More Channels for Jay

After finishing up the second half of Taal last night, I attempted once more to watch Curse of the Golden Flower 满城尽带黄金甲, yet once more I was confounded by a faulty DVD. So to sate my Jay Chou 周杰伦 craving, I popped in his 2007 World Tour concert DVD, unquestionably the least exciting selection out of my copious media haul from Beijing’s Blue Line store three weeks ago.

And I’ve got to say, it’s not a notable improvement over his previous concert DVD from 2004’s Incomparable tour. Most egregious fault: no Dolby Digital. Even Jolin’s 蔡依林 imaginatively titled “Live Concert” DVD from 2005 had Dolby Digital, though the constant subwoofer pummeling makes it nearly unlistenable. The set list on the new Jay DVD reminds me of the Shanghai stop of the Incomparable tour that I caught live a while back: following an opening flourish, there was a long stretch of very similar sounding ballads in the middle of the show, and he only made an effort to rouse the crowd with some peppier material towards the very end. There were some curious omissions, too: no 东风破, no 七里想, no 简单爱, no 夜曲. The performance overall seemed pretty lackadaisical (although it could be argued that this is simply his very calculated and well-worn style). He even flubbed the words of a few songs.

For surround sound, Curse of the Golden Flower was turning out to be much more titillating, before my Xbox gave up on the DVD. I loved hearing the imperial time-tellers scurrying about the imperial chambers intoning the hour in a flurry of bells. Even Taal was more imaginatively mixed, if none too subtly, fully Dolby Digital, with delayed vocal lines and hollerbacks bouncing around the rear speakers.

If Mr. Chou seeks to dominate in the global marketplace, I am afraid that simple stereo sound is not going to cut it.

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