Last June news leaked that pop diva Faye Wong, 47, had agreed to perform at a concert – and only at one concert – scheduled for the end of the year in Shanghai. Fans were reasonably excited – the event would mark the first time the songstress had taken to the stage in six-years.
But for some the anticipation turned to disappointment when the tickets went on sale for the December 30 event, selling out within minutes of being made available online.
They were also prohibitively expensive: the cheapest seats were priced at Rmb1,800 ($261.38) while the VIP tickets had a face value of Rmb7,800 each, says the South China Morning Post.
Savvy scalpers quickly spotted their opportunity and ticket trading websites were offering entrance to the concert for an incredible Rmb288,000 for the better seats. One site even offered VIP ticket packages for Rmb599,999 each (though it remains unclear whether there were any buyers).
Small wonder, then, that many of Wong’s fans were disgruntled. “The price of a ticket was more expensive than a car,” one complained. “I am very disappointed. How many tickets are meant for ordinary people like us? There is no sincerity,” another wrote.
One reason for the astronomical prices was the limited supply. Insiders have revealed that just 800 of the 8,000 available seats – the concert was held at Shanghai’s Mercedes-Benz Arena – were made available to the general public. The rest ended up with concert sponsors – such as US jewellery firm Tiffany.
For those who couldn’t afford a seat, there was another option. Tencent forked out Rmb100 million for the livestreaming rights and 21 million netizens paid Rmb30 for a special pass to access the live performance, which was also offered in virtual reality (VR) for those with the headsets.
Wong performed for a total of 123 minutes and sang 28 songs, including an unexpected duet of her famous song You’re Happy (So I’m Happy) with her 19 year-old daughter Leah Dou.
What didn’t change, though, was that the notoriously taciturn songstress didn’t say a single word to the audience throughout the evening.
Despite Wong’s enduring popularity, critics question whether she could pull off another concert similar to this one. “Back in 2010, Wong and her team used a similar ploy: releasing very little information and withholding tickets, using information asymmetry to drive up prices. It’s about time to unveil to the fans the real person behind the façade,” demanded Sina, a portal.
For some, the concert also revealed that Wong has lost some of her lustre as a performer. “To be honest, starting from the first song you could hear that she was short of breath. She also went off-key on some high notes. It is clear that the ethereal goddess we used to know has aged,” one fan lamented on weibo.
Another complained: “When she was performing Breeze and Drizzle the key was off several times. She even had to strain her voice to hit those high notes. No wonder after the performance she was sweating profusely.”
© ChinTell Ltd. All rights reserved.
Exclusively sponsored by HSBC.
The Week in China website and the weekly magazine publications are owned and maintained by ChinTell Limited, Hong Kong. Neither HSBC nor any member of the HSBC group of companies ("HSBC") endorses the contents and/or is involved in selecting, creating or editing the contents of the Week in China website or the Week in China magazine. The views expressed in these publications are solely the views of ChinTell Limited and do not necessarily reflect the views or investment ideas of HSBC. No responsibility will therefore be assumed by HSBC for the contents of these publications or for the errors or omissions therein.