My favorite part of concerts is the interstitial banter, those moments between songs where the singer says whatever he feels, part-confessional, part-flirtation with the crowd.
Cantonese pop singers have a strong tradition of concert banter. The formula is largely prosaic: a greeting, a thank you, an innocous interaction with a fan involving a flower or a teddy bear, a showing of modesty to honor one’s ancestors, a confession that this next one’s, in fact, their favorite song.
At the recent Treasure Island Music Festival, The Streets recently said, “What day is it? Saturday, yeah? I tour so much that I don’t know what day of the week it is. Sad but good, yeah?” Sad but good. The artist sounds as if he is reassuring himself, or worse, passing a secret coded message crying out that he is a captive. He’s talking to himself.
He continues: “I don’t love Saturdays but I do love San Francisco. Are you with me, SAN FRANCISCO?”. And with that the needle drops, the music starts, and that portalized glimpse into their world, held open momentarily ‘tween the cantor’s song, closes.