Calvin Harris stages spectacular dance party, Duran Duran prove they are no has-beens

Scottish superstar DJ Calvin Harris at the F1 concert on Sept 17, 2017.
Scottish superstar DJ Calvin Harris at the F1 concert on Sept 17, 2017.ST PHOTO: NG SOR LUAN
Scottish superstar DJ Calvin Harris at the F1 concert on Sept 17, 2017.
Scottish superstar DJ Calvin Harris at the F1 concert on Sept 17, 2017.ST PHOTO: NG SOR LUAN

Scottish dance music star Calvin Harris and English pop-rock veterans Duran Duran were as different as chalk and cheese in their performances on the final night of this year's Singapore Grand Prix on Sunday (Sept 17).

Harris, who started his set soon after Lewis Hamilton emerged victorious in the F1 night race, was a well-oiled one-man show on his DJ decks, stringing together a setlist filled with some of the biggest chart hits of the last few years.

Duran Duran, who performed before the race, were old-school rockers - a solid band of musicians playing a tight set comprising songs that spanned close to four decades.

Both were equally adept at handling the massive Padang crowd, which peaked at 60,000 during Harris' closing set.

Duran Duran frontman Simon Le Bon and band, dressed in bright colours, got the crowd singing and dancing along to songs such as A View To A Kill (1985), Come Undone (1993) and Last Night In The City (2015).

The slight drizzle that came during the sundown set did not dampen the mood at the Padang Stage.

Le Bon endeared himself to Singapore fans by referencing local fare. "Did you get your nasi goreng?" he asked before singing 1982 hit Hungry Like The Wolf.


Veteran British pop group Duran Duran at the F1 concert on Sept 17, 2017. ST PHOTO: NG SOR LUAN

He also acknowledged the mix of global fans by pointing out the various countries' flags in the audience.

"Looking forward to noisy cars going around in circles, with a little bit of music?" he quipped to the F1 crowd, before launching into the band's James Bond theme A View To A Kill (1985) from the movie of the same name.

It was clear that the Padang crowd for the band's second set at the Singapore Grand Prix - they played an earlier set on Saturday (Sept 16) at the smaller Village Stage - responded louder and were more eager to sing and dance along to their 1980s fare, such as The Wild Boys (1984) and 1990s hits such as Ordinary World (1993).

But the band had a point to prove - they were no has-beens banking only on past glories. It was great to hear them belt out recent, less crowd-pleasing tunes, even kicking off their set with the title track from their 14th and most recent album released in 2015, Paper Gods.


Veteran British pop group Duran Duran at the F1 concert on Sept 17, 2017. ST PHOTO: NG SOR LUAN

Harris might not have Duran Duran's wealth of back catalogue, but his non-stop, continuous set had the celebratory, euphoria-inducing atmosphere of a full-fledged dance music festival.

The kaleidoscopic visuals on the giant LED screens, pyrotechnics, laser light shows that accompanied his tunes were spectacular, almost blinding even.

Standing on his elevated DJ platform, he slipped in several de rigueur club anthems such as House Of Pain's hip-hop classic Jump Around and also this year's ubiquitous Latin pop hit, Despacito.

There were plenty of familiar, contemporary pop voices in the songs in his set, from Barbadian star Rihanna (We Found Love) to British singer Ellie Goulding (I Need Your Love) and indie siren Florence Welch on set opener, Sweet Nothing.

Harris himself did not speak much, save for a shout-out to the night race's winner, Hamilton and the occasional requests to his mostly millennials audience.

"Hey, Singapore, if you have any batteries left, let me see some lights," he commanded at one point, and the fans were only too happy to oblige, creating a sparkling sea of handphone lights stretching across the Padang.