Last month’s unexpected cold snap couldn’t dampen the warm reception in Macao for Hins Cheung.
As a titan of the Cantonese and Mandarin pop music scenes for over 20 years, he became the hottest ticket in town during the festive break. His residency at The Londoner Macao was so popular that it virtually sold out, prompting the addition of an extra show in January to meet the overwhelming demand, for a total of 14 shows.
Titled “Prime Classics,” Cheung’s performances were a part of The Londoner Arena’s new series of Las Vegas-style residency concerts, crafted to offer fans an immersive experience with some of the most celebrated names in the music world.
Following in the footsteps of another musical icon, Hacken Lee – who kicked off the concert series earlier in 2023 – Cheung and his team created a spectacular new production for the occasion.
Kicking off on 15 December, Cheung’s residency featured never-before-seen performance elements enabled by the venue’s advanced facilities, with special shows during the festive season, including Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve.
This series was a natural next step for Cheung, who in March, made history as the first Chinese artist with three consecutive sold-out concerts at London’s storied Royal Albert Hall.
Hailing from Guangzhou, Cheung moved to Hong Kong as a teenager and kickstarted his career with his self-produced debut album, funded by a loan from his mother. He quickly made a splash and found his fanbase, delivering hit singles like “My Way,” “The Book of Laughter and Forgetting,” “Ardently Love,” “Forever Young,” and “What Separates Us.”
Highlights of the singer-songwriter’s 23-year career include winning the trifecta of Best Male Artist, Song of the Year, and Album of the Year at the prestigious Ultimate Song Chart Awards Presentation in 2021 – an extremely rare feat that only one other performer, Jacky Cheung, has ever attained.
At the latest 2023 Ultimate Song Chart Awards Presentation, Cheung received the accolade for Favourite Male Singer of the Year, while his hit “Imaginary Fairground” was honoured with the prestigious Ultimate Song Award.
Cheung shares insights on the personal significance of his residency, his evolving approach to performance, and why he was excited to welcome fans as his guests at The Londoner Macao.
Can you share a little bit about your residency at The Londoner Macao, and how it differs from being on tour?
“Prime Classic” is my first proper residency series, and I’m sincerely grateful to have been hosted by The Londoner Macao. It allows me to extend a special invitation to my fans to ‘Be My Guest’ at this stunning venue.
Actually, a very long time ago, I had one or two so-called “residencies” where I was the live musical act in restaurants. These were modest beginnings that, while charming, simply don’t compare to the grandeur of The Londoner. Fast forward a couple of decades, and I’ve come a long way. This residency has been a dream of mine a long time in the making.
As far as how it’s different … When I’m on tour, we often have limited performances at each venue, so there’s not much time to fully adjust to the unique staging and production nuances of each show. However, with a residency like this, each performance feels like a step forward – we’re constantly evolving and improving each time.
Why now? What was the motivation to finally take the plunge?
My approach to concerts has evolved over the years – they’re no longer just about performing hit songs and perfecting dance moves for a night, like they were in my early days. Now, it’s the culmination of 22 years in the industry: every time I step on stage, it feels like I’m adding a chapter to my journey, rather than simply trying to ace the exam.
What special elements or surprises were you able to incorporate into the show?
For this stint in Macao, my team and I created a brand new production of my 20th anniversary concert series, with a small part of it hailing from my show at London’s Royal Albert Hall last March. Some of the special extras we were able to add include a highly versatile mechanical stage, daring stunt performers, and an enchanting ribbon dance spectacle. I think it’s a totally fresh and dynamic experience that I’ve been really gratified to share with fans, thanks to the first-rate facilities at The Londoner Arena.
Were there any songs that you specially selected for the residency that perhaps hold special meaning?
In my first performance, I sang “Forever Young” for my mother and “Under the Sakura Tree” for my grandmother. And of course, when I performed on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve, I chose some special festive songs to get everyone in a celebratory mood!
How has your connection with your fans grown and changed over the years, and where does this residency fit into that evolving relationship?
My fans have always shown me so much support, not just during this residency but at all my performances over the years.
We’ve also had a lot of interaction on social media, where I think we’ve forged a strong bond. Especially on Instagram, I often receive messages from people going through tough times who write to me to say how much my songs have comforted them. Everytime I read their messages, it feels like the most precious achievement in my 22-year career.
Every time I perform, my goal is to engage with my fans more deeply than just through my songs, even though singing is what they come for, and I think I’ve been able to do that during this residency. Who knows, maybe next time at The Londoner Arena, I might even host a talk show!
How important is the venue when it comes to a show like yours, and has The Londoner Arena met your expectations?
I’m really grateful to The Londoner Macao for providing such an amazing home these past several weeks at The Londoner Arena. I learned that it was actually designed by an award-winning architecture firm, known for their work on major league sports venues in the US and UK, as well as Hong Kong Stadium, Taipei Dome, and Taipei Arena.
In fact, The Londoner Arena was built primarily for Las Vegas-style residencies like mine – so I knew my show was in good hands! The auditorium offers fantastic views and sound, making it a world-class stage that’s on par with the best venues I’ve performed on.
It was your first time at The Londoner Macao, right? What were some highlights for you in terms of experiences outside of The Londoner Arena?
This was indeed my first time at The Londoner Macao! I was particularly keen on experiencing the nightly light display set to classic British-themed hits, and The Londoner’s unique twist on the Changing of the Guard ceremony. I also had the Harry Potter Exhibition on my radar, which only just opened.