Live Review: A-Lin “Sonar World Tour”– Plenary, Melbourne Convention And Exhibition Centre (12.08.16)

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Aboriginal Taiwanese singer A-Lin was in Melbourne for her SONAR World Tour on Friday night. This is A-Lin’s second time in Melbourne after her concert with Shin in 2011 and the filming of her music video for “A Big Big Hug”

Prior to seeing her perform, my impression of A-Lin was a friendly pop diva with the ability to warm hearts through her music. But to my surprise, her voice was more than a warm ray of sunshine and there was more on offer than her classic healing love songs.

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The singer took the stage in a dazzling white dress with some of her signature love songs such as “A Best Friend’s Blessings” and “PS I Love You”. The atmosphere transitioned from loud cheers upon her appearance to almost silence with the crowd drawn into her voice echoing the Plenary, Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre. The lighting of the venue complimented her beautiful voice which captured not only your ears but also your eyes. A-Lin then quickly changed the scene from her lovely ballads to her sexy dance part, ripping off the tail of her dress to become a short fringe skirt that flowed through the air while she wiped out her dance moves. Heating up with excitement, the audience clapped to the beat in a sea of blue and red light sticks.

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A short interlude provided A-Lin a chance to change into a stunning red dress, before belting out her classic track “Give Me A Reason To Forget” that was also the first song she sang competing in Chinese reality show “I Am Singer“. The singer who shot to fame due to the show has dedicated a segment performing the covers she previously sang in the competition. A-Lin talked about her journey on the show linking the story telling of her experience with her song medley. It started with her breaking down in tears after her second performance because she couldn’t cope juggling the pressure of the competition and promotions for her new album at the time. But luckily, she was inspired by fellow competitor, Jane Zhang‘s performance of “Born To Be Wild” and eventually became to feel more comfortable with the show and the other contestants. She expressed when she was struggling to pick what to sing next, she thought of her father and was overwhelmed with gratitude when he agreed with no second thought. She further explained that her father was against her becoming a singer and singing A-mei‘s “When I Think of You” together on stage was not only a first, but also an opportunity to share her Aboriginal roots. When she reached the part about how she needed to invite a friend to sing with on the show, she pulled an enthusiastic fan to the front of the stage to sing in place of her good friend Shin‘s “Embrace in Strong Wind”. Despite being constantly told she was “not choosing the right songs to compete”, A-Lin stood by what she believed and chose songs she believes is close to the heart. She tells her fans that she is very thankful to have had the chance to be on “I Am Singer” and let more people know her passion for music.

The soothing atmosphere continued as A-Lin asks fans to turn the torches on the phones on to make an ocean of stars alongside “You Are Not Missing Me Tonight”. No concert is complete without relaying parts of the songs to fans! It was very impressive to hear fans sing in unison to A-Lin’s hit song “Happiness, Then What”! And of course to make her world tour more memorable, she prepared an English song, Tamia‘s classic hit “Officially Missing You” for her Melbourne fans.

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To hype the crowd up even more, A-Lin brought out gifts to present her fans! You know, the ‘we will go where the cheers are’ while she threw caps into the crowd. She then followed by saying “I have another gift for you guys, well, his voice is a gift” and welcomed her surprise guest Xiaoyu (Song Nian Yu). The two performed Xiaoyu’s hit track “Finally Said It” as well as their 2012 duet “920”. She left her guest to perform “Transition Period” from his last album while she changed for her next segment. What a treat to hear two amazing vocals in one night!

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The diva came back with a series of fast-paced songs like “I’m Worth It”, “A Big Big Hug” and even jumped off stage to get up close to fans during “Lin Limit”. Talk about fan service! When A-Lin announced that the concert was coming to an end, one of her fans jokingly threw her light sticks onto the ground in protest. The cheeky singer decides to pull the fan up and completes “Forget Love” with her fan becoming a backup dancer. Definitely a way to make a heart-wrenching song a lot more lighthearted.

Perhaps one of my favourite parts of the night was the ending song “Give Me A Reason To Forget”. Her classic hit became a big singalong with a packed venue of MCEC singing with her. Unlike most artists who prepare an encore segment. A-Lin stepped up and ask took requests instead. She performed “Lovelorn, Not Guilty”, “What Have You Taken Away”, “I’m Very Busy” and “I Am Very Happy Now” unaccompanied by her band which truly showed the powerhouse’s immaculate pitch and versatile range.

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A-Lin definitely lives up to her powerhouse diva name and has definitely touched me with her warm but powerful vocals. She is able to convey so much emotion purely based on her voice and will certainly reach out to hearts through her healing love songs or motivational pieces. The singer’s friendly yet cheeky personality also brought a lot of laughs, with one of my favourite quotes of the night being: “Do you mind if I drink some water? Melbourne’s water tastes so good” followed by a giggle.

I am happy to say that A-Lin’s Melbourne show was definitely a huge success and many lucky fans went home with some great memories due to A-Lin’s big doses of fan service. This was a great opportunity for me to enjoy some world class vocals and A-Lin and Xiaoyu will both be singers I will look forward to in the future.

Photos by Anthony Smith