The annual "Cultures of China, Festival of Spring" world concert tour during this year's Chinese New Year's season wowed Americans and Chinese alike in the 2,300-seat Cadillac Palace Theatre on Tuesday.
Soon after the sounds of "The Same Song," written in 1990 and one of the most widely known songs in China, faded away, the audience shouted "I love you" to the singer on the stage. The renowned Chinese pop song singer Cai Guoqing responded, "I love you more."
Cai's voice and songs brought the listeners back to the old days and drew rounds of cheers and applause from the audience.
The singer has never missed a single "Cultures of China, Festival of Spring" world concert tour during the Chinese New Year season since its initiation in 2009.
"When I first joined the concert tours, I was a young guy. Now I am old," Cai said jokingly.
Tuesday's concert, organized by the Overseas Chinese Affairs Office of the State Council, featured Chinese dances, pop songs, Peking Opera, and violin pieces.
Hu Wenge, a member of the third generation of the Mei School of Peking Opera, performed the famous "Farewell My Concubine." The audience was just obsessed with his song punctuated with a sword dance.
The concert culminated when famous Chinese singer Yan Weiwen came on stage. He invited Chinese Consul General in Chicago, Hong Lei, to join him in singing the "Little Poplar," the song which brought Yan to fame 34 years ago. Members of the audience who were familiar with the tune sang along.
"I love the show," Joseph Agular, a member of the audience, told Xinhua. "I can see a lot of the true Chinese culture, seeing how spring is celebrated."
It was the first time that Aned Alvarado watched a Chinese New Year's show. The young woman was invited to attend by a Chinese friend.
"It was a beautiful show highlighting a lot of cultural and historical dances, I was really excited about the Chinese opera," Alvarado told Xinhua.
Gail Baumgartner-Brown and her husband were special guests at the concert. Gail is the daughter of a soldier of the First American Volunteer Group of the Chinese Air Force, commonly known by its nickname "The Flying Tigers," which helped China fight against Japanese invaders during World War II.
Gail and her husband will visit China this year. She said she has never been to China, but has long wished to visit places in China where her father had been to. "It (the concert) gives us a great idea of what we look forward to," she said.
Also present at the concert was Bruce Rauner, governor of the state of Illinois. He praised the friendship and partnership between the people of China and Illinois, saying the Year of the Dog signifies loyalty, bravery and responsibility, which he said are "values that are going to make this a wonderful year."
This year's performance tour covered six cities in three countries, and Chicago was its last stop in North America.