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Su Rey shines on

Written by kaitor on 9:49 AM

CHOW EE-TAN revisits some of the most popular Chinese rock and ballad hits of the 1980s with Taiwanese legend Su Rey.

SHE may have been lying low in recent years but the minute Taiwanese songbird Julie Su Rey stands on the stage, there is no denying that her shining star has not diminished.

After all, this is the artiste who brought us the famous movie theme song Jiu Gan Tang Bui Bo (Wine Selling Song) and the sensational rock-feel The Same Moonlight.

Between 1983 and 1988, the singer with a unique raspy voice and charismatic showmanship cut 10 records, all of which were bestsellers. Many of her songs hit Top 10 charts in Taiwan and Hong Kong and she was a pioneer among Taiwanese artistes to have staged concerts in Hong Kong and successfully made her mark in the region.

After a seven-year hiatus from Malaysian stage, Su Rey returned with a blast in the Su Rey Live in Genting 2007 concert at Genting Highlands’ Arena of Stars recently. It was a nostalgic affair, filled with great and familiar music. Yes, she still commands full-house, mainly the middle-aged. But there weresome young children who had tagged along!
She appeared on stage clad in a white blouse, short black skirt and black knee-length boots and gave us one hit after another covering genres rock, jazz and ballad.

She didn’t forget her biggest Cantonese hit Going Ahead with Love.

She may be in her 50s now but Su Rey is still very much the rock chick she once was, evident by her music and style.

Although she’s no longer a contemporary pop idol, the atmosphere throughout the two-hour concert was as warm and passionate as before. The applause and the cheering never stopped.

It was obvious that her fans adore her. There were shouts of “Su Rey, I love you!”, to which the delighted singer replied affectionately: “I love you too!”

Taiwanese rock duo Power Station were her guest artistes and when they burst onto the stage with the high-energy Passionate Dessert, the audience immediately got on their feet and sang along.

The duo, casually clad in white T-shirt and blue jeans, also showed off their grasp of our national language by greeting the audience in Malay.

They later teamed up with Su Rey, who reappeared in a black patent trench coat, to give a superb rendition of The Same Moonlight which climaxed into an explosive rock chorus. When she sang her beautiful sentimental numbers such as Yes Or No and Change, her sultry voice was so full of emotion it gave us goose pimples!

Later on, there was another surprise guest artiste in the form of Malaysian singer-songwriter Wing (Chiu Wei Yi), who sang Moon Represents My Heart, a mellow and more sensuous version, before singing his own song, More Love Than Love, which also saw himplaying the guitar.

Wing paired with Su Rey, whom he affectionately referred to as his big sister and role model, in the moving Please Follow Me.

Su Rey related later she’s loved singing since she was a young girl and was fortunate that her parents had been very supportive.

“Don’t oppose if your children like to sing. Who knows, one day they may find their confidence on stage,” she said, to loud applause. And at this point, she introduced another surprise “guest artiste” — a nine-year-old girl named Rachel whom she specially arranged to do a duet with her.

It was heartwarming to see Su Rey holding the girl’s hand as they sang Dear Child. The girl was so calm and confident and sang her part with ease.

It might have been the music or the warmth shown by her audience, but Su Rey, who is twice divorced, decided to open up and share towards the end of the show.

“Many people are concerned about my love life but in the last few years, it has been a blank piece of paper. Whatever that has happened and whether good or bad, to me, it’s all in the past now,” she said.

She went on to render a song which she said represented her personal life. She crooned Rung Yian (Appearance) with such heartfelt emotion that there were moments her voice choked and there was the glimmer of tears in her eyes.

Of course, she couldn’t leave before singing her most famous song Jiu Gan Tang Bui Bo, which after more than two decades, is still a hot favourite.

Even after Su Rey bid good-bye to the audience for the second time and even after the lights came on, many refused to leave and called for yet another encore.

So the affable Su Rey relented and came out to sing Tomorrow Still Continues On, ending an awe-inspiring and unforgettable evening on a positive note.

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