Upon entering the Esplanade concert hall for Khalil Fong’s TIO concert, the simple, intimate performance setup beckoned to me, and hinted at the show that was to come. With tasteful light features in the background and a drums, guitar, bass, keyboard and piano set-up on display, it was clear that Soulboy Khalil’s focus would very much be on his indomitable musicality, which would be put on full display.
Given the tour’s title, which is short for ‘Throw It Off’; a concept that reflects Khalil’s zen, weightless philosophy, I was totally down for getting rid of the stresses of the day by singing my little heart out and being thoroughly entertained by Fong, his band, and his special guests. But as an anal control freak, this concert was the true test of whether Fong walked the talk. Could his musical experience truly allow me to ‘throw it off’ and lose myself in his music?
With the concert starting on time, the band members filed onto the stage to assume position, and launched into the intro of ‘Wukong’, a seminal track from Fong’s last album; grinding bass beats vibrating across the floors and rousing loyal fans into action. Upon entering the stage, Fong, clad in a simple rainbow sweatshirt and jeans was met with whoops and cheers which he shyly responded to before coming together with the band, finishing off the song and transitioning straight into his collaborative track with Wang Leehom ‘FLOW’, where he tried his best to get a call-and-response going with the audience. Fong then continued to wow with a solid set list bound to bring back treasured memories such as ‘春風吹 Spring Wind Blows’, ‘公園Park’, ‘Singalongsong’ and of course ‘愛愛愛’ and ‘Love Song’, with some of his newer stuff interspersed in between that had us singing along the whole way through.