In this song, the character is a singer working at a nightclub, which in the 30s, was a disreputable profession for a woman. Think a big dance hall, with tables lined in white table cloths and wealthy people gathering, while there's a band and a singer in the background.
Shanghai at Night
Shanghai at night, Shanghai at night, you are a city that never sleeps
Neon lights are lit, the motor cars rang, a scene of prosperity
You see her, with smiles on her face, but who knows the sadness in her heart?
Making a living at night, it's all for, how much it costs to live
One can be intoxicated by this even if the wine does not intoxicate one
Youth is wasted on a life of excess
The dawn breaks foggy, sleepy eyes open
We all return home
Our heart goes round and round, like a car's wheel
Let's change this life for a new one
In the new life, we can in remembrance
Think of this life at night, like we just wake from a dream