ONE year of touring the world and a studio album later, talented singing sensation Jayesslee were back in town to play to audiences in Melbourne. Carene Chong was there to bring you the scoop.
It was 2.30pm on Saturday May 26 that the skies opened up and rain poured through in chilly Melbourne. That night, Australian YouTube stars Jayesslee took heaven’s cue and spilled their hearts for Melburnian fans at their first headlining show in the city.The twin sisters, Janice and Sonia Lee, were in town as part of their 2012 Asia Pacific tour, with stops in Singapore, their hometown Sydney, Perth, Bangkok, Indonesia, Manila, and KL.
Though visibly exhausted from a hectic tour schedule, the girls simply could not hide their excitement.
“It was just so awesome hearing that so many people have come out to see us. We definitely feel the love and support,” Sonia told Meld before the show.
In person, the twins are as sweet and humble as their on-screen personas. Sporting bright smiles from the beginning of their meet-and-greet with fans all the way to their final farewell, the girls were determined to make it a night for all to remember.
“We wanted to get up close and personal with our fans and give them a behind-the-scenes view into our lives. It’s definitely all about being ourselves tonight,” Janice said.
The twins’ enthusiasm were matched by the fervour of their fans who finally got to see their favourite YouTube stars in the flesh.
“I was super excited when the tickets went on sale.” devoted fan Vanessa Ho said.
Like most other fans, Vanessa discovered the twins through their highly popular YouTube covers of both hit and gospel songs.
“I just love how they harmonise so perfectly. I watched one video which led to another and another and here I am, watching them live in person!”
Daniel Chew, a self-proclaimed “proud fan since 2009”, jumped at the chance to meet his idols in person. Having had his poster signed and picture taken with the girls before the show, Daniel could only sing high praises for the duo.
“They look so pretty in real life and are super sweet. Definitely very real and down-to-earth ladies.” he said.
Ten minutes before showtime, the auditorium was filled to the brim with fans eagerly awaiting for the show to commence. Concert organiser ID Live’s creative director Ruth Budiman said the VIP and gold section tickets had been completely snapped up.
“As soon as Jayesslee made the official announcement about the concert on their Facebook Page, VIP tickets sold out in approximately two hours,” she said.
At 7pm, singer/songwriter Charles J Tan stepped up to open the show as the duo’s guest performer of the night. Apart from serenading the crowd with self-composed tunes and a cover of Cyndi Lauper’s “True Colours”, the funnyman got the crowd guffawing to his one-liners and setting a lively mood for the rest of the night.
A half-hour of crooning by Charles and a 15 minute intermission later, the sisters took to the stage to loud cheers, impressive lighting effects and a strong instrumental intro by their band which led into their first song of the night, a cover of Simple Plan’s “Jet Lag”.
With Sonia on the guitar as usual and Janice at the keyboard for a tune or two, the twins churned out cover upon cover of fan favorites including One Republic’s “Secrets” and Jason Mraz’s “I Won’t Give Up”. Also on the playlist were covers not officially uploaded onto their YouTube channel such as “Safe and Sound” by Taylor Swift and Christina Perri’s “A Thousand Years”.
With their perfect harmonisation and smooth vocals, the twins melted the fans’ hearts little by little.
True to their words, there was not a moment when Jayesslee’s sincerity failed to shine through. In between songs, they shared heartfelt conversations and stories with their fans. There were funny ones which evoked peals of laughter from the crowd, as well as tragic ones that tugged on everyone’s heartstrings.
A particularly memorable one was of Sonia’s husband, Andy, mistaking Janice for his wife.
“It’s really funny because Andy takes so much pride in not mixing us up. His record was zero, up to this point,” Janice explained.
The twins then moved on to a K-Pop cover song, performed exclusively for the Melbourne crowd called “Goodbye Baby” by Korean pop group Miss A.
There were also moments of absolute solemnity – when the girls told the story of their mothers lost battle with cancer which ultimately led them to embrace Christianity. The tragic account, combined with the girls’ raw acapella performance of a Korean prayer song which they explained was their mother’s final message to God, ultimately moved some audience members to tears.
Having recently completed recording for their first studio EP, the ladies did not forget to present fans with an original song from their mini album, “Failure In Disguise” as well as their own rendition of P.Diddy’s “Coming Home”.
Devout Christians, the twins also threw a few religious tunes into the mix, such as “Cry In My Heart” and Switchfoot’s “Dare You To Move”. For their final performance, the girls gave the crowd a head-bopping cover of Jessie J’s “Price Tag” thereby ending the concert on a high note.
Watching Sonia rap and Janice beat-box during the performance, one couldn’t help but wonder if there was anything these talented girls couldn’t do.
The night did not stop there as the twins took to the stage one last time to present a final encore to their fans, a beautiful rendition of “Amazing Grace”. With that, the Melbourne leg of their APAC tour successfully came to a close.
Concert-goers were content with the show as they left the venue in high spirits, all the way chattering about their favorite moments of the night. Nicholas Goon, in particular, was one satisfied fan.
“The girls did a really good job, they were right on pitch the whole night,” he said.
Another fan, Evone Tang had nothing but praise for the girls’ performance but admitted she was left slightly disappointed.
“I was hoping they would sing their hit cover ‘Officially Missing You’, but overall they were fantastic,” she said.
“Hopefully they’ll be back next year and they will be singing my favorite song then!”
Jayesslee’s first studio single from their yet to be released EP, “Officially Missing You” is currently available for purchase on iTunes.