Thursday, November 29, 2012

For the Love of Mayday

I know I've written tribute posts to my favorite of Taiwanese bands, Mayday.  Well, here's another one - in a different kind of sense.

I used to be over the top crazy over Mayday.  I picked up the guitar so that I could learn to play their music.  I created dream vacations that focused around their concerts in Taipei.  In fact, one year, for Halloween, I straightened my hair, dressed as a boy and went to a party as their lead singer and lyricist, Ashin.  I didn't really look like the Asian popstar but I certainly didn't look like me.

And then, as suddenly as I went over the top crazy over Mayday, I stopped...being over the top crazy for them.

It wasn't even really crazy anymore either.  It just was. Mayday.

Yesterday, Mayday played live on the Google stage in California.  I tuned in to watch.  It was my first time ever watching them play live.

It was a little funny to realize how much things hadn't changed since my crazy over the top obsession over them.  Ashin still looked 23 (although Wikipedia reminded me that he turns 37 next week).  Masa and Monster and Ashin were still bachelors.  Stone and Guanyou were ever the solidly married ones with their children.  I was still the graduate student living in Charlottesville.

The concert wasn't really much to be surprised over either.  I knew every single song they sang and even remembered most of the words.  Ashin turned the mic over to Stone to speak English, as I knew he would.  Ashin also sang slightly off key throughout most of the songs, as expected.

In fact, the only surprise was when they sang 戀愛ING (lian'ai ING) and didn't say "ello" for "L" so that it actually spelled L-O-V-E instead of LO-O-V-E.  I was so delighted that I actually clapped my hands and cheered.  Biggest props actually go to Ashin who has spent the least amount of time in any English speaking country.

During the concert, I kept looking for someone to share this exciting event with.  My Taiwan traveling buddy was at a concert of her own.  Another fan of Mayday I couldn't get a hold of.

And then came the big shock of the evening.  It was this realization:  "Most of your friends don't understand a word of Chinese - it just wouldn't be the same kind of wonderful experience for them."

You'd think I'd have realized it before - that my friends don't speak Chinese.  Or that I do.  But somehow it didn't really hit me before.

Which got me thinking:

During my Mayday days, I would come home every day with new stories about Ashin and tell them all to my roommates.  I would insist on putting in Mayday CDs when we went anywhere in the car.  I sang Mayday songs once at a talent show.  I even convinced one of my friends to sing a Chinese song with me at a talent show and she heartily went along with it by translating the verse into French and the chorus into English so that we could trade off and make it a tri-lingual version.  And I'd put on music videos, "Isn't this the best song ever?  No, really, but then there's this song which is the next best song ever."

Wow, I thought.  I have some pretty amazing (and long-suffering) friends.

So, to my dear friends who have survived my over the top crazy love for Mayday, for Jay Chou, for Khalil Fong, for Yan-jue, for Evan Yo, William Wei and all of those many other Chinese artists that I've begged you to listen to.  To all of you dear non Chinese speaking friends who listened to all those songs even when you didn't understand a word:

Thank you.  I love you.  You're the best.

And I hope to be as supportive in your crazy over the top loves as you have been towards mine.

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