Pop singer Tien Fu-chen (田馥甄), commonly known as Hebe of the hugely popular group S.H.E, made much-anticipated debut solo appearances at sold-out concerts at Legacy Taipei (傳音樂展演空間) over the weekend.
Apart from delivering an evening of enchanting music, Tien also provided the rare spectacle of a pop idol transforming into an adult crooner right before audiences’ eyes. For the legions of S.H.E pop fans in the know, this metamorphosis was a savored event.
Tien, who last month took a break from S.H.E. to release her solo album titled To Hebe, embarked on the weekend’s concerts with a 24-song set. Besides performing 10 songs from her own album, Tien spent the evening tackling everything from Brit-pop to dream pop and jazz to rock, and showed just how wide her range is.
“I want to show who Tien Fu-chen is and what my preferences are with this concert,” Tien explained in an introductory speech. The girl “with the personality” in S.H.E, Tien prefers sophisticated material.
She kicked off the show with a rock version of To Hebe’s anthemic first single, Love?
“I love you, you love her, she loves him ... how come no one loves himself or herself in this world?” The lyrics underline Tien’s philosophy. In contrast to the majority of Mando-pop ballads, which focus on unconditional love, Tien believes in loving herself first.
After the opening song, Tien marched into the Beatles’ Come Together. Sporting a ponytail and covered by a cape, she swayed back and forth and pouted her lips. Though too sweet and cute to carry off rock’s defiant attitude convincingly, Tien’s personality and vocal delivery conveyed the song’s message well.
Part of the evening’s entertainment was watching how this usually polished performer was suddenly struck speechless. Instructed by her label to interact with the audience between songs, Tien attempted some banter, but said, “I don’t know what to say anymore,” even before she’d got to the fifth song. Later on, she forsook the interaction and devoted herself to singing.
She tackled Katy Perry’s feminism-lite I Kissed a Girl before delivering an acoustic version of Jolin Tsai’s (蔡依林) Dancing Diva (舞孃), which she imbued with more mischievousness and dramatic punch than the original.
Tien sang Coldplay’s Trouble and James Blunt’s You Are Beautiful before sinking her teeth into Lisa Ekdahl’s version of the jazz standard Cry Me a River.
Whether attempting Brit rock, Blunt’s entrancing chorus, or emulating the improvisational flourishes of jazz, Tien evoked the right mood and was pitch perfect.
As a solo act, the singer is demure and shy. S.H.E bandmate Selena (Chinese name Jen Chia-hsuan, 任家萱) was on hand to provide some comic relief by delivering a well-timed teasing routine halfway during the show.
During the second half of the evening, Tien paid tribute to her two Mando-pop idols: Sandee Chan (陳珊妮) and Faye Wong (王菲). She performed Chan’s Love Song (情歌) before emulating Wong’s signature groaning vocals on Dr. Blind (by Emily Haines & The Soft Skeleton) and Ha Ha (by Emiliana Torrini).
Audience members, many of whom were in their 20s and early 30s, displayed their appreciation of Tien’s brave and competent gig with passionate applause.
While the evening’s song list was overly ambitious, no one could doubt her versatility as a singer.
Tien will perform in Hong Kong on Nov. 6 at the Hong Kong International Trade & Exhibition Centre — Star Hall (國際展貿中心—匯星). Visit www.hkticketing.com for ticketing information.