IT never fails to strike me how S.H.E. resembles the cutesy Power Puff Girls. Selina Ren, 28, loves pink and is beautiful and smart like Blossom while Hebe Tien, 26, is cool, cute and independent like Bubbles.Ella Chen, 28, is tough, protective and a little tomboyish like Buttercup.
But last Saturday, the girly trio shed their sweet-young-things image and appeared before the crowd at Bukit Jalil National Stadium as confident, sophisticated and alluring young women. The metamorphosis was not unexpected as S.H.E.is in its ninth year in the E-circle and all three are in their late 20s.
Ella’s look that night was the most shocking of the three. Although still stubbornly retaining a short bob despite some fans’ wish for her to let her hair grow, it was a completely different Ella from the one who was once confused as a boy. In a glittering red-tube dress that complemented the fiery redness of her hair, Ella sizzled like a petite, sexy pop diva. Gone also were the flashy sneakers that she had always favoured over heels. As the concert kicked off with hot dance moves and fast numbers like Miss Universe, Superstar, Boom and Super Model, Ella sang, danced and pranced on stage with her group mates in three-inchers.
“Our dance moves are newly choreographed and our wardrobe has been given a new, sexy twist. “I’m also dancing in heels for the first time.It’s a breakthrough for me!” she declared to cheers from the crowd. It must have been quite a feat because Ella had previously hurt her back in a fall from a three-storey building during a TV show which earned her almost a month’s stay in the hospital.
When the girls belted out Planet 612 from their latest album, FM S.H.E., they swapped their sexy disco get-ups for feathery tutus and posed as cute yellow, pink and blue canaries in a giant bird’s nest which had been raised from the stage floor. Hebe hit all the high notes in this song beautifully, highlighting again why she has always been hailed as the best singer in the group. With the change of theme from explosive sexiness to angelic beauty, the selection of songs also turned lovey as the trio showcased its hallmark powerful harmonies in the likes of Wu Yue Tian (Mayday), Ni Zui Jin Hai Hao Ma (How Have You Been Lately?), Zen Me Ban (What To Ao?) and Ke Ai Wan Sui (Long Live Loveliness).
Hebe kicked off the solo performance segment with Ozzie Nelson’s Dream A Little Dream of Me, dressed in a silver tube which boasted a blue velvet train.With just a piano and guitar as accompaniments, Hebe’s clear, strong vocals made this 1931 hit all her own that night.
Next up was Selina, who came onstage in a black glittery tube.Although the dance moves were pnteresting — she was tossed about quite a bit by the backup dancers — she slaughtered George Michael’s classic, Wake Me Up Before You Go Go. Immediately after the first 30 seconds into the song, you could tell that that she had lost control of her nasal sweet soprano vocals as she went off-key and at times, even off-beat.
It wasn’t just the wrong song choice. Apart from some ragged cheers, the crowd was silent. But all was not lost as Ella stole the show when she sang her own composition, Wo Jiu Shi Wo (I’m Just Me), to roaring cheers. Catchy, with strong honest lyrics that told how she only wanted to be true to herself, the song also had rappy parts that Ella belted out effortlessly.Towards the end of the song, it was clear that her performance had blasted away the earlier blunders.
Some 22 songs later, S.H.E.’s junior label-mate Yoga Lin made an appearance, to return the trio’s guesting in his Singapore concert recently, and lent his strong bass to Ai Wo De Zi Ge (The Right To Love Me). Then he took the stage to give the trio a much-needed breather.It was clear that he was also a crowd favourite as the audience sang along when he belted out one of his more popular singles, Kan Jian Shen Me Chang Shen Me (What You See Is What You Sing).
After Yoga departed, S.H.E. kept the crowd high with a special KTV session, which began with the trio seated on a red couch in the middle of the stage, complete with popcorn, fruits and drinks. And to the amusement of their fans, the music videos played on the giant screens all featured the trio — but togged in ’60s and ’70s outfits. They did covers of their friends and idols’ songs.
Ella took to the rostrum with Jian Dan Ai (Simple Love) by Gary Tao, Selina redeemed herself with a clear and crisp rendition of Chong Bai (Admire) by Fish Leong, and Hebe rendered a tribute to Faye Wong with the latter’s Gei Zi Ji De Qing Shu (A Love Letter To Myself), a vocally-challenging piece that she handled well. As the concert neared its end, fans gave Hebe, who would be celebrating her birthday on March 30, a heart-shaped jelly cake.
Saturday’s gig was the third stop in “S.H.E. Is The One” world tour, which kicked off with two sold-out performances in Hong Kong’s Coliseum last October. Laughter, incredible camaraderie and powerful harmonies are the staples of each S.H.E. concert and the three-hour performance that night successfully showcased yet again why the trio continues its strangle-hold as the best mando-pop girl group in Asia. Indeed, just last November, S.H.E. grabbed the titles for Best Group, Asia Media Recognition Group, Best Regional (Taiwan) Singer, as well as the All-Round Entertainer at the 15th Singapore Hit Awards. (A music award organised by the top Mandarin radio station in Singapore.) The trio ended the show with Lian Ren Wei Man (Not Yet Lovers), the song that shot S.H.E. to stardom from its first album, Girl’s Dormitory.
The event was organised by Galaxy Entertainment and sponsored by Hotlink.