The Wanted

Venue: Max Pavilion, Singapore Expo, Singapore
Date: 16th September 2012
Promoter: Universal Music Singapore
Review by: Andy T.
Special Thanks: Universal Music Singapore team

The emergence of boybands such as The Wanted and One Direction over the past two years has had the media proclaiming the resurgence of the heyday of boybands in the 90’s. Of course, they are more slickly packaged and better produced these days.

There has always been a stigma attached to actually enjoying songs by boybands back in the day, with criticism ranging from being cheesy, overly produced, and even manufactured. However, nobody can deny how well crafted some of their songs are. The tag of being a boyband song doesn’t take away how some of these songs are just perfectly crafted pop songs. Anyone can just look at tunes such as Backstreet Boys’ “I Want It That Way” or N’Sync’s “This I Promise You” and try to put-down these simply great pop songs, be it sung by a boyband or some other critically acclaimed artists. Back in the 90’s, admitting that you like a boyband song was a sure killer of your street cred!

But with the emergence of these new boybands, it might be finally okay to like them openly and no longer serve as a guilty pleasure. Judging by the crowd at this concert, other than the predominantly teenage girls, there were surprisingly quite a few groups of young guys who were thoroughly enjoying the music. Their shouts and enthusiasm doesn’t pale in comparison to the screams and antics of the normal teenage girls demographic of boybands. I even spotted a couple totally going crazy, jumping up & down on the chairs, throughout the whole concert. There were also a surprising number of parents who brought their kids along to the show.

It was thus, quite a waste that the venue wasn’t filled at all when the concert started. Large areas with seats were condoned off, and the standing zone was not completely occupied. However, the amount of noise generated by the audience of over 3,000 fans when the group arrived on stage at 8.05pm certainly made up for it, and gave the impression that it was a packed show.

I have personally always disliked this venue, in which I find the acoustics are always muffled. Surprisingly, the sound was actually quite good this time round, compared to the last concert I attended here by Switchfoot in 2008. Kudos to the organizers for finally getting that all-important aspect right.

The Wanted only sang 12 songs, excluding a Coldplay medley of four songs. The whole concert was just a mere 75 minutes, which rivals the infamously short concert given by Maroon 5 a few years ago. In spite of its length, the concert was thoroughly entertaining. The boys in the band obviously were having a great time; they showed great energy, and interacted well with their fans. Most importantly, they sounded great, with each member having their chance to shine, highlighting their surprisingly good voices. That’s the main difference between these new boybands compared those of yesteryear such as N’Sync and Backstreet Boys, where only a one or two of the members (e.g. Justin Timberlake and JC Chasez of N’Sync) sang lead.

The group sang all of their biggest hits as well as three album tracks – “Invincible”, “Rocket”, and “Say It On The Radio”. With only two full-length albums to their names, as expected, they had to perform some cover songs. They did a very competent Coldplay medley of four songs halfway through the concert, and even tried their hands at playing instruments during this segment (keyboards, guitars). However, given the reaction of the audience, it was obvious they came to hear The Wanted’s songs, not Coldplay’s.

The audience was singing along to each and every one of their tracks, and the refrain of “Oh Oh Oh…..” in “Chasing The Sun” was practically built to be sung at a concert with a large crowd. They were equally adaptable in singing fast or slow songs, and it bodes well for the band that they co-wrote the soulful power ballad “Warzone”. I personally loved both their albums, and it is heartening to see them writing more songs in their second album. It is quite a mystery why The Wanted are so much less popular in the USA compared to One Direction. I am hoping they can mature along with the audience and one day shake off the tag of being a boyband, and develop into a truly well respected band, ala Take That.

They actually readily admitted they were a boyband and of course had to do the pre-requisites at any ‘proper’ boyband concerts. They serenaded an obviously shell-shocked girl whom they pulled from the audience during a heartfelt performance of the ballad, “Heart Vacancy”. She was hugging each of the members in turn throughout the whole song, and she looked like she was about to faint! Max George purposely changed his t-shirt during the concert, eliciting screams from their fans. They also took the chance to run into the audience whenever they could, and their banter throughout the concert was surprisingly sincere. The boys appear to be truly having fun, clowning around a bit on stage and taking verbal jibes at each other.

As anticipated, after 10 songs (excluding the Coldplay medley), they retreated from the stage and came back to an encore of just two songs. They first premiered a new song called “I Found You”, which featured the unexpectedly powerful voice of Nathan Sykes. As with each of their singles, this has the potential to be another huge hit given how catchy it was despite this being the first time I’ve heard it. Obviously the last song of the night had to be their biggest hit, “Glad You Came”. Who could escape the pure pop escapade of the opening few bars of “Glad You Came”? It ended on a perfect note, with everyone singing in unison. Too bad it ended way too quickly!

Looking at the crowd’s reaction after the concert, everyone seems to have enjoyed themselves tremendously despite the short duration. I, for one, am looking forward to their next concert and new album.

Lose My Mind
Heart Vacancy
Coldplay Medley
Say It On The Radio
Gold Forever
Chasing The Sun
All Time Low

I Found You
Glad You Came