Coldplay! Aaahhhh! I’ve watched 3 of their concerts previously including their first gig in Singapore where they were an opening band for Travis, another band from the UK. And I actually watched that gig with Xiaohan and Monica too.
It’s really cool to watch a band start from the bottom and work their way up to be one of their biggest bands in the world. With each concert, I watched the venues getting bigger and the band getting more and more confident and feeling totally at home in the presence of 10s of 1000s of fans.
This concert was exceptional and the band has grown to the status of giants.
Performing at the Etihad stadium in Melbourne. The band has 2 opening acts, including Lianne la Havas whom I’m a great fan of. It was nice that Chris Martin came out right at the beginning 2 hours before their set to warm the crowd up for the opening acts.
I like the fact that when I watch a concert at an outdoor venue out of Singapore, it’s not as hot. When the band finally came on. The atmosphere was electric. With a powerful repertoire of hits to choose from, they pounded the set with hit after hit and the energy just kept going on.
The lighting bands they handed out to the crowd amplified the atmosphere by illuminating the whole venue to different colours to suit the mood of the song.
Though this is the 4th time I’ve watched this band, the energy they give out never gets old. We totally enjoyed ourselves and I’m definitely up for their next tour!
The last time Xiaohan, Monica (aka 冷玩妹) went on a trip together was in 2003! So it was a great chance for us to go to Melbourne together to watch Coldplay! It’s always nice to go on a holiday with good friends. The last time when we went on a trip, Ashley (Xiaohan’s daughter) wasn’t even born yet! This time, we had a great relaxed get away in Melbourne.
We stayed in a nice swanky Air BnB apartment just opposite of the Crown Casino where I performed 2 years ago with Wakin. This is the 2nd time I’m in Melbourne and I think after this trip, we roughly managed to comb through all the touristy places one needs to go when in Melbourne =D.
During this trip, I managed to hang with Sanjeev of Empra, who’s based in Melbourne and he brought me to all the nice music spots and chill by the famous St Kilda beach area.
My favourite shopping places are J.B Hifi, which sells lots of music where Sanjeev recommended me lots of cool Aussie acts to check out and Book Grocer where they have great deals on books in particularly music books all year!
I think what’s nice this time is that Melbourne now has a tram free zone meaning tram rides are free within the city. Which is great as Crown Casino is just at the edge of the city.
I’ll be back in May with Wakin for our Australia tour.
And of course, on to the main reason why we went to Melbourne….
Our last show of the year and the last stop of …. In China on Christmas Eve. This show was cool as it was bring broadcast live by 直播 as well!
There was a huge Wanda mall right next to our hotel Right smack in the middle of the mall was a giant slide! I’m sure if Lyla was there she would have had a blast. There were Christmas sales happening everywhere so we took advantage of it to buy last minute presents!
As it was nearing Christmas, a few of us decided to have our own little party at the Show district. It was a stretch of nice bars and pubs, we had a great time with a bunch of musicians from Phillipines. During the break, the musicians came to chat with us and realised we were here for the Wakin show. They shared with me that Quan Zhou is a small place, and in hang out places like these, everyone is friendly and knew each other. At the last set, I invited myself to play drums on stage =D
The show was nice and relaxed with a festive mood. As it was Christmas Eve we didn’t need to dress in our usual all black for the gig. Instead we had a green or red theme and Christmas hats to boot!
Every end of the year is a flurry of activities as it’s Xiaohan’s bday, my bday, LJ’s bday, our wedding anniversary, Christmas, New year is all right smack together and our parties usually stretch all the way till the new year! This year we also brought Lyla to two fun excursions during our birthdays!
So here’s my end of year celebrations in pics!
I must say I had a lot of fun birthday presents this year!
Though I come from the Hokkien descendence, but I’m not too sure where exactly I am from as 福建 is huge. Still, there’s always a sense of familiarity when I’m there as I can hear people speaking in dialects that I can sort of understand.
This Fu Zhou trip was cool coz the transport this trip was sponsored by BMW and not only I was chauffeured around in a spanking new BMW 7 series. I got along with the driver who turned out to be a BMW salesperson and he brought some of us out for dinner for both nights!
This show was really quite an experience as the venue this time was in the Fuzhou Olympic Stadium and it was huge! It was great for me to test out my new Zakk Wylde BFG Les Paul courtesy of the nice folks at Gibson!
What was even more cool was that the whole stadium was packed for our show this time and I think we were playing to more than 50 000 people.
