A Classic Jacky Cheung Post: Reflections on 15 Years of Fandom
December 22, 2002 at 2 PM, after much begging and pleading, hours of hard labor (i.e. chores), having manipulated communication between my parents to obtain tickets, and spending two hours in worry struck panic that we wouldn't even leave central PA that day due to my younger sister's fever from getting her tonsils out, I was sitting at the *cough* Trump *cough* Taj Mahal Casino in Atlantic City about to see Jacky Cheung's 张学友 Music Odyssey concert. I was 14 years old at the time, could not speak a word of Chinese and had enough questions from the security guards that assumed we were in the wrong place. The concert was amazing, even though I only knew maybe half the songs he sang and had no idea what he was saying to the audience in between sets. I also snuck to the stage to randomly interrupt him at one point and shook his hand. Yes, I have washed my hand since.
Fast forward 15 years, and I've just bought my tickets to Jacky's 2018 U.S. stop on the "A Classic" tour. The number of years made me feel old. (OMG I'm almost 30!) And the total $$ I've spent on CDs, movies, and concerts also made me feel poor (OMG I just spent how much on tickets?!?!) But it also made me start thinking about the past 15 years in terms of the inflection points that his concerts have always fallen at in my life.
Obviously, the first concert in 2002 was significant for me. I had been listening to Chinese music and watching any and all Chinese movies for two years at that point but still focused more on mimicking the sounds and less on actually UNDERSTANDING WHAT THE HELL THEY WERE SAYING. That concert in 2002 changed that! At the very least, I wanted to be able to read the gossip magazines and fan club message boards. (come on, priorities!)
February 25, 2007, at 2 AM, I'm a freshman in college, and back at the Trump Taj Mahal seeing the Year of Jacky Cheung concert. Still not actually legal to drink, nor be in a casino, I'm excited but tired having traveled across two states in the course of 24 hours. By that year, I had accomplished one semester of Chinese language! ...which helped me 0 at the concert. Somehow, "What do you want to eat" was not very relevant in a concert setting. Go figure! Not to mention, I was learning Mandarin and not Cantonese, the language of Jacky Cheung. (womp, womp) I knew more songs! My mom new more songs! Yay! The language gods again lit a fire under my ass to study harder and more, which helped to inform my decision to go to the MOST INTENSE CHINESE LANGUAGE SCHOOL abroad. I also had this burning desire to travel to Hong Kong, of which I ended up staying over a month in Hong Kong during study abroad.
January 17th & 18th, 2011. I'm fairly fluent in Mandarin and could also read and write. Reading the fan boards and gossip rags were a breeze. This time around, I could actually read the website where I bought my tickets from. I also had just made a major life change, having moved back to Beijing on a wing and a prayer. And there I was, with one of my best friends at the Olympic basketball stadium seeing Jacky's 1/2 Century concert... yes TWICE. It was the positive spark at the beginning of my second China journey. 6 months later... I was at another inflection point, I quit my first job when another opportunity came along and was preparing to move to Shanghai. Through the magic of connections, I found myself at the Qingdao stop of the same concert tour in box seats. Yes, I saw the same concert three times. I was young and stupid and it was the first time I had my own money. But I was more mature... or so I thought at that time.
Which brings us to today. I can definitely say as I hummed 二分之一的幸福 in 2001, entranzed by 离开以后 in 2007, cried for 一路上有你 in 2011, I've come a long way and there's still more left to come for me.