Fri, Oct 19, 2007 - Page 13 News List

'Flower' power

Wu Bai and China Blue are expected to pack stadiums when the legendary rockers take their 2007 Flower Tour on the road across Taiwan

By Ron Brownlow  /  Staff Reporter

Wu Bai (伍佰) and China Blue, who made live, guitar-oriented rock 'n' roll popular in Taiwan, kick off a four-city tour starting at the end of this month and tickets are expected to sell out quickly. Labeled "the king of live music," Wu Bai is one of the biggest pop music stars in East and Southeast Asia, though he has also maintained a measure of local street credibility as the epitome of taike (台客) chic. Once a derogative appellation used to refer to someone with a low-class attitude or style, taike has now been subverted and has gained street credibility

With his distinctive helmet hair, powerful blues-oriented chords and lyrics in Hoklo and Mandarin, Wu Bai emerged in the mid-1990s as the figurehead of Taiwanese rock 'n' roll, packing stadiums with crowds of up to 100,000 and generating record sales of more than 600,000 copies for his most popular albums. Along with May Day (五月天) and Back Quarter (四分衛), Wu Bai and his band - bassist Ju Jian-hui (朱劍輝), drummer Dean "Dino" Zavolta and keyboard player Yu Dai-ho (余大豪) - are one of the few big-time local acts with garage-band roots.

At 39, Wu Bai, whose monikers include the "cult master" and the "king of Chinese rock," has released a dozen studio albums with China Blue. He's also acted in four movies and served as a spokesman for Taiwan Beer. "I pursue light and heat. I like this kind of beautiful lavish life. So I push myself, burn myself, and see how far I can go," he wrote in his biography/photo album retrospective Moonlight Symphony (月光交響曲).

With his Taiwanese-accented Mandarin and rock star looks, Wu Bai, whose real name is Wu Chun-lin (吳俊霖), projects the image of the archetypical taike. Since the first TK Rock concert (台客搖滾嘉年華) in 2005, he has enjoyed new popularity as Taiwanese who are proud of their heritage embrace elements of the country's working-class culture.

Tour notes

What: Wu Bai (伍佰) and China Blue's 2007 Flower Tour

Tainan

When: Saturday, Oct. 27 at 7:45pm

Where: Tainan Municipal Cultural Center Performance Hall (台南市立文化中心演藝廳), 332, Chunghua E Rd Sec 3, Tainan (台南市中華東路三段332 號)

Tickets: NT$800 to NT$2,800

Taichung

When: Saturday, Nov. 3 at 7:45pm

Where: Huisun Auditorium of the National Chung Hsing University, Taichung (台中中興大學惠蓀堂)

Tickets: NT$800 to NT$2,800

Hualien

When: Saturday, Nov. 10 at 7:45pm

Where: Hualien County Stadium (花蓮縣立體育館), 1 Dagu Huwan Da Rd, Hualien City (花蓮市達固湖灣大路1號)

Tickets: NT$800 to NT$2,800

Taipei

When: Saturday, Dec. 15 at 7:45pm

Where: Taipei Arena ( 台北小巨蛋), 2 Nanjing E Rd Sec 4, Taipei (台北市南京東路四段2號)

Tickets: NT$800 to NT$3,000

Tickets are available through ERA ticketing or online at www.ticket.com.tw. For more information, call (07) 740-3466 or visit www.kham.com.tw


Wu Bai and China Blue have a uniquely Taiwanese take on rock 'n' roll, with influences like puppet theater (布袋戲) and old TV variety shows. Zavolta said they favor "more of an Asian pop rock 'n' roll style" that combines power chords with groovy bubble gum pop. "We try to stay on the cutting edge musically and try to keep it real, but still have a certain sound," he said. China Blue was formed in 1991 by Zavolta and Ju, who soon met a then-pudgy young guitarist named Wu Bai. They got their first big break in 1992, when they wrote two songs for a movie soundtrack. Their most popular album, 1996's The End of Love (愛情的盡頭), has sold more than 600,000 copies.

Fans can expect some new material mixed with old hits at the band's upcoming concerts, Zavolta said, but a new album is currently not in the works. "I don't know what we're coming up with next," he said. "I don't know what Wu Bai has up his sleeve."

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