Saturday, September 22, 2007

Shanghai Concert Hall

The Shanghai Concert Hall is located in a park between People's Square and the shopping street of Huaihai Lu - when I first came to Shanghai, I lived just around the corner. It's in the center of town, and is lit up to match. Most notably, there's a large television jumbotron on a nearby building. It plays commercials, and there's speakers lying about to play the commercial's sound at night. Kind of annoying, really.

The concert hall looks the part of a concert hall - a big stately building with arches and pseudo-Grecian pillars scattered about.

But it started out in the 30s as a movie hall. It was the setting of a big scene from the old pre-war movie "Scenes of City Life," which by the way I've subtitled - I'm getting the subtitles looked over and working on a good method of hosting the movie, and then I'll put it on the web. Here's a look at the same spot, but from the movie. This shot is from a different angle, but I wasn't about to go climbing any trees:

The more detail-oriented of my gentle readers that the old picture has cars right in front of the theater, as opposed to being in a park - the road (Yan'an Lu) was turned into a highway, and there's also a subway nearby. To lessen the noise, the hall was moved half a block, even though it was more expensive than making a new building. The surroundings park is mostly empty, despite the location - at night there's a bunch of couples making out on benches, and occasional homeless people wandering around.

I went a few days ago, the Chinesey prog-rock band Cold Fairyland was playing - a little surprising, as it's the only time I've ever heard of the concert hall holding rock concerts. I think the band has a cool sound, but their actual music isn't interesting - I was mostly there to check out the insides of the theater. Unfortunately, the show took place in a smallish basement theater, not the main hall. It was a good match, though, the acoustics were really great and let the band's sound come out well.

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