It’s been nearly a year since I last went to Star Live, and the venue hasn’t changed even a little bit. The space is still as open and stark as ever, the gigs still start painstakingly on time, and the sound is still noticeably better than a lot of the smaller venues. And while I didn’t expect it to be a great venue for a folk gig no matter how much Su Yang rocks, it worked out really well. The wide open space was packed to the brim with energetic fans, and Su Yang is the right performer with the right music to command the attention of every inch of the room. The beer situation was a little problematic, but since I spent most of the gig transfixed with the performance, it didn’t affect me all that much.
As I learned last year (almost to the day, creepily), Star Live is not a venue you go to late. Due to a Christmas Eve Love Actually–related delay, we turned up at about quarter past, which turned out to be just in the nick of time. If you’ve listened to Su Yang’s album 贤良 (Wise & Good), you’ll know that arguably his most powerful song is 凤凰 (fèng huáng/Phoenix), as it turns up not only regularly recorded but also with a live version to round out the album. We got there maybe one song before he performed this one, and it was well worth it. The performance was backed up by a video in folk art style depicting the industrialization of farming towns, which was gorgeous. I wish there was a songmeanings.net for Chinese songs, because the subtleties of this song are undoubtedly lost on me, but it’s always a crowd-pleaser.