A wish for another Filipino artist on its stage after Charice
SINGAPORE: The sound of fast cars at night at the Marina Bay Street Circuit. Conversations filled with the names Nico Rosberg, Lewis Hamilton, Daniel Ricciardo or Sebastian Vettel, or teams Mercedes, Red Bull and Ferrari. All these could mean only one thing: It’s the season anew for Formula One (F1) and one big party in the Lion City.
Held every September, the dates for the 2016 Formula One Singapore Airlines Singapore Grand Prix took place from the 16th to 18th. Now on its ninth year, F1 in the Lion City is set apart for being the only race held at night on in the world. This year’s winner as motorsports fans know by now is Mercedes’ Nico Rosberg.
This column isn’t about him though, because the races aren’t the only reason why throngs of locals and tourists go to Formula One in Singapore. The event’s entertainment line-up of international acts is an event in itself.
Past performers included big names such as Beyonce, Mariah Carey, Katy Perry, Jennifer Lopez, Rihanna, John Legend, Shakira, Rick Astley, Pet Shop Boys, Bananarama, Pretenders, Boy George, The Killers, Linkin Park, Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds, Bob Geldof, Tom Jones, Daughtry, Missy Elliott, Robbie Williams, Shaggy as well as Asian acts Bigbang, Jay Chou, Mayday and our very own Charice.
In 2015, the list included Pharrell Williams, Jimmy Cliff, Spandau Ballet, Maroon5 and Bon Jovi. This year, the shows were headlined by American rock band Imagine Dragons, pop singer-songwriter Halsey, the iconic band Queen plus Adam Lambert, UK band Bastille, Australian pop star Kylie Minogue, and pop group Pentatonix.
Music Geek was able to catch majority of the concerts, the highlights of which are today’s revved up topic.
Gen Xers will remember Kylie Minogue with for her late ‘80s hits “Locomotion” and “I Should Be So Lucky,” which she also performed during the show, and probably the most requested among the crowd. She was the headliner on September 16 at the Padang Stage of the Marina Bay Street Circuit, which had the Formula One Practice Session prior to the show.
Minogue opened with her ‘90s tracks “Better The Devil You Know” and “What Do I have To Do” still looking hot in a sexy red dress. Of course, it’s not a Kylie Minogue show without the equally hot female and male backup dancers and the glitzy stage.
People wanting to hear her hits were not disappointed as popular tracks from her previous albums were granted like “On A Night Like This,” “Spinning Around” and “Your Disco Needs You” (Light Years); “In Your Eyes,” “Can’t Get You Out of My Head” and “Love At First Sight” (Fever); “Slow” (Body Language); “Wow” (X); “Get Outta My Way” and “All The Lovers” (Aphrodite).
Minogue had a different take for “I Believe in You” which she sang in slow version— a welcome break from her dance hits. She also did a solo version of “Kids,” originally a duet with Robbie Williams, and gave the audience her songs from 2012 to 2014 like “Timebomb” and “Into The Blue”—her encore.
UK band Bastille took the Padang Stage on September 17 before the F1 qualifiers. Bastille is an indie pop band that started as a solo project by its vocalist Dan Smith. They became a full-fledged band in 2010 and has released two studio albums, Bad Blood and Wild World (released this month).
The band set the tone for the international crowd opening with “Bad Blood,” followed by “Laura Palmer,” which started as an indie release and eventually included in their debut album.
With just two albums, the band equally distributed the songs each one with its share of hits and singles like “Good Grief” from their new album Wild World and “Things We Lost In The Fire” (Bad Blood).
Bastille kept the audience on their toes with their version of TLC’s “No Scrubs.” But the concert wouldn’t be complete without the band’s biggest hit “Pompeii,” their closing song that had everyone in the audience singing, “Eheu eh-o eheu eh-o.”
Queen plus Adam Lambert
After the F1 qualifying rounds which saw Mercedes’ Nico Rosberg taking the pole position and Ferarri’s Sebastian Vettel placing last due to engine problems, it was Queen plus Adam Lambert to take the Padang Stage.
Lambert was not new to F1 as he already performed on the same stage as a solo artist in 2010, a year after he was declared runner-up of American Idol Season 8. His collaboration with Queen started when he performed with original members—guitarist Brian May and drummer Roger Taylor when he was still an American Idol contestant.
From there, they started performing occasionally until they announced their world tour in 2014. Throughout the show, Lambert was vocal of his dream of playing with the band one day that came true. Fans were not disappointed as Lambert’s vocals powerfully dished out their iconic hits like “Under Pressure,” “Another One Bites The Dust,” “The Show Must Go On,” “Radio Gaga,” “We Will Rock You,” and “We Are The Champions.”
May and Taylor also had their highlights with the great guitarist singing “Love Of My Life” and his guitar solo and Taylor doing the vocals of “A Kind Of Magic” and his drums battle with his son Rufus, also the percussionist of Queen.
Lambert told the audience the show was a celebration of Freddie Mercury. So the set wouldn’t be complete without the great late vocalist appearing twice on screen; singing the end verse of “Love Of My Life” and midway on “Bohemian Rhapsody.”
On Sept. 18, after the drivers track parade and before the Grand Prix itself, American singer-songwriter Halsey performed at the Padang stage. She released her debut album Badlands in 2015 which debuted at No. 2 at the Billboard 200.
The hour-long set consisted of tracks from the album which she opened with “Gasoline” and closed with the hit song “Colors.” Of course, her famous collaborations had to be there like “The Feeling” (with Justin Bieber) and the current chart-topper “Closer” (with The Chainsmokers). Missing in the repertoire though was “New Americana.”
Halsey mentioned during the show how thankful she was for the band where she used to be just the front act: the group that closed the Singapore Formula One (F1), Imagine Dragons.
After the exciting Formula One which saw Mercedes’ Nico Rosberg declared as the new King of Singapore circuit and Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel going from last position to moving up to fifth place, American band Imagine Dragons set fire to the Padang Stage opening the show with “Shots.”
The band performed their hits “It’s Time,” “Demons,” “On Top of The World,” “Roots,” “Gold,” “I Bet My Life” among others with their fist-pumping stadium appeal. They already sound good on record but hearing them live was a blast.
Vocalist Dan Reynolds got a kid from the audience when he did “Hopeless Opus” which he said was “best sung lying down.” The atmosphere was hot in the venue with the humid Singapore weather that midway through the show, Reynolds took off his shirt which excited lots of girls in the audience. Thousands of people in the audience still couldn’t get enough of Imagine Dragons even if the band already finished their last song: the explosive “Radioactive.”
Having watched the concerts at the Singapore Formula One (F1) for 7 straight years, the acts just keeps on getting better and bigger. This is something music geeks can look out for every year whether you are an F1 fan or not.
One wish though is to see another Filipino act to headline the event after Charice, hopefully next year.