It’s really a sight to behold when you look to that many people. You can really feel an overwhelming sense of positive energy. What was more amazing was that it was raining during performance but that didn’t stop the audience, decked in ponchos to brave it out for 3.5 hours just for Wakin. Of course Wakin responded in kind and kept thanking the audience and rocked the show giving it all he had, though the stage was sheltered, but he stood it out in the rain together with the audience as he was mostly at the edge of the stage which was open to the rain as well. Watching him caring for his audience, showing them concern especially when he told them to drink a big glass of warm water when they get back makes it no wonder why his fans are so loyal to him.
Our gig at Fuzhou left a nice impression on me as a cool place to chill. Hope we can be back soon!
Lyla is born in the year of the snake. I myself have a certain affinity towards snakes. I’m that guy who always volunteers at the zoo or night safari to pet or handle snakes if given a chance. Though LJ as with most people, doesn’t share this peculiar interest as Lyla and me, she sportingly went with us to the Penang Snake temple.
We were very excited when we got there and true enough, we could see many vipers slithering around the altars around the temple. There’s a snake breeding area at the backyard of the temple where we had fun spotting the vipers camouflaged in the trees. There’s an annex of the temple where we were allowed to carry a nice python and have our photos taken with it. Lyla was very brave and enjoyed stroking the python I carried on my back. I must say our photo with the python turned out very nicely =D
Kek Lok Si Temple
This was a Buddhist temple well known as one of Southeast Asia’s largest Chinese Buddhist temples. It also has a pond with many many turtles, I bought a few pieces of bread from an auntie for feeding the turtles.
Lyla had a great time peeling off small pieces of bread and watching the turtles swarm around to have a go at the bread. There are quite a few souvenir stores so we bought some shirts and clothes for my friend’s kids. Taking a lift up to the hill top stood a majestic 36.5 meter high bronze statue of Kuan Yin (also Guanyin), the Goddess of Mercy. It was breathtaking to watch and we took the cutest photos of Lyla praying at the Kek Lok Si Temple.
These are the most memorable family attractions we got to check out in our short stay there. And of course, I didn’t even talk much of the excellent food which itself is a tourist attraction in Penang. I’m sure you can find that easily all over the web.
So if you are thinking of having a short getaway in future with your family, go check out Penang. I’m sure your kids will have as much fun as Lyla did!
Ahhhh! the Adventure Zone! I think this is the place where Lyla enjoyed herself most! Located within the Golden Sands Resort, it’s an indoor playground with a ball room, rope ladders and various obstacles for kids to climb around.
But that’s not all! The main attraction of this place are the slides! There are a few different kinds of slides available. Though younger children like Lyla are not allowed on the crazier slides, she still did have loads of fun on the gentler multicolour slides where we had to slip into a gunny sack and slide down four storeys.
I went ahead to try the more challenging slides where I had to borrow LJ’s long sleeve cardigan to prevent getting abrasion burns as the craziest slide was a 90 degrees down the same 4 storey drop!
Honestly I initially didn’t even dare to slide down looking down from the top of slide where all you could do to go down is to push your legs over the edge! However after watching all the kids run past me and sliding down with glee. I went ahead and did the drop as well.
Needless to say, it was super fun! A great way for kids below 12 to spend a good few hours sliding around! We had to peel Lyla off when it came time to leave the Adventure Zone!
I must say Penang is a great place for a short family get away. LJ did a lot of research before we went and we managed to go check out quite a few of their tourist attractions. I think all of us had loads of fun especially Lyla!
Entopia – Butterfly Farm
Who doesn’t like butterflies? This turned out to be our favourite discovery of Penang. At first, we thought that it was going to be a simple small enclosure of butterflies that we can finish in half an hour. Reaching there, we found out that it was a very well built huge enclosure, fully air conditioned and filled with many surprises! We ended up spending more than 2 hours there and we didn’t even finish fully exploring it!
It was really cool to see so many butterflies flying around, we were in luck when we discovered they will be releasing a whole batch of butterflies shortly after we got there. When asked why they have to do this everyday, we were told butterflies only have a short life span of 2-3 weeks. Lyla was thrilled when the friendly staff taught us the proper way of having the butterfly to rest on your finger! That’s not be grabbing them by the wings as many will assume, it will actually discolour their wings or even worse, endanger their short lives. The trick is they are attracted to salty liquids so wiping your finger on your sweaty forehead and putting it close to a butterfly will get it climbing onboard. We had fun trying to catch different kinds of butterflies!
