When music symbolises – or even, becomes synonymous to – the passing of time, it transcends the abstract and becomes a natural state.
Rainie Yang’s music is testament to that truth. And the title of her concert, Youth Lies Within, is the cosmic center in which everything else that night revolved around. More significantly, it is a poignant statement that answers and embodies a question: Who lives in our youth? There is no doubt that we contain multitudes – numerous versions of the self that have flourished, fizzled out, and even been revived – but this show spotlighted an ineludible truth: Over the past 19 years, what accompanied us through the ever-evolving facets of the self is the steady, comforting presence of her music.
Aptly opening with ‘年轮说 Traces of Time in Love’, the title track of her 10th and latest album, Rainie Yang reached out with an invitation to the shared space of that night, marked with interweaving themes of youth and love. Using the metaphor of tree rings to express the passing of time, she tenderly, yet unyieldingly, crooned about heartaches in the meandering journeys of our existence. Decked in a flowing, cerulean blue gown, she fully embodied the fluidity of the experience she delivered with her voice.
In her opening speech, she poignantly said, in Chinese: “Tonight, I’ll bring songs that remind you of your youth, which is also my youth”. And indeed, for the rest of the night, she indulged us with an earnest performance, putting forth a blend of well-loved classics and newer tracks off her extensive discography.
Building towards the first emotional peak of the night, she presented classics ‘点水’ and ‘想幸福的人’, before delivering the track which the concert was named after, ‘青春住了谁 Youth Lies Within’. Reminding us that this was a precious, shared moment suspended in time, she willingly relinquished her time on the microphone and allowed our voices to be heard.
An intimate video of a conversation between two Rainie Yangs, presumably her present and younger selves, was screened, allowing us a glimpse into her reality and her youth. In a Q&A style, she answered numerous questions, including “When was your first kiss?”, “What is your favourite cartoon?” and “Have you ever chased a boy?”, in a breezy manner. The segment which the audience reacted to with cheers was “Have you ever imagined what your ideal proposal would look like?”, to which she answered “I haven’t really thought about it, but I hope my close friends can be present”. Recently married to singer Li Ronghao, she also revealed that her life has changed drastically in the two years between the filming of that video and now.
Exclusive to the Singapore and Malaysia shows, she dedicated ‘少年维特的烦恼 My Dear’ and ‘失眠的睡美人’ to local fans. Sincerely conveying her gratitude for the love over the years, she also apologised for the six-year gap between her previous appearance in Singapore and this show, promising she will return soon. However, despite her long period of time away, she exhibited an ineffable rapport with her audience. Teasing that she would add more songs to her set list if the crowd screamed loudly enough, she eventually lived up to her promise and delivered two additional tracks, ‘喜剧收场’ and ‘晒焦的一双耳朵’.
In the final segment of the night, she evoked a keen melancholy with some fan-favourites and a compilation video which showcased her journey as a solo artist from 2005 to the present, chronicling the transformation from her fresh-faced days to the maturity she displays today.
Arriving at the pinnacle of emotion, she delivered ‘一千零一个愿望’, her first-ever song with the girl group, 4 in Love, which she debuted with. This was followed by lovelorn classics ‘雨爱’, ‘我们都傻’ and ‘暧昧’. As the intro to ‘暧昧’ filled the theatre, Rainie Yang called out for everyone to sing along and switch on their phone flashlights, transforming the space into a galactic, shimmering ocean.
Before she launched into her final song, ‘匿名的好友’, a heartfelt dedication to her fans, she affectionately declared, “This is a gift to all of the anonymous friends”.
The night ended with a profound reminder that the Rainie we know has come so far, and yet remains the same Rainie we love.
Special thanks to Live Nation Singapore for the invite.