。四小时的演唱会, 周华健再一次的让大家见证了他的实力。他的才华、唱功、首首经典好歌,幽默、我想我就不必多提了。我深信看了演唱会的人都会认同的是,这是一场非常精彩的演唱会, 甚至比上一场更为精彩!

演唱会的第二部分回顾了周华健22年演唱生涯里的一些点滴,如他歌唱事业里的第一次。这一段让我们更认识了周华健。 在这一部分的最后一段,来自台湾的竖琴好手,Lu Lu老师, 展现了她的才华。在古典音乐演奏会上, 常会有竖琴的部分。但这可是我们第一次在流行音乐演唱会上看到竖琴的出现。

感觉到出席周华健演唱会的歌迷、观众都是属于比较成熟、保守派的吧。 为什么这么说呢? 因为与其他的演唱会相比之下, 当晚的出席者都是乖乖的坐着的, 一直到演唱会将结束前, 一群歌迷才站了起来。还有,与其他的歌手很不一样的是, 周华健是不必说些激动人心的话如“给我多一点掌声好吗?”, “掌声还不够” 等等的话来赢取观众的掌声。 虽然这样、 当晚是绝对不缺掌声、也没有冷场的。这就是周华健的成功! 我们倒是比较喜欢这样的一个方式、气氛。

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这一次的演唱会也让我们看到了几位很有才华的乐手。除了刚才提到的竖琴表演者, 还有saxophonist, electric double-bassist。 负责音乐指导的Li Qi老师也是一位很棒的小提琴手。表演嘉宾是一位本土的异族同胞,Wynne. 除 此, 周华健也演唱了英语歌曲、齐豫的“橄榄树” 和孙燕姿的“天黑黑”。他说当年是用“橄榄树” 这一首流行歌曲说服他父母让他当歌手的。

Music Director and Chief Violinist, Li Qili-qi

musiciansGuest singer, Wynn, a local talentwynn

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上、下: 来自Young Talent 的小小合唱天使

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更多的经典歌曲在以下的录象片段

Encore前的最后一首歌 “朋友”huajian9

Encore 的录象

在演唱最后一首歌”璀璨”前, 周华健说他一定不会哭, 但是唱着唱着还是激动的哭了。huajian7

四小时的演唱会结束时已是午夜了。huajian8

ONE华健世界巡回演唱会相片馆

Photo Album of One Wakin Live In Singapore Concert

度过了一个难忘的夜晚。 期待的是周华健的下一个演唱会。某人在其中的一段录象上留言说,能够去现场看周华健的演唱会是件幸福的事。我想是吧!

What a memorable concert and a wonderful night! Thanks to Wakin! We will surely cherish it for a long time…..

这几天,在整理这些录象片段, 以便上载到Youtube时,重复的将这些录象看了又看的却一点都看不腻。每一首歌依旧是那么的动听、每一段歌词都是那么的有意思。。。