I've noticed Up with People were coming to Taiwan, performing Broadway style musical in Taipei, Taichung and Miaoli. I felt interested but yet did not ask to get the ticket.
Then, Mino told me that she knows the Business Manager, Matthew of Up With People 2009 World Tour, and he invited her to watch the performance. Then, we went together to go Up with People.
Arriving at the Auditorium in Taipei County Government, we were blocked outside of the gate since we did not have tickets in hand. Mino tried to explain the situation but it seemed that the volunteers at the entrance did not know much about the personnel at all. I started to worry maybe we would not be able to enjoy the performance.
Luckily, one girl tried to bring Matthew out, bailing us out from this embarrassing moment. Plus, we did not need a ticket, at all. Haha, we were greeted by Matthew, a young 22-year-old, professional-looking American, who were dressed up in suit. I thought he would also be a part of the cast but then he told us he would just show on stage for a little part. Then, he ushered us to the VIP seats, well sort of, as we were at the eighth row of the seats so we could see the whole stage very clearly.
After waiting for a while, the show began with Sing Out Taiwan, a local chorus, who performed three songs in Taiwanese aboriginal language (Bei-nan), Taiwanese and Hakka. To be honest, I don't think they perform their best as the male singer did not sing very loud so I could hardly enjoy their performance. What a shame! But they were not to steal the show, I suppose.
After Sing Out, the female emcee from China came on stage, asking a local boy to introduce their first song of tonight Ayiko, meaning "Let's go!" "Let's do it!" in African language. I felt astonished and sooooooooooooo surprised that the the whole performance truly drew my attention. I could not even take my eyes off the show even for one second.
"I felt the show is just like "High School Musical!" Mino whispered.
"Me too!" I replied with excitement.
The best part of tonight's show for me was the performance were not simply performing on stage but also came across the seats, dancing and singing right next to the audience so we, as audience, could thoroughly feel the immersion of their passionate atmosphere.
The music types of tonight varied from Jazz, Blue to Rock. I didn't know most of the songs sung tonight but still I enjoyed them throughout the show! When I heard "What a wonderful world", I could not help but smile. He did sing as good as Luis Armstrong. Well, or maybe close to Armstrong.
At the intermission, Matthew came to us asking how we felt about the show. Of course it was excellent, no doubt about it. Then we asked several questions to him. Matthew was one of the student, performing on stage before becoming an official staff of the UWP 2009 Tour. He also told us that his parents met within Up with People. "So you are an Up-with-People baby." Mino joked. How interesting. I asked him how did he see the reaction from audience tonight. He said they were good. But cultures differ from countries to countries as he further illustrate in Mexico they received the loudest reaction from the audience as Mexican would shout out, singing and maybe dancing with the music and rhyme throughout the show whereas in Asia or in Taiwan we tend to wait for the "right moment" to clap, applaud and show our emotion.
He was right.
Second part of the performance was much more international as we saw the Gypsy dance from Moldavia, and several interesting dances from Morocco, the States, Japan and Spain!
When I saw the screen that the Japanese song was written after the 911 tragedy, I could not help but wonder what the lyrics was about. But, although I didn't know Japanese, I still felt a peace of mind when listening to the peaceful melody and voice. Then, the show from Spain brought me back to reality as I tried hard to catch all the Spanish phrases I could understand. I got some words which made me happier!
Nevertheless, the most surprising part of tonight's event was not about Japanese or Spanish, but Mandarin!!!
I heard Up with People singing in folk song in aboriginal language and "Change Yourself" by Leehom Wang! What a big surprise! They did learn to sing in Mandarin now I really felt impressed by the efforts they've made to delight and entertain the local audience. We could see this performance drew much more attention than the others.
The show ended after curtain calls from all the cast tonight on stage. And the audience of course gave them our heartfelt ovation! We said farewell to our new friend Matthew and I wished him and their performance good luck! As we walked out of the auditorium, several performers did said to us "xie xie" (Thanks) to appreciate our presence tonight. It was we that should say thanks for inviting, and for making our night so unforgettable!