The One Revisted : Super Blues Talk
22nd January 2009
Back on the big stage. A month ago, I played at the grand opening of The One. Before I knew it, I was back in at The One again. Only this time I was to do a full show and to share the stage with two of the brightest stars in China. The name of the show : Super Blues Talk.
This is it, this is The One Revisited.
There is nothing quite like stepping on the big stage. The excitment, the anticipation, the adranline and the sense of occasion all hit you the moment you set foot on it. Playing in a small club gives you an intimate atompshere. Playing on the big stage puts you right under the spot lights. On the big stage, you feel lonely but at the same time you a freedom you don't find in a small club. On the big stage, you also feel so much stronger the punch and energy of the music you make. You can literally feel the power of music at your finger tips; every single note you play reverberates and hangs in the air, and you can almost touch the notes you play. The spot lights blind you, you cannot quite see the audience but you know they are there alright. You know everyone is listening to you with undivided attention, and you walk up on stage and hit the first note on your guitar.....
Less than two weeks after arriving home from the grand opening, I received a call from Terry Wong telling me to get ready for a show at the end of January. On the night, I was do a one hour set, Zheng Ling would also do a one hour set. The third set would be me and Zheng Ling playing together. Needless to say, Lung Lung would be there as well. When I saw Zheng Ling performed on stage the grand opening, I felt a kindred spirit. I have never met him before. But listening to his music I felt I have know him a long time. This time I get to play with him.
Zheng Ling aka "Big John" is the best know Rhythm & Blues singer and bass player in Beijing. He spent quite some years living in Australia and now he is back living in his home town Beijing. Big John has his music roots in Jazz, Blues and Rhythm & Blues. He blended all his musical influences and released a solo recording called "Song For Woman Big John". The recording is a cauldron of all his musical influences and features 9 original compositions and one Jazz standard. Apart from singing on all the tunes, Big John also played bass on all the tracks.
Music is every where inside The One. They have a mural dedicated to Jimi Hendrix. Overlooking this massive Hendrix painting is a lounge area where you can have small party exclusive to all other customers. The main office of the place also looks great.
This time I get to meet my old friend Antony "Tazan" Chung. Antony (that is how he spells his name) and I went back at least 30 years. He was my bassist for a short time when I was trying to be a full time Bluesman and a part-time lawyer. But my playing was not any good and he soon parted for greener pastures. He relocated in China some 15 years ago and is happily married and father of a son. It is so good to meet again. In picture with us is Percy Laws, the architect and designer of The One.
The show was on Friday 22nd January. There was going to be just one rehearsal before the show. The backing band included bass, drums and the magnificant Tsui See Fung on piano and keyboards. Tsui See Fung is the piano player from Lung Lung's band Union Lake. Top-notch player he is. One thing I noticed during the rehearsal was the sound balance on stage was very very good. Through the stage monitors, every single instrument came out crystal clear, all balanced in the nicest possible way, the levels were right, the eq was right and the mix was right. When I sang, my voice was right in my face. There were also three roadies looking after me on stage, helping me with cables, changing guitas, making sure I always had everything I wanted. Everything little thing was well looked after. Playing music had never been more easy and enjoyable.
One the night, we had a full house and I revelled and relished every minute on stage. For my part of the show, the bass and drums would have benefitted with another rehearsal. But nothing is perfect. Tsui See Fung was fantastic on the piano and keyboards. He did a cracking solo in "Stranger". It really brought the house down. My guest was a harp player from Taiwan, Mark Pang. He joined me on Last Nite and Homework. We had a great jam.
This was the highlight of the show, when guests joined in and we had a party on stage. So good.
I always feel sad when we say goodbye to the audience. I always do. But when the music was great and everyone had a good time, it is always sweet, bitter sweet. You just never know whether you will come this way again. All you can do is to enjoy the moment.