The F1 weekend is over, and yet I am still pumped full of energy. Kylie Minogue, Queen and Adam Lambert and so on have left Singapore craving for more. Till these legends and electrifying acts return to our sunny shores, here’s what Sylvia Toh who attended Kylie Minogue’s performance and I thought of the headline acts this year.
The VIP Deck for the F1 Padang concerts are the best seats in the house. If you should be so lucky. Because it brings a whole lotta difference to the experience. Kylie Minogue – you’ve gotta love the 80s – gave a solid performance Friday night, even if her hour and half showed signs of date. You can’t compare of course, this is the age of Kylie Jenner and divas like Beyhannas, so this Kylie lacks presence.
Still, she ran through her repertoire, and costume changes, like a locomotion; against a backdrop of pop art graphics, so dominating all the huge screens, that she and her few musicians and several dancers appeared like minor characters on stage. She did ask if we were used to the Singapore heat, and mentioned a favourite dish, “chicken and rice”. Wait till you try the chili, girl. And ginger. And garlic. You can’t get it out of your head.
The South London band ignited a fire, straight off the bat. Starting off with “Bad Blood”, the fans followed with the “Ohs” and, reminding why their debut album owned the charts in 2013.
Bastille proved they were no one hit wonders with tracks from their triumphant second album – Wild World. Even if you have yet to give it a listen, “Send Them Off”‘ big hip-hop beats had me hooked from the start. Oh desdemona, won’t you liberate me, for the addiction is real.
Frontman Dan Smith proves he doesn’t hide behind those epic beats and wicked solos. “Two Evils” have him stripping down to his vocals with bandmate Will Farquarson’s plucked guitar. Absolutely stunning. But, nothing got the crowd more pumped up than the last track – “Pompeii”. Fan or not, they chanted along, warming up for the huge act that followed – Queen and Adam Lambert.
Queen and Adam Lambert
Okay, darlings. We have all been waiting for this, don’t deny it. The legendary Queen performed an invigorating set with Adam Lambert taking on the role of our beloved Freddie Mercury. Adam had the toughest job in the world, but the moment he greeted the crowd with his vocals, we knew why this former American Idol finalist has been singing with Brain May and Roger Taylor since 2011.
Adam was a killer queen in those heels, and posed against a dark silver throne Kat Von D could only have wet dreams of. And, with ease, he broke everyone’s expectations with that incredible vocal range. Paired with the theatrics that’s a blend of the legend and himself, he, with the band, celebrated Freddie alongside David Bowie.
But nothing, nothing blew my mind more than what happened as he rocked “Somebody To Love”. Right on the second floor of the VIP deck, as Adam crooned to the crowd, asking if “anybody could find me somebody to love”, a young man got down on his knees. A gasp, and muffled scream of joy. No one could say no to that. No one could say no to this crazy thing called love!
If this real life? It this just fantasy? The crowd broke their hearts singing along to “The Show Must Go On” (a personal favourite), and tears flowed as they finally played “Bohemian Rhapsody”, with a video of Freddie taking the stage. I sang along, until then, and lost it when he crooned “Goodbye, everybody, I’ve got to go”.
But, the band was not done. They finished the set with the energetic “Radio Gaga” before teasing us to an encore. Adam came out in a elaborate crown and sang the two songs that would leave us, high with excitement all through the night (yes, I could not sleep till the next morning) – “We Will Rock You” and “We Are The Champions”. And, in true (rock) royal fashion, the last note saw the skies filled with golden dreams, raining onto the crowd!
Whether they are coming back to Singapore or not, I know many have made the vow to watch them live once again.
Owning the charts with BADLANDS, Halsey has come a long way from a mere opening act for Imagine Dragons. She may given up her electric blue locks, but she still owned the padang stage – solo at that. Thousands of her adoring fans screamed in unison to “Roman Holiday”. Channeling bits of Alanis Morisette and The Cure, a staple in her childhood thanks to her mother, she blew me away with her lyrics – as easy as it was to label her as just another electropop artist. I was wowed, and the stereotype flew away in an instant. Especially when she performed her debut single “Ghost”, a track she crafted when she was 19, stuck in a subway.
Last day, last gig to end the grand prix. There was nothing better than the radioactive Imagine Dragons jumpstarting what’s left of everyone into frenzy. No matter how tired we were, we felt the energy that frontman, Dan Reynolds, projected through the Padang crowd. They were just a bunch of lads, who wanted their music to be enjoyed – and yes, we loved every moment of it.
The night got hotter and hotter, but it didn’t stop the united chorus of fans singing along to It’s Time, Forever Young and, oh, the list goes on. Dan dove straight for the crowd, giving high fives and a whole lot of love back to the crowd who have waited all day long for them. But no reward was better than seeing Dan smile, bright like a child, when he felt the beat of “On The Top Of The World”. People were dancing, jumping in circles and singing along to the last of their breath.
But, not so soon. They left the best for last – “Radioactive”. Solo after solo, with drummer Daniel Platzman and Dan (note: shirtless) rocking what’s left of their energy into the drums. We will be waking up to the ash and dust of the F1 track tomorrow, but Singapore will still feel the aftermath of their voracious performance till they return.