Concert review: Jessie J holds court in concert-cum-motivational seminar

British singer Jessie J performed at the Singapore Indoor Stadium on Thursday (May 26) in front of a crowd of about 6,000 fans.
British singer Jessie J performed at the Singapore Indoor Stadium on Thursday (May 26) in front of a crowd of about 6,000 fans.ST PHOTO: ANJALI RAGURAMAN

Singtel & Samsung Up-Close with Jessie J

Singapore Indoor Stadium/Thursday (May 26)

British singer Jessie J brought a level of intimacy to her almost 90-minute set in the cavernous Indoor Stadium, with plenty of personality and a massive voice thrown in.

But what was billed as an intimate acoustic experience with the London-born singer - primarily for customers of Singtel and Samsung - turned out at times to be more like a Tony Robbins-style motivational seminar.

In front of a crowd of about 6,000, Jessie said she was overwhelmed as she did not think there would be that many people - but did not act like it. The chatty singer had a story or an impassioned speech to accompany almost every song.

Before belting out an impressive cover of Whitney Houston power ballad I Have Nothing, she told the audience about how she had sung this song for a girl band audition at age 16, and how her whole life changed.

"Anyone here who has a dream, never give up," she said. At one point she stared into the lens of a camera and urged the enraptured crowd to believe in themselves. Her banter made the concert feel like an intimate pow-wow with friends.

For someone whose voice had not quite woken up - she said she was jet-lagged and had not had any sleep since landing at 2am that same day from Los Angeles - she delivered the high, low and in-between notes with panache - whether if it was on Domino, Nobody's Perfect or Flashlight.

The ready and willing crowd lapped it up, even setting the stadium alight with their phones right on cue when she started singing Flashlight from the Pitch Perfect 2 soundtrack.

During an informal Q&A session with the crowd, she picked out a 23-year-old student, who was handed a microphone, and the two traded runs and lyrics made up on the spot, in a five minute exchange that wowed the entire audience. It was almost too good to be impromptu.

The set-up was minimal with a three-panelled screen showing close-ups of the 28-year-old singer's face, and her band comprising a keyboardist, bassist, acoustic guitarist and drummer.

Without an elaborate set and back-up dancers and singers, Jessie proved she did not actually need any of the bells and whistles to put on a good show.

anjalir@sph.com.sg