Asian News: Ultra Singapore, U2, Andy Lau, Li Zhi & More

Andy Lau
VCG/VCG via Getty Images
– Andy Lau
Singer/actor Andy Lau Tak-Wah performs onstage during the ‘My Love Andy Lau World Tour – Hong Kong 2018’ at Hong Kong Coliseum on December 15, 2018 in Hong Kong, China.
Ultra Singapore Opts For Last-Minute Venue Change

The organizers of Ultra Singapore, one of the biggest EDM festivals in Asia, moved the event indoors less than a week before it takes place on the weekend of June 8-9. 

According to the New Paper, when festivalgoers received their electronic tickets for the festival on June 3, they discovered that it had been moved from the lush green fields of Ultra Park, an “open field next to Marina Bay Sands Tower 1”in Singapore, to the Sands Expo and Convention Center. 

Having expected to party under the sky, many fans were greatly disappointed. Others weren’t particularly surprised, as there had been rumors that the festival was going to be cancelled outright. 

A number of local fans expressed their dismay to the New Paper, saying Ultra Singapore was a rare opportunity to see some of the best DJs in the world in their own backyard and, because of the rumors, they were disappointed that the organizers didn’t announce the change of venue beforehand but simply waited until sending out the tickets to inform everyone. 

“If I didn’t see the posts and comments of other Ultra-goers, I wouldn’t have known that my tickets had been sent to me,” said one fan. 

The main complaint about the change in venue is that Ultra Park is large and roomy while the indoor space is cramped. 

The change in venue also forced the removal of the Worldwide Stage, which was a popular feature of last year’s festival. 

Though no attendance numbers have been released, last year’s event attracted 41,000 people, so the opinion is that the venue was moved for security purposes. 

Among the artists who performed in 2018 were Skrillex, Martin Garrix and DJ Axwell.

U2 Plots Asian Leg Of Joshua Tree, Westlife Heads East

U2 and Live Nation have announced the Asian leg of the band’s Joshua Tree 2019 Tour, which, following stops in New Zealand and Australia, will visit the Saitama Super Arena north of Tokyo on Dec. 4-5, and the Gocheok Sky Dome in Seoul on Dec. 8. 

The tour is also expected to go to Singapore, but no dates have been announced yet. U2 has never played in South Korea or Singapore before. 

In other Irish-related concert news, the boy band Westlife, which has been celebrating its 20th anniversary by getting back together and touring, has added Asia to its itinerary. So far, the Twentieth Tour will head out to Bangkok on July 24, Macau July 26-27, Taoyuan City, Taiwan on July 28, Manila July 29-30, Jakarta Aug. 6-7, Selangor, Malaysia Aug. 8-9, Singapore Aug. 10 and Jawa Tengah, Indonesia Aug. 31 and Sept. 1. All concerts will take place in stadiums or large arenas.

Luna Sea Plays Free Show For Tokyo

One of Japan’s premiere “visual-kei” bands, Luna Sea, celebrated its 30th anniversary with a free concert for members of its fan club at a relatively small venue in Tokyo on May 29. 

Visual-kei, which means “visually related,” is a Japanese genre of glam metal that focuses on elaborate stage pyrotechnics and extremely colorful costumes. 

During the performance, the band announced that its tenth studio album, which is due in December, would be co-produced and engineered by Steve Lillywhite, who has worked with U2, The Rolling Stones, Peter Gabriel and many other top shelf acts. 

As a taste of what’s to come, the band has just released a two-song single that features the collaboration with Lillywhite. The songs are featured in the animated sci-fi series “Mobile Suit Gundam: The Origin—Advent of the Comet.”

Andy Lau Heads For Singapore

Andy Lau’s lucrative and headline-grabbing My Love Andy Lau World Tour has finally announced dates outside of China and Hong Kong, where the scrum for tickets was something of a headache last year, involving violence among people waiting online for tickets and lots of ticket scams. 

The 56-year-old Lau, who has released 61 albums since 1981, will play for three nights at the Axiata Arena in Kuala Lumpur Singapore on Sept. 13-15. 

It is Lau’s first concert tour in eight years, so tickets are expected to sell out immediately.

Li Zhi Tour Cancelled Prior To Tiananmen Anniversary

Prior to the 30th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square pro-democracy protests in Beijing on June 4, the Chinese government appeared to be going all out to squelch any public commemoration of the incident, which reportedly ended in the deaths of hundreds of demonstrators. 

One victim of the censorship appears to be Li Zhi, a folk rocker who tends to sing about social issues, including the Tiananmen Square protests.

According to various media Li’s upcoming tour was unceremoniously cancelled several weeks prior and his social media accounts were taken down. In addition, many internet platforms were “disabled” until after the June 4 anniversary to prevent any possibility of public commentary on the subject. 

Other artists, such as Hong Kong singer Jacky Cheung and Hong Kong music duo Tat Ming Pair, both of whom have sung about Tiananmen in the past, had the relevant songs removed from Chinese streaming services. 

The disappearance of Li, who is 40 years old, is particularly troubling, though. A photo of a tour truck that graced his Weibo SNS account was replaced with a picture of a hand that appeared to be wearing a hospital wrist band along with the words, “very sorry.” 

The next day, the site announced that Li’s tour was cancelled and that ticket purchasers would soon receive a refund, 
according to AP.

The matter became murkier when the Culture Department of Sichuan Province released a statement saying it had “halted” concert plans for an unidentified singer due to “improper conduct.” It is assumed the singer is Li, who has been known to mock Chinese propaganda on stage. 

One industry professional told AP, “Li did a number of songs that were considered politically risky, making reference to June 4, 1989, so he’s been out of the picture.”

In recent years, as Li’s popularity has grown, he has become less politically pointed in his lyrics, so his younger fans seem confused by his sudden lack of visibility. Nevertheless, fans still circulate videos of Li’s performances and upload his music onto file-sharing services.