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A Chinese invasion of sorts took place on Saturday in Lincoln, where Thunder Valley Casino hosted a Chinese concert series starring some of the biggest names in Chinese entertainment.
The stars of the show were Dragon Li, Michelle Kim and Niki Chow. All were well received by the mostly — scratch that — all Asian crowd. That was a good thing since the concert was mostly in Chinese, with only a couple of songs with English interspersed.
At one point I could swear they were talking about me. I usually only get paranoid after taking illicit drugs or riding in an elevator with people talking in a language I don’t understand. Oh well, next time I’ll have to bring a Chinese-to-English translator. Wait, isn’t there an app for that?
The audience loved the show, which was a combination of singing and chatting with the audience. Both Chow and Li started up conversations with audience members while keeping their fans laughing. Several fans ended up on stage dancing and singing. No translator required.
Although I don’t speak Chinese it was easy to follow what was happening both onstage and off. While the stars of the show were speaking in Chinese it was obvious to me when they were telling a joke versus telling a story, or setting up a song. Their body language spoke volumes and once a song began you couldn’t help but sit back and enjoy the music.
It was obvious from the start that Dragon Li was the seasoned veteran. He bantered back and forth with the audience in between songs and was quite comfortable onstage as were both Yim and Chow. He seemed to enjoy the audience participation more than his fellow artists.
(Image by: Randy Miramontez) Li, an actor and singer, got his start in Hong Kong in the late 1980s when he entered a singing contest, Sing Bao Ji Yei. There he was discovered by a talent manager and later signed with EMI Records. He recorded a number of television and movie theme songs, including “Superstar (Gui Sing),” “Brave (Nan Ji Han)” and “Confused (Ching Mi).” Li also starred in the television series “Journey to the West (Si You Gei).”
(Image by: Randy Miramontez) Michelle Yim, also known by her Chinese stage name Mai Suet, is a Hong Kong actress. In 1975, Yim joined Commercial Television, and in 1976, Yim acted in “Legend of the Condor Heroes,” a Wuxia TV series adaptation of Louis Cha's novel of the same title. In 1978, Yim started working with Television Broadcasts (TVB) and guest-starred in one of the period dramas, “The Twins,” which later became one of her best works. Her most recent work won her the award for best drama performance by an actress for her role in “Moonlight Resonance” at the Asian Television Awards.
(Image by: Randy Miramontez) Niki Chow is a Hong Kong actress and Cantopop (Hong Kong popular music) singer. Until recently she was under contract with BMA Records, but she terminated the contract to pursue a new contract with TVB. She has appeared in several movies and television series, including “Hard Fate” and “The Gentle Crackdown.” She won the most improved actress award at the TVB Anniversary Awards in 2005 for her performance in “The Gentle Crackdown.” She has also authored several books and is scheduled to begin filming an Ancient Series [Is this the title? If so, it should be in quotes.] for TVB beginning in July.
The summer concert series at Thunder Valley Casino has just started and tickets are selling fast. The complete entertainment schedule is available on their website.
Randy Miramontez is a contributing writer and photographer with The Sacramento Press.