by Stephanie Zheng
Malaysian singer-songwriter Namewee delivered an exciting performance of viral hits, crude humour and more at his “4896” world tour on Saturday (3 February) at the The Star Performing Arts Centre.
For the uninitiated, “4896” in Hokkien means “very powerful”, which is the feeling 34-year-old Namewee – a.k.a. Wee Meng Chee – was hoping to convey to his audience at his first-ever concert in Singapore.
More than a couple of families with young children were seen in the audience, despite the “Advisory 16” rating from IMDA for mature content and coarse language.
The concert started with high-energy opening act ‘Happy Go’ by Malaysian girlband AMOi-AMOi, followed by a musing video montage of controversies, covering Namewee’s various run-ins with detractors and even the Malaysian government.
But the concert soon embarked into familiar territory. He delivered catchy raps in ‘We Are Gangster’, ‘Muar Mandarin’ (麻坡的华语), and selected songs inspired from Asian countries like Thailand ‘Thai Cha Cha’ (泰国恰恰) and Hong Kong ‘Learn Cantonese’ (学广东话).
Namewee’s signature cheekiness was best showcased in the second medley of the concert as he got the audience to sing along to ‘Geebai People’ (击败人) with a friendly nod to the authorities. During another song ‘Pa Pa Pa’ (啪啪啪), condom animations confetti-ed down a screen in the background.
Viral hits like ‘Miss You’ (好想你) was performed acoustically, while Singaporean singer Boon Hui Lu joined him in a rousing rendition of ‘Stranger In The North’ (漂向北方) and ‘We Are Nothing’.
After Namewee belted the song specifically making fun of singing competitions ‘High Pitched’ (飙高音), Jack Neo himself strolled onto stage and sang a duet of ‘Funny Action!’ (搞笑快行动) and ‘不要认为自己没有用’.
But it was not all fun and games. Namewee revealed his sensitive side with an innocent anecdote about the first song he wrote when he was 15, ‘One Night Stand’, before bringing his mum and dad on stage for songs ‘Mother’ (老母) and ‘Father’s Dream’ (爸爸的梦).
He got onstage again to raucous laughter for two encores, ‘Thai Love Song’ (泰国情哥) and ‘Sorry Boss’ (不想上班).
The concert was a riot, with no-holds-barred jokes peppered between well-executed songs, and there was even a barely-concealed jibe at local personality Steven Lim. He also hinted at a single song that was removed among the set list that was sent to IMDA.
Namewee will be performing next at Resorts World Genting on 24 March 2018.
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