Venue: Esplanade Outdoor Theatre Stage, Singapore
Date: 20th September 2013
Promoter: Singapore GP Pte Ltd
Review by: Farhana MK.
Special Thanks: The Singapore GP Pte. Ltd team
Photos by Alvin Ho: Big Bang | SGP 2013 Album
In between the two Formula One practice sessions on Friday, as always, the organizers of SingTel Formula One Singapore Grand Prix would constantly offer plenty of side entertainment during the “down” times. These are held all around the 5km long race track, and it is meant to compliment the three main acts that are due to perform at the bigger Padang Stage.
One of these acts includes British darling and newcomer, Laura Mvula, who performed at the Esplanade Outdoor Theatre Stage. The outdoor theatre offers a more intimate venue, which suits Laura and her music perfectly. Laura has just released her debut studio album titled “Sing to the Moon” which features the hit song “Green Garden”.
Despite having some technical glitches during the hour-long gig, Laura seemed unfazed by it and managed to engage the crowd to clap and sing along to her songs. Playing with a live band (a drum, cello, violin, bass and a harp) her powerful vocals mesmerized the packed theatre and earned a standing ovation. The crowd enjoyed it so much they requested for an encore, which she came back for to perform in all smiles.
The biggest act on Friday is non-other than Korean boy group Big Bang. The quintet comprises of leader G Dragon, TOP, Taeyang, Daesung, and Seungri. They set the tone for the weekend performance at Padang Stage with die-hard fans queuing from early in the morning just to get the best spot for the show. Before the real show began, fans were teased with the music video of their infectious hit “Fantastic Baby” that got everyone singing along to phrases like “Wow! Fantastic Baby!” and “Boom Shakalaka”.
Then, the real deal came out to kick off the show with “Tonight” and “Hands Up” before the introductions. One thing that sets Big Bang apart from the other Kpop acts is their effort in communicating with the crowd in English throughout the concert. While the majority of Kpop acts tend to either let their group member that has an English background to converse in English with other members conversing in Korean with a translator which I always feel dampens the crowd connection, Big Bang spoke entirely in English despite their limited vocabulary and grammatical errors that got the crowd in stitches. Regardless, this allows the crowd to connect with them, so a huge A+ for the effort in doing so. Taeyang even dabbled in his own self-penned rap about eating Singapore’s famous chili and pepper crab that got the crowd cheering in hysterics.
After deciding that they don’t exactly fare well in the talking department, Big Bang launched into their hit song “Fantastic Baby” that got everyone at the Padang Stage to rise to their feet and sing along. This is then followed with their older hits “How Gee” and “Stupid Liar”. Fans were then treated with a live mix of GD’s latest solo song “Crooked”, making it the first time the song has been performed outside of their hometown in Korea.
Up next, TOP joined in for their duo stage singing “Knock Out” and “High High” which came with their own choreography that the fans mimic and danced along to. TOP was clearly the ladies’ favourite of the night, earning the loudest screams whenever the camera zooms in on him. Hot on the heels is Seungri with his concert mix of his latest single “Gotta Talk To You” that got the crowd “hustling, hustling” to the chorus and “Strong Baby”. The quintet then is back on stage singing a combination of old and new hits that ended with “Last Farewell”. Clearly, the crowd was not entirely ready for a farewell just yet and chants of an encore were soon heard. That brought the boys out back for a round of “Crayon” and a remix of “Fantastic Baby” and “Bad Boy” again.
With a strong setlist which pretty much covered about 70% of their songs from their recently concluded Alive Tour with added bonus of fan services all throughout the gig, Big Bang clearly set the bar for the rest of the main Padang stage acts for the weekend and clearly left their ecstatic fans that queued from early morning satisfied. Hopefully, Friday’s extravagant performance would be enough to introduce Big Bang to the foreign Formula One fans that only knew Psy before.