Formula One 2018 Singapore Airlines Singapore Grand Prix

Creating magic on stage

Dua Lipa and Martin Garrix (both above) wowed the crowd at the Padang on Sunday.
Dua Lipa and Martin Garrix (both above) wowed the crowd at the Padang on Sunday.ST PHOTO: TIMOTHY DAVID

British singer Dua Lipa and Dutch DJ-producer Martin Garrix's sets gave this year's concert line-up a buoyant shot in the arm

When the most-streamed female artist in the world and the top DJ in the world come together, they create magic on stage, as was evident during Dua Lipa's guest appearance at Martin Garrix's set at the Padang on Sunday.

The British singer, 23, joined the Dutch wunderkind DJ-producer, 22, to sing live on the track Scared To Be Lonely during the latter's DJ set, setting off the crowd of up to 60,000 attendees.

Garrix's show might have been the closing set of an electrifying weekend of performances by the likes of everyone from Taiwanese singer Jay Chou to American rock band The Killers, but Lipa, who is in prime global pop-star mode, was the real scene-stealer on the day.

Dressed in a Grand Prix-appropriate checked bra top and pastel-blue trackpants, the stunning and statuesque Lipa took to the stage earlier in the evening with an energetic pre-race concert that proved her magnetism as a performer.

She performed a very similar setlist in Singapore about four months ago to a sold-out crowd of 5,000 and, as with the last show, the first 20 minutes of the set was a breathless romp through Blow Your Mind, Dreams and My Love - including choreography and high kicks that would not be out of place in a piloxing class.

This time, however, she brought backup singers, dancers and a stage set-up that allowed her to get up high on a platform for some balletic and modern dance choreography on the pop ballad, Lost In Your Light.

But even in front of a crowd much larger than her previous concert here, the bona fide pop star managed to keep it fresh and upbeat throughout her 70-minute set.

She might be best known for the infectious earworm that is New Rules, which she closed off her gig with, but she has plenty of other smash hits - all with only one album to her name - and most of which she dipped into.



    Padang Stage/Sunday

Whether it was the tropical vibes of No Lie or the dance-floor banger and Calvin Harris collaboration One Kiss, it was the perfect mix for the diverse Singapore Grand Prix crowd that typically included everyone from Formula One fans, who were there for the race, to fans who werethere for the music acts to everyone in between.

Notably, she left out brooding ballads such as Homesick and Thinking 'Bout You that would have shown off her sultry and soulful vocals, as well as hot-off-the-press dance track Electricity.

But she was clearly playing to the crowd and the concertgoers lapped it up.

Like Lipa, Garrix's set was a show that proved why he is at the top of the DJ Mag Top 100 poll.

Between the hopping around on stage and on the decks, he brought on the big hits, spectacular laser lights, confetti canons and pyrotechnics.

It was clear he was firmly in the driver's seat as he took the crowd on an electronic dance music journey through his 90-minute set.

He traversed among his breakout hit Animals and older songs like Together as well as newer material like his ballad with American singer Khalid called Ocean, which he unexpectedly turned on its head with a drum and bass breakdown.

He also did what no other act had done this weekend - he got the crowd, even the ones all the way at the back, to put their hands up and dance to one of the many bangers he dropped.

While last Saturday's rock acts The Killers and Liam Gallagher eschewed the long runway from the stage, Lipa and Garrix made use of it to get close to the fans, with Garrix striding out to take a video with his cellphone.

The buoyant, youthful energy of Lipa and Garrix was exactly the shot in the arm the Singapore Grand Prix concert line-up needed this year.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 18, 2018, with the headline 'Creating magic on stage'. Print Edition | Subscribe