As dozens of Taiwan's rising rock 'n' rollers stand shoulder-to-shoulder, belting out a chorus during a practice session, one can’t help but think of the syrupy refrains of "We Are The World," or the kind-hearted spirit of Band-aid.
"La la la, la la la ... Let us start from here."
But this is not just another charity event. This is what Taiwan's major bands members call the advent of the rock 'n' roll century, at least here at home.
The all-star chorus, clad in white T-shirts, is comprised of five bands: Luan Tan, Mayday, Tolaku, Backquarter and The Chairman. They are the most visible rock bands in Taiwan's pop music market - signing with record labels
such as Mandala, Rock Records, Sony, TCM and Tiger Music - and they will be singing tonight at the Simply Jeans Rock Band Concert (世紀 Band 搖滾).
"Our time has finally come!" Luan Tan's vocal and key person Chen Tai-hsiang (陳秦翔, or A-hsiang) said when the band beat four other rock bands and received their second Golden Melody Award for Best Group. They had won another in 1998.
He was then lifted up and tossed in the air several times by other nominated band members in celebration. It's a celebration that the band sound had been well recognized and become one of dominant music genres in Taiwan's pop
At the "victory party" after the awards, Ni Chung-hua (倪重華), chairman of Mandala (真言社) and the so-called godfather of Taiwan's live concerts, said to other heads of record labels, "We should have a concert to let Taiwan's
best bands sing together!"
Tonight will be the realization of that suggestion and an opportunity for a reunion of the brotherhood cherished by the band members, initially forged during their days as underground bands or pub bands.
What Taiwan Rock Festival 2000 (野台開唱).
Who Around 100 bands, including Anarchy, LTK, and many of those in the other concerts mentioned above.
When Today through Sunday, 9am to 10pm
Where Children's Amusement Center (兒童育樂中心) on Chungshan North Road (across from the Taipei Fine Arts Museum)
Tickets NT$15 for students, NT$30 for adults
Check the web site: www.taiwanrockfest.com for the complete schedule.
Tonight's concert also coincides with two other music festivals: the Ho-Hai-Yan Taipei County Rock Festival, which took place last weekend, and the Taiwan Rock Festival (野台開唱), in which Backquarter, Tolaku and The Chairman will also be playing this weekend. But distinct from the
extemporaneous, carnival atmosphere of those two festivals, the Simply Jeans Rock Band Concert is specifically prepared and designed — just like Mandala's unique promotions of Wubai, which consisted of a series of live shows a few years ago. The company has also fostered the success of Lin
Chiang (林強) and Joy Topper (豬頭皮).
The focus of the three-hour show will be a chorus song — "Starting From Here" (從這裡開始), co-written and practiced by the five bands during the past two months. Each band will choose a player to form a new band to play and sing the song. “The song incorporates characteristics of the five bands," said A-hsiang. "We hope to generate a Taiwan rock spirit from the song and hope everybody can sing along," added A-jih (阿吉), from The Chairman. The musicians hope the song will become an anthem of bands in Taiwan.
For the five band members, "Starting From Here" not only stands for the momentous coming of age for rock in Taiwan, but it is also intended to send hope to The Chairman's vocalist, Kuan-yu (冠宇), who now suffers from leukemia and is waiting for marrow transplant surgery. The concert is also a fundraiser for the Children with Cancer Foundation.
According to other Chairman members, Kuan-yu will show up for tonight's concert.
The band's name means playing music in disorder and is, in fact, a music genre in traditional Taiwanese temple music — Pei Kuan (北管). Luan Tan refers to an amateur music style that old Taiwanese play during farming breaks.