Five years since his debut in 2013, performing, as the youngest solo act at 28 and first solo artist under 30, back-to-back concerts at a sold-out-in-minutes Beijing National Stadium (also known as the Bird’s Nest) that has seated 90,000 sports fans for the 2008 Beijing Olympics and held the likes of Mayday, Jackie Chan, Eason Chan, and Song Zuying, Hua Chenyu managed to deliver two magical 2018 Mars Concerts that not only lived up to the stadium’s illustrious legacy, but took it to a whole new level.
An utterly extravagant affair filled with verve, fervidity, and imagination, the concerts felt more than shows that were larger-than-life — they were a promise honored, and a communion cherished.
Here’s a video of Hua talking about his five-year promise with Martians (as Hua Chenyu fans are called) at the 2018 September 9 Mars Concert.
Video by Hua Chenyu FanSubs
In a stadium of this size and scale, grandiose and over-the-top stage designs are not ostentations, but necessities.
Such as this ginormous, glowy hand moving slowly above the audience with Hua standing in its palm — it brings the pièce de résistance closer to the audience.
Hua Chenyu performing “Here We Are” at 2018 September 8 Mars Concert. Video by ya A
Or this jaw-dropping showcase of wire-work that enables Hua to fly freely above his audience and even do consecutive somersaults like he just trained with Cirque du Soleil or something.
Or this giant inflatable demon king that ought to loom ominously on stage but somehow looked adorable and protective around Hua Hua.
In all the panoply of magnificent lighting and thunderous sound, there was also nuance and meticulous attention to detail, like this stunning stage of a glaring white recliner backlighting a latex-clad Hua in blood red writhing and choking out his experimental masterpiece “Cancer”.
Hua Chenyu performing “Cancer (癌)” at 2018 September 8 Mars Concert. (Warning: This song is intended to depict the dire effects of cancer. Abort if you do not like it.) Video by FDU华晨宇复旦火星村
Costumes & props
Bathed in the riveting stage effects, the costumes and stage props added more spectacle to the already sumptuous visual feast. While Hua was igniting the stage with breakneck rapping in “Call Me Contra”, did you know that the jacket he was wearing featured millions worth of crystals sponsored by Swarovski and was handcrafted by Hua’s long-time friend and fashion designer Jin Chongyu (金翀宇)?
Hua Chenyu performing “Call Me Contra (代号魂斗罗)” at 2018 September 8 Mars Concert. Video by yu A.
And behold this crimson demonic snake of a mic stand that can be beheaded when Hua feels like it.
In this year’s Mars concerts, Hua was accompanied by his long-time band and backup singers, and they settled in like fingers in a glove. Here’s Hua singing “For My Future Child (写给未来的孩子)” backed by lion-maned guitarist Zhao Le. Hua dedicated the song to his good friend and actress Zhang Xinyi. (Zhang is pregnant with her first child.)
Hua Chenyu performing “For My Future Child” at 2018 September 8 Mars Concert. Video by FDU华晨宇复旦火星村
Everyone got their wishes
The three-hour long, 28-song setlist (with variations in the setlists for the two concerts) undoubtedly ticked off a lot of Martians’ wish lists of songs they would like to hear live. Since there are no official videos of the concerts, here are a few high-quality audience-shot videos of songs that might be on your wish list.
- Nunchucks (双截棍), video by 摄影师张项
- Jackdaw Boy (寒鸦少年), video by FDU华晨宇复旦火星村
- Seek (寻), video by 摄影师张项
- The Mask (变相怪杰), video by FDU华晨宇复旦火星村
After the concerts, many Martians probably also ticked “singing karaoke in the Bird’s Nest” off their bucket list. Wanna know how they did?
- Martians singing “Ashes From Fireworks (烟火里的尘埃)”, video by 摄影师张项
- Martians singing “Aliens (异类)”, video by 摄影师张项
And Hua Chenyu also got to fulfill his wish of singing his self-written stadium rock song “Why Nobody Fights” in an actual high-capacity stadium.
Hua Chenyu performing “Why Nobody Fights” at 2018 September 8 Mars Concert. Video by Hua Chenyu FanSubs.
With such heartfelt performances presented with the utmost sincerity, the atmosphere was as incendiary and contagious as wild fire. Here’s a video of a security guard at the Bird’s Nest, Martianized.
And there was levity, too, and bantz galore. Martians and Hua Hua fell comfortably into the old routine of Martians chanting “Strip!” and Hua Chenyu reluctantly removing a jacket, followed by Hua proclaiming loudly “This is a PG concert”. And this year, with Hua denoting himself as “uncle” of Zhang Xinyi’s unborn baby, Martians were quick to claim the title of “aunts” for themselves. Zhang later posted on Weibo that she’s happy her baby gets to have 90,000 aunties and thanked Uncle Hua Hua for the lovely song.
A new world
This year, after singing a tear-jerking “I Am What I Am (我)” — the customary ending song for all previous Mars Concerts — Hua added a new song “A New World” to wrap up this two-day revelry. And we’re happy to accompany Hua Hua into this stunning new world of unbound possibilities and exciting unknowns, and wish him the best on his journey to explore new boundaries of music and in all his future endeavors.
Hua’s new songs performed at the concerts to get you through the days till the next Mars Concert:
Hua Chenyu performing “Bullfighting” at 2018 September 8 Mars Concert. Video by 華晨宇全球歌迷會港澳分會Chenyu Hua HKnMAC Fan’s Club.