SOME fans will pay a premium just for a brief meet-and-greet with their favourite singer backstage but Sam Hui's most loyal followers sure get a lot more with just their front row tickets.
Five songs into his set at the Singapore Indoor Stadium last Saturday, the King of Cantopop walked down from the stage and waded through the crowd while singing one of his evergreen hits from the late seventies, Loving You to the Fullest.
The cheeky pop ditty with its catchy chorus was the most anticipated segment of the night, as Hui's routine includes kissing lucky fans sitting in the front rows. The act landed the King of Cantopop in hot water at his recent show in Macau, when the Chinese press reported a smooch with an over-enthusiastic female fan went a little too far.
But clearly, none of his Singapore fans was about to complain as the women - and some men - clamoured to be kissed by "the Hui". The generous gesture and warmth Hui displayed are probably reasons he remains popular on the live music circuit even though it's been ages since he has recorded any new material.
Now entering the fourth decade of his showbiz career, suffice it to say, he knows how to work the room, though it's no mean feat getting a 5,000-strong crowd - mostly middle-aged and senior citizens, no less - up on their feet. But like a seasoned performer, he did just that even though at times it sounded like he was running out of breath attempting it.
Still, you've got to give it to the 65-year-old for trying and at just under three hours, the show was a tad shorter than the epic four-hour-plus concerts he's been known for. The fans probably didn't feel that short-changed either with the marathon 37-song setlist comprising all his signature hits such as Best Partners, Is That Rain or Tears, Suzy from Tsim Sha Tsui, Genius and Idiot, Modern Security and more.
Whenever Hui needed a breather, he turned the show into a family act by bringing on his sons Scott and Ryan, both of whom have obviously inherited their father's musical genes with their note-perfect covers of his hits. Despite looking trim, age has probably taken a toll on Hui as is evident in his stiff dancing during some of the faster numbers. The man didn't exactly move like Jagger, The Rolling Stones frontman who, believe it or not, is five years his senior at 70.
But when it comes to giving fans the best concert experience, only Hui is brazen enough to seal the deal with a kiss as the ultimate personal touch.