The charming and disarming Amber Liu brings the power of a one woman boy band to The Opera House.
My first trip to The Opera House is on a crisp Saturday evening – joining a 30-strong line of late arrivals slowly filtering in as opener Justin Park warms up the packed crowd. Not that they needed much warming with a barrier full of screaming fans fresh from a pre-show meet and greet with Amber Liu and the press of bodies creating a mini sauna in this cozy venue.
The honey voiced Park welcomes the crowd with bass laden RnB love songs and compliments to his ‘sister’ Amber, who features on his debut album Places Like Home. He provides a light warm up of sweet by next door pop RnB – all angel voiced and baby faced. I can’t help but want to take him home to meet my mum. Park has barely left the stage when the crowd begin a chant of “Amber!” It feels like a polite, tiny version of a One Direction concert, and Amber Liu is about to prove that she can pack a punch as hefty as any boy band.
Amber enters the stage to squeals and cheers that befit her dream boi popstar style and demeanour; clad in a Drake-influenced jock jacket and sporting a fantastic crop of blue hair. Opener White Noise kicks the show into high gear from the breakdown onwards; with two backing dancers forming a tight triangle with Amber at their peak.
Tonight we’re treated to the third show of the Gone Rogue tour; showcasing the solo mixtape Rogue Rouge released earlier this year on SoundCloud, single releases and tracks from her debut Beautiful EP. Frenetic dances, raps, duets with Justin Park and dance offs ensue. During Three Million Years, Amber cracks up – unable to make it through the song due to the schmaltzy subject matter, which tempers the genuine emotion of Borders – dedicated to Amber’s mom.
Amber has a vast collection of swift pop tunes and even swifter banter. It’s testament to her energy and material that she packs 15 tracks into 90 minutes and ends the night with a very apt cover of All I Want for Christmas Is You. It’s the interaction with the crowd that really make Liu stand out as a seasoned performer. She’s relaxed and confident on stage – joking about bringing her thickest jacket for the cold weather, and thanking the fans for giving her the positivity and strength to be who she is. It’s a brave leap from K-Pop to releasing a free EP. But the fans are here – warm, enthusiastic and thrilled crowd…and they love the real Amber. I think I do too.