After Madge, maybe Adele, Drake or U2?

Bono (above left with guitarist Adam Clayton).
Bono (above left with guitarist Adam Clayton).PHOTO: REUTERS
Drake.
Drake.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE
Paul McCartney.
Paul McCartney.PHOTO: BILL BERNSTEIN
Adele.
Adele.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE
Thom Yorke.
Thom Yorke.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE
Britney Spears.
Britney Spears.PHOTO: SONY MUSIC
Jay Z.
Jay Z.PHOTO: REUTERS
Axl Rose.
Axl Rose.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

Music fans are still holding out for these eight best-selling global artists to hold concerts here

Twenty-three years after Madonna’s Girlie tour was banned in Singapore, the Queen of Pop is finally making her way here next month with her latest Rebel Heart tour.

While Singapore has had its fair share of A-list acts over the past two decades – from the late Michael Jackson in 1993 to Grammy Award-winner Ed Sheeran last year – there are still big-name singers who have passed up on the city as a tour stop even as tours replace album sales in earnings for most musicians. But what is the likelihood of top stars such as Adele or Drake playing in Singapore on one of their world tours?

The vice-president of MTV and its digital media arm in Asia, Mr Paras Sharma, 44, says: “Singapore has emerged as a popular music and entertainment destination for major concerts and an important stop for international and regional acts visiting Asia.”

He adds that having a pop icon such as Madonna perform here “is a significant milestone for the local scene” and it may convince other live acts on world tours that South-east Asia, and Singapore for that matter, is worth the detour.

So which artists and bands with record album sales and high grossing concert tours should hurry up and make their way here? This is The Straits Times’ wishlist.


1. U2

Fronted by 55-year-old singer Bono(with guitarist Adam Clayton), the Irish band U2 have held 15 concert tours since their first in 1979, but not a single one has made it to South-east Asia.

There were rumours that their 1997/1998PopMart tour would play a date at the National Stadium, but the show did not happen.

Their most recent tour, the Innocence+ Experience Tour, took them to 76 countries in North America and Europe.

With a whopping 22Grammys under their belt, U2are consistently rated one of the world’s best live acts.

The worldwide U2 360° Tour, which ran from 2009 to 2011, is also the highest-grossing concert tour of all time, ahead of The Rolling Stones' A Bigger Bang Tour.

2. Drake

After rolling out hits last year such as the meme-worthy Hotline Bling, the mixtape If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late and the collaboration with rapper Future, What A TimeTo Be Alive, Toronto native Drake, 29, is one of the hottest singers of the moment.

While he has no tour dates lined up for this year yet, his widely anticipated album, Views From The 6, is rumoured to be dropping this month.

If so, a tour could possibly be in the works and he should certainly stop by Singapore because his fans in Asia deserve some attention too. YOLO(You Only Live Once), Drake.

3. Paul McCartney

At 73, the Liverpudlian is still touring extensively. Paul McCartney’s last solo tour last year, the Out There tour, had a 91-date run, longer than the tours of most stars half his age. It included 12 dates in Japan and South Korea.

The Beatles never performed in Singapore and a chance to see one of the two surviving Fab Four members in the flesh would no doubt thrill fans here.

So Macca, as McCartney is known to his fans, should venture past his frequent concert stops to Japan and meet fans in South-east Asia and Singapore while he is still going strong because who knows how much more juice he has in him for international tours?

4. Adele

When Grammy Award-winner Adele recently announced that she would go on a tour of Europe and North America, beginning in the United Kingdom, next month, tickets for her first live concert tour in five years sold out within minutes of going on sale last month.

Fans cannot seem to get enough of the 27-year-old chanteuse, whose latest album 25, sold a record-breaking 5.2 million units in the United States alone.

The British singer, however, has never taken her concert tours to Japan, the world’s second-largest music industry and the top pick for tour stops in Asia by A-list stars.

The likelihood of a Singapore date maybe slim, but one can hold out hope for a chance to say hello to the octave-smashing singer.

5. Radiohead

The closest experimental rock icons Radiohead have been to Singapore was when they stopped in Taiwan in 2012 for The King Of Limbs tour. Japan has also played host to the quintet on multiple occasions in the past two decades.

While the British band are rumoured to have finished workingon their ninth album, following 2011’sThe King Of Limbs, which could potentially be released this year, there is no word yet on whether the group, fronted by Thom Yorke, will be touring.

Still, fans here can hope.

6. Britney Spears

Currently holding a residency in Las Vegas until next year, pop princess Britney Spears has only ventured as far as Japan in Asia for her world tours.

And given that the 34-year-old is earning a reported US$475,000 (S$685,000) a show at the Planet Hollywood Resort&Casino, it might be a while before she puts out a new album and does a concert tour again.

But when she does, tickets for it will likely sell like hotcakes. Spears,who was part of the 1990s pop wave that included singer Christina Aguilera, remains one of the top-selling female artists of all time.

Her Vegas show set list is a hits-filled bonanza with both nostalgic and newer material and if she ever takes the show, Piece Of Me,on a world tour, her fans will likely lap it up.

Case in point:The 1990s pop group Backstreet Boys sold out their one-night-only gig in Singapore last year. There is definitely a market for ’90s pop nostalgia here.

7. Jay Z

Jay Z’s 2014OnTheRuntour, which had his wife,mega pop star Beyonce as a co-headline, bypassed Asia and Australia. It played 21 dates in North America and two dates in Paris.

While big-name urban or hip-hop acts rarely perform here, Kanye West, Jay Z’s contemporary,and arguably one of the biggest names in hip-hop, has already dropped in twice– once for his Glow In The Dark Tour in2008 and another time in 2010 for SingFest.

But Jay Zhas a far larger catalogue of music and he headlined the popular British music festival Glastonbury in 2008, way before West did last year.

8. Guns N’ Roses

Members of this American rock ’n’ roll legend will reunite and headline this year’s Coachella music festival in the California desert in April.

And if all goes well, the long-awaited reunion of its lead singer Axl Rose and lead guitarist Slash after a two-decade long feud could spell anew money-making tour for the rockers.

Should that happen, there might be a glimmer of hope of them coming to town since Slash is familiar with Singapore, having played at Fort Canning in 2010 and the Singapore Indoor Stadium in 2011, both times with Alter Bridge’s frontman Myles Kennedy.

While not all five of the band’s original members have been confirmed for Coachella–rhythm guitarist Izzy Stradlin and drummer Steven Adler are missing from the billing–a chance to see the remaining three members– Slash, Rose and bassist Duff McKagan– play together for the first time since the 1990s would be a treat for any fan.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 11, 2016, with the headline 'Oh, won’t you please come say hello?'. Print Edition | Subscribe