Monday, October 09, 2006

They Just Keep Getting Better!

Howdy folks, back from Singapore, but before I tell you about that trip I want to write about Saturday night's excellent performance by ABS - All Blues and Ska.

See ABS at New York New York for the full set of photos. Maybe one day I'll figure out how to post the videos I took.

Charlene, Natari, and I showed up at New York New York Restaurant at 7:30 p.m., because we'd been told that in order to reserve a table at the front we had to get there early and have dinner. Huh. Guess they didn't tell any of the others that, because the place was virtually empty. Since it's Mid Autumn Festival, most of Taipei was outside barbecuing with their friends and family. Ah well, what the hell. We ordered a few dishes and had a nice meal, waiting for the 9:00 show.

But you know, this is Taiwan, and this is ABS, and we know that they never, ever start on time. It must have been at least 9:30 p.m. before we got any music, but it was worth the wait. The show was kicked off by a solo performance of a guy named Mark, half Taiwanese, half American. My goddess, could this guy belt out the tunes. If I hadn't been looking at him, I'd never have believed he was white. The guy can sing. Dino said he, Xiao Zhu, and Da Mao had played with this guy way back before Wu Bai ever showed up on the scene.

We were actually a little bit sorry to see Mark leave the stage, but Dino promised the audience he'd return for the encore. Then ABS kicked in and all was well. They've added another guitarist, Lao Liu, who we'd seen playing with them at the summer street party. Between him and Xiao Yang (whom Dino calls Stevie Ray Yang) the guitar riffs were flying back and forth all evening. Xiao Zhu's bass and Da Mao's keyboards were smoking, and I thought Dino's drum kit was going to explode from the force of his blows. He's not known as 大力打鼓 Da Li Da Gu (Hits the Drums with Vigor) for nothing!

There was a surprise guest at the show. Xiao Yang's regular job is playing guitar for Bobby Chen (whose "Love You 10,000 Years" duet with Wu Bai can be found on the Wu Bai Live CD), and Bobby was in the audience. Unfortunately, Bobby was doing what Bobby does best - drinking. Wu Bai's song "You're Drunk, My Dear" is aimed at Bobby. He's only gotten worse over the years. He got up on stage with the guys, dragged out his harmonica, and they all did one of Bobby's songs together, with a nice round of applause from the audience afterwards. And then Bobby refused to get off stage. And Dino and Xiao Zhu were getting progressively more pissed off. They tried to reason with him and said, "Later, for the encore, OK?" but he wouldn't budge. Finally, ABS departed the stage and left Bobby up there alone. Shortly, his other two guitar players came up, looking quite embarrassed, and they played while Bobby drunkenly sang another song. Bobby's keepers managed to get him off stage so the guys could return, but he came back up to the front later, stood in front of Da Mao, poking him in the chest and grabbing his keyboard as he was playing. Another keeper, a woman, was able to get him to let go. There was another nutcase who kept getting on stage, too, a guy Charlene said used to be on TV and was a reporter. He ended up with a tambourine in hand and was smashing Dino's cymbals and the movie screen behind the stage. Every now and then he'd pretend his elbow was a camera (you had to be there). Weirdo......

Dino's beautiful girlfriend Carrie was there, along with his son, Alex (who was pretty drunk by the end of the evening, ha). Xiao Zhu's wife Du-du and Da Mao's wife Bee were along for the ride, and the three ladies spent some time in front of the stage, dancing up a storm, joined by another gal who I assume belonged to either Xiao Yang or Lao Liu. I've only said "hi" to Du-du, no conversation, but Bee has always been a sweetheart when I talk to her, and of course Carrie is a living doll (and Dino is one damned lucky man). What a contrast between these three fine ladies and a certain other wife who has nothing but sour faces and glares for the fans and who would never condescend to a friendly conversation. I guess some women are just more confident in their men and aren't threatened by fans who have no interest in trying to bed their boys. Likewise the guys are always very friendly and talkative when we go to the ABS shows. I think they really appreciate the fact that we admire them as musicians in their own rights, not just as a backup band for Wu Bai, which so many people make the mistake of doing.

It was around 1:30 a.m. when things finally ended, after a kickass encore that even got me up dancing around a bit. It was far too late to catch the MRT home, so I stayed at Natari's place, waking up at 6:30 and heading home, where I fell back into bed for a few more hours. I was in kind of a daze most of the day yesterday and didn't do much at all. The house is filthy with cat hair and cat litter, and I really have to clean today! Really. I do. So, Singapore story has to wait.

1 comment:

aetherwellen said...

Sounds like the ABS show was great! With Bobby and the reported weirdo as the exception.