Date: September 1, 2013
Location: Queen Elizabeth Stadium, Hong Kong.
Hong Kong-born Anthony Lun moonlighted as a lounge singer-pianist in the United States before returning to his birthplace to make a successful career in cantopop. As a composer, he writes music, often oozy love ballads, that could be infectious: “Why Did I Let You Go?” (我為何讓你走), sung by heartthrob Aaron Kwok, became such a hit in 1992 that teenagers were heard humming to its melody inside classrooms and at street corners. His lyricist for that song, YL Poon, was even accused of poisoning the public with the prospects of reckless alcoholism: “從來沒有飲品只有酒，迎著夜雨淚更爽快地流 / There were no beverage, just alcohol; let that flow along with chilling rain and tears”. As an arranger, he often reweaves old music into unique fabrics of his own, such as his lauded re-imagination of David Foster’s “And When She Danced” into “Fleeting Memory of this Love” 此情只待成追憶, a hit song he sang with Sandy Lam. Between the late-80s and mid-90s, during the peak of his powers, Lun has composed over 40 No. 1 chart hits – “Why” and “Fleeting” being two of them – no small feat as the period was widely considered to be cantopop’s commercial heyday. Over the years, he has collaborated with and composed songs for Faye Wong, Andy Lau, Anita Mui and Elisa Chan, to name a few; to say that he owned cantopop during that period was not an exaggeration. Since then, his career, though not drawing to a close, has become more subdued. After a very brief career in Japan, he has produced fewer hits, though, as a capable pianist, often found himself onstage as guest collaborators on other people’s stages. This weekend at the Queen Elizabeth Stadium, the stage was entirely his own. Now in his late fifties, he sang a few of his old hits while being his own accompanist on keyboard. His voice still lent a shimmering ring, and his piano playing was neat and tidy. Most importantly, he engaged his audience with such a flexible combination of acerbic wit and natural sincerity that would shame most of today’s cantopop wannabes half his age. His performance this weekend was not a Norma Desmond in search of past glory, but one that made a strong case that he, in fact, has never left.