Hot acts off the F1 fast tracks

Mayday, Robbie Williams and Jennifer Lopez wowed the crowds during the Singapore Grand Priz festivities. Life! music reviewers were there to give you a lowdown of their performances

Day 1: Concert review: Mayday revs up the crowd at the Singapore Grand Prix

BY BOON CHAN, MEDIA CORRESPONDENT

Review Concert

MAYDAY

2014 Formula 1 Singapore Airlines Singapore Grand Prix, Padang Stage/Last Friday

You can count on Taiwanese band Mayday to wind up the crowd when the racing winds down.

The roar of engines at the 2014 Formula 1 Singapore Airlines Singapore Grand Prix had subsided but the quintet soon had the crowd of 40,000 roaring in approval when they came on at 11.10pm at the Padang on Friday.

They kicked things off with a string of fast-paced rock tunes such as OAOA and Sun Wukong. Stageside fireworks fired up the crowd even more as they went off from time to time.

Then, like a racer taking a bend, they slowed things down for their first ballad Starry Night.

As lead vocalist Ashin crooned, coloured lights played across the stage as though the aurora borealis was dancing before our eyes.

Five songs into the set, he greeted the lightstick-waving fans and announced: “Treat this as a large-scale Mayday concert.”

This flagged off the massive live karaoke session as the crowd chimed in on I’m Not Willing To Let You Be Alone.

Mayday are regular visitors to Singapore and their last concert here was at Singapore Indoor Stadium last June (2013). At their dedicated shows, the sets and effects are fancier. The last time round, the specially designed lightsticks were even programmed to sync with the songs.

The F1 gigs are more stripped-down affairs but in a way, the back-to-basics vibe can be just as entertaining. All you need is an act with a huge catalogue of hits and one that is willing to go all out. Mayday are known for doing that, once turning a free showcase here, for those who bought their CD, into a full-on two-hour-plus set.

On Friday night, they played for close to two hours, dishing out hits old and new from Tenderness to Battle Array Song to Sad People Don’t Listen To Slow Songs.

To rev up the crowd, Mayday packed the set with their faster-paced numbers such as Jump and DNA and the audience showed their L.O.V.E. for the band during the fan favourite In Love-ing.

At first, on the uptempo tracks, the guitars could clearly be heard but the vocals sounded rather murky. Things improved as the night wore on. Either that, or I had become used to the sound mix.

Apart from Ashin, looking fuller in the face, holding court, the other members of the band also had a chance to shoot the breeze with their fans.

Guitarist Stone won the crowd over with his attempt to speak in English: “We’re really exciting today because there’s a great race there.”

And for those encountering the band for the first time, he urged them to check out Mayday on Google and YouTube.

To those who were late to the Mayday party, Ashin quipped: “What were you doing before today?”

Bassist Masa, whose idea of Singlish seems to be Filipino-accented English, kept it short and sweet. Guitarist Monster hoped that “we won’t lose out to the roar of the engines tonight” while drummer Guan You called Singapore a second home, a sentiment the band had expressed before.

Ashin said at one point: “Do you miss Mayday a little? After we finish all our songs, you’d miss us even more.”

Right on cue, The group performed the hit ballad Suddenly Missing You So Much during the encore. No doubt fans will be feeling that way soon enough.


Day 2: Review: No rain on his parade

BY EDDINO ABDUL HADI

Check out this fan video of Robbie Williams live in concert:

Review Concert

ROBBIE WILLIAMS

2014 Formula 1 Singapore Airlines Singapore Grand Prix, Padang Stage/Last Saturday

British singer Robbie Williams was drenched by heavy rain just as he was about to start his set last Saturday night during the 2014 Formula 1 Singapore Airlines Singapore Grand Prix, but he soldiered on through the 90-minute show.

The downpour did not dampen the mood of the packed, unsheltered crowd at the Padang either. While some whipped out umbrellas or put on ponchos, most braved the rain and sang along to the singer’s hit songs, including Angels and Come Undone.

Williams, who came on at 10.30pm, was at his charismatic best, making self-deprecating jokes.

“Can you remember me from the 90s?” the 40-year-old asked cheekily at one point.

Indeed, despite being one of the best-selling British solo artists of all time, he is well aware that his years of churning out global hits are far behind him.

The former member of boyband Take That did not disappoint his fans, however, belting out his best known tunes from his solo career, including songs such as Let Me Entertain You and Millennium, both from 1998, and Rock DJ, from 2000.

He also showed off the breadth of his influences and paid tribute to music icons ranging from Frank Sinatra and Lou Reed to Jay-Z and AC/DC by including their music in his setlist.

His fascination with swing and the Rat Pack came to the fore with his rendition of Sinatra’s My Way and New York, New York, and he showed off his love for the blues by covering Elvis Presley’s Trouble. He also took on classic R&B with Percy Mayfield’s Hit The Road Jack.

He gleefully rocked out by merging Queen’s We Will Rock You with Joan Jett’s I Love Rock ’N Roll, and sang snippets from Lou Reed’s Walk On The Wild Side and U2’s I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For towards the end of Come Undone.

While he mocked Liam Gallagher’s sneer on Oasis’ Cigarettes & Alcohol, he showed his love for rootsy rock by covering Creedence Clearwater Revival’s Proud Mary.There were plenty of nods to modern urban classics too.

Millennium was updated with samples from Jay-Z’s 99 Problems (“I haven’t asked his permission yet,” he joked) and Williams pulled his dry bandmates out into the rain to do an a cappella version of R Kelly’s Ignition (Remix).

Indeed, while many of his band members initially stayed under the cover of the big stage, he playfully pulled out a few of them to sing with him on the uncovered runway.He seemed to relish the wet weather, busting out dance moves on the slippery floor. By the second song, Let Love Be Your Energy, his tuxedo jacket had come off and he went among the audience to shake hands and pose gamely for their weather-resistant GoPro cameras.

Not since the first edition of indie music festival Laneway at Fort Canning in 2011 has a big outdoors show here been hit by such heavy rain.

The lack of current hits notwithstanding, Williams’ ability to defy the elements with a crowd-rousing performance showed what a trouper and all-around entertainer he still is.


Day 3: Jennifer Lopez sizzles at F1 wrap concert

BY MELISSA KOK

Check out this fan video of Jennifer Lopez live in concert:

American RnB artist Jennifer Lopez gave a high-octane closing performance to wrap up the Formula 1 Singapore Airlines Singapore Grand Prix weekend at the Padang on Sunday night.

Following British Mercedes F1 driver Lewis Hamilton's win at the Singapore GP, the Latin-American pop icon kicked off the celebrations with a 90-minute-long performance, entertaining the crowd with hits spanning her 15-year career in music.

Lopez fired up the audience with new songs such as First Love and I Luh Ya PaPi and older hits that included Waiting For Tonight and Jenny From The Block.

At age 45, she showed she still had the moves and vocal chops to rock the crowd.

Dressed in a series of figure-hugging outfits that left little to the imagination, the award-winning singer showed off her curves as she grooved to such hits as Booty, one of the latest songs off her recently released eighth studio album, A.K.A.

Fans sang along to old hits such as 2005's Get Right and the timeless 2001 club anthem My Love Don't Cost A Thing.

Songs like If You Had My Love, the debut single that first catapulted her to pop fame in 1999, and Waiting For Tonight were given bass-heavy remixes that added to the arena-rock atmosphere.

Donning a bedazzled gold NY cap, she closed her set with Jenny From The Block, a nod to her days growing up in the Bronx, and Hold It Don't Drop It, delivering a sizzling hot end to the F1 race weekend.