There’s also many side attractions at Entopia such as reptiles, insects and more. As we were about to leave, we discovered another treat where we were allowed in the incubation room to view and handle the cocoons and learn how they breed butterflies.
All in all, this is a really cool entertaining and educational place for both kids and parents alike!
We decided to take Lyla for a holiday! Previously we brought her to Malacca and Phuket so this time we decided to head to Penang. I’ve only been to Penang once in my life in 2004 and LJ can’t even remember she’s been there before so it was an all new experience for all of us!
We took an early morning flight but that didn’t stop Lyla from being super excited during the taxi ride when the sun’s not even up yet.
Well not exactly…
The plane ride was smooth and Lyla felt right at home. I think it’s because LJ read up previously about keeping a kid’s mouth active by feeding her food and water while the plane is taking off so they won’t get that uncomfortable feeling of getting their ears stuffed.
And within an hour, we touched down on Penang! The queue at the customs took a very long time, someone was disappointed however she was still very well behaved.
And away to the hotel we went! This time we decided to put up at the Hard Rock Penang and we didn’t regret it!
Our room had a separate small room for Lyla with stuffed toys, books and a PS3 and the swimming pool had three super fun slides which was very popular with the kids.
Penang is well known for great food and we explored the restaurants around our hotel. Common favourites like Char Kway Teow, Assam Laksa were well within reach and we had this yummy Hainanese Popiah as well.
I think one of the biggest surprises for me was that I could have an electric guitar sent up to my room! Talk about the musician’s dream! Chalk one up for the number one hotel in my future travel list.
We had lots of fun just hanging around and chilling in the hotel room for the first 2 days. Coming up next, we will be exploring the rest of Penang in the next few days!
A week ago, I was driving and listening to Bruno Mars’s latest single, Versace On The Floor when LJ remarked, “This is nice, but it’s so old school! Sounds like one of those songs I heard before”. I jokingly remarked, I think that’s probably coz you’re getting old! To a young new music fan, she might be think Wow! This is fresh! It doesn’t sound like anything else I’ve heard before!
To which she said waahhh, you just gave me a reality check!
How many times have you heard a music fan go “The music today sucks, everything sounds the same! Remember artists like The Beatles? (60s kid) Led Zeppelin? (70s kid) 2? (80s kid), Nirvana? (90s kid) Linkin Park? (2000s kid) etc.
Remember when people said, Disco’s dead, or that’s the end of guitar music and all of a sudden Daft Punk pops out Random Access Memories or Jack White made guitar cool again with Seven Nation Army? Before you could start picking up guitar properly, EDM stormed in and just when you’re about to say what happened to good old organic pop music, Adele’s 25 swept the world with the largest single sales week for an album (3.38 million copies in the US alone) since Nielsen began tracking point-of-sale music purchases in 1991?
A few months ago I was watching Halsey performing her set at the F1 when a fellow 40plus year old man, marvelling at the many young fans enjoying her performance, singing most of the songs word for word, came up to me and asked me “Have you heard all these songs before?” I said yeahhh. To which he said he has never heard of this artist before, and was wondering if it’s his age till he saw that I seem to be enjoying the gig and seem to know her songs as well. I replied yeah, it’s the age thing, my case’s a little different coz I make music for a living I listen to anything and everything.
As we grow up, for most, the rat race, starting our own family, work and other priorities set in and the time to discover music becomes lesser. Also, music encapsulates our experiences while we listen to it and hence naturally we feel more attached to those hits we listened to when we were young.
Music is a big part of many youths growing up. We start with whatever’s trending (There wasn’t even this word when I was growing up) and if we really start to enjoy music, we dig deeper, discover more and sometimes we realise that trending song is an update or a hybrid of different artists’ material from before. To the impressionable kid who just started listening to music, he might think wow! that robotic drum machine sound or that electric piano sounds in Bruno Mar’s latest album is so unlike anything he has heard before and find that it’s fresh! exciting…(doo..doo..doo..doo…doo you might have heard that song before).
That’s the beauty of making music and that’s why so many people with their own unique combination of influences are still releasing new material.
So for you the aspiring songwriter, musician, singer etc. Fret not, there’s still more music to create.
Finally, I like to end off with something I read in the book “The secrets of songwriting” where one of the songwriters when asked “If there are already so many love songs in the market, why does the world need another one?” The reply was something like it’s because everyday there’s a 14 year old out there falling in love who wants her own love song.
And so the cycle of music moves on.