Second Hand Rose: Still Prime Quality After 10 Years

I’m not sure why but i’ve had a lot of misconceptions in my head about Second Hand Rose 二手玫瑰 and that for a long time. I’ve heard everything said about them like they’re the Chinese equivalent to whatever big western rock band, that they were completely washed up and irrelevant in this day and age, that they were old and what not…..


Tell you what, try telling that to the 1400 people that packed the Starlive on a sunday night and sang along to every song clapping hands and having one hell of a good time! The answer you might get is: “Yes, they are second hand but they’re in prime quality”

Indeed, the venue was packed more than i’ve seen the starlive packed in a while! I have to make a mental note to go check out more bands there because I love their acoustics and the setup. My biggest problem is the useless bar but that’s nothing an ankle flask won’t help 😉 anyways, back to the gig!

It was fantastic! The band played two full sets with completely different outfits each. The first one involved more straight up singing and just a bit of chitchat with the audience. During their little break, famous avant-guard folkster Long Linna 龚琳娜 came out for a few songs that were fascinating (note to self, look up more of her stuff). There were giveaways, comedy, crosstalk and the works to keep the audience busy while Lian Gong and his crew readied themselves for a second set. They came out again to a gigantic cheer and proceeded to basically rock the shit out of that place!

There were some fascinating elements about this concert, not in any particular order:

* Liang Gong is one hell of a charismatic frontman! one of the better ones to grace the Chinese stages
* The term Zhongguo Yaogun (Chinese Rock n Roll) kept being thrown around a lot. More on that soon
* The audience sang just about every word to every freaking song. I felt like a stranger at a family reunion at times.
* There was huge mutual respect between the band and there audience.
* Dual drumkits rock… more bands should have two drummers! Cui Jian does the same thing come to think of it.
* The show was fairly heavy… nothing like the records! I would argue that it was in fact much much better than the records.
* The stage antics, showmanship, demeanor and interaction with the audience that the band displayed was outstanding.
* Yao Lan should get some kudos for his guitar prowess.. the guy put on one hell of a performance Sunday.
* I love the song E时代桃源. Such a modern topic presented in a beautiful traditional setting.. just really freaking well done! I love the composition. It sounds just as good live if not better!

Overall, it would be an understatement to say i came out impressed and in awe. I really beat myself over the head for ignoring them and going out of my way to miss them over the past few years…. which kinda goes to show, don’t trust my or anyone’s opinion and go give it a shot to see for yourself. I’m glad I did!

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