Before Chinese musician Song Dongye took the stage Tuesday in the Buskirk-Chumley Theater, one band member entered holding an erhu, a traditional Chinese instrument that resembled a small, two-stringed cello. Only a spotlight shined as he began with low-throat singing to accompany the haunting sound of his erhu.
A pianist, drummer, guitarist and bassist soon joined the band member playing erhu on stage. At last, Dongye emerged with an acoustic guitar to wild applause.
Song Dongye is a singer-songwriter from Beijing. His 2012 single “Miss Dong” went viral after singer Zuo Li performed a cover of it on "Super Boy," a TV singing competition.
“My favorite song is 'Miss Dong,'” said Jiaxi Lu, a junior studying informatics and computer art.
Dongye and the five members of his band are currently on their “Go West” tour of the United States, visiting cities such as Boston, New York and Los Angeles.
The crowd cheered when the lights of the venue went down and left the lights on the band members’ music stands shining brightly.
Dongye sang the song “Anhe Bridge” in a powerful, booming voice with his eyes closed as audience members bobbed their heads to the heartfelt ballad. Like most of his set, he performed this song in Chinese.
After this song, Dongye introduced the band members and made the crowd laugh. Throughout the show, he chatted with audience members and told jokes that prompted giggling and cheering from the crowd.
The songs following “Anhe Bridge” took the audience on a tour of genres, including metal, rock 'n' roll and hip-hop.
“Personally, I do not like to be defined and caged in one genre,” Dongye said in a Rock Paper Scissors press release. “Genre isn’t important. I prefer things that are simple and true.”
The crowd became a sea of cell phones taking video for the song “Miss Dong.”
“‘Miss Dong’ is my favorite song,” said Mike Fang, a senior in the Kelly School of Business. “He altered it a little. It used to be slower, and he made it more rock 'n' roll.”
Toward the end of the performance, Dongye sang a love song in English.
“Life began the day you took my hand,” Dongye sang. “You set my spirits free.”