Archive for January, 2007

legend vs legend

360704351_a5bca4fda1_m.jpgTwo legends were in Hong Kong this week: rock and roll legend Eric Clapton and grammy award winning artist, John Legend. Both shows were amazing but in different ways.

Both performances took place in the Asia World Expo, which is really a poor set up for a concert. At Clapton’s concert, we were seated in the ‘bowl’ which was basically ground level seating. Luckily for us, we had great seats, butI can’t imagine how the people in the 50 or so rows behind us saw anything. And for the staggering ticket prices they charged, I was amazed they got away with it.

The whole venue was packed, yet there was very little energy from the crowd. We were all content to enjoy the show from the comfort of our seats. It wasn’t until the very end when Eric played “Layla” that we finally got off our asses.

I can’t say I blame the audience much. As amazing as Clapton was, he did little to communicate with the audience and encourage them to participate. He is the master – he was there to perform, and we were there to listen. This was a stark contrast to new comer John Legend.

john legend stock photoThe venue for Legend was about one third full, but since they curtained off the other two thirds, it felt surprisingly intimate. When John finally hit the stage the crowd was on their feet immediately. He spoke to the audience throughout his performance — he was extremely charming — and said he was very excited to have his first show in Hong Kong. He encouraged everyone to dance and sing along. And that we did. About three songs in, a group rushed the front and the security guards realised that any attempt at resistance was futile. The concert turned into a party which Legend enthusiastically plugged into, especially when he grabbed a girl from the crowd and danced with her onstage.

Like Clapton, Legend is an exceptional musician, so this show also did not disappoint on any level. His solo performance on the piano of “Ordinary People” was one of the best concert moments I have ever experienced. My only complaint was I thought the sound for Legend was not as clear and perfect as at Clapton’s.

Clapton, for his part, did not rest on his laurels, but instead pulled out all the stops and left no doubt as to why he is still one of the best guitar players in the world. He was accompanied by a band that was so good, it would have outshone him if he was a performer of less calibre and confidence. Instead, they matched him on every level creating a performance that rocked from start to finish.

Clapton left the stage after his encore with a wave. Legend, on the other hand, announced he would be at the Four Seasons after the show before he waved and bowed humbly on his way out.

Of course, we went to the Four Seasons, where we found Legend holding court in the back of the bar. I went to his table and told him how much I enjoyed his show. He asked what my name was, and despite his obvious exhaustion (he was drinking hot water, by the way, mixed with packets of Throat Ease), he was a real gentleman and stood briefly to shake my hand. I asked if he wouldn’t mind signing my ticket stub. “Of course,” he said. I pulled it out of my bag along with a pen. He looked at it briefly, then turned his sexy brown eyes up to look me deep in the eyes. He then said something I didn’t expect. “This is a ticket for Eric Clapton.”

I was, of course, mortified and frantically searched my bag for the ticket. He and his friends laughed and he good-naturedly offered to sign the Clapton ticket. “I love Clapton,” he said.

Instead I went and grabbed my husband’s ticket stub and got the autograph. Exactly where it belongs.


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