It’s been a month but my ears are still ringing from the roaring F1 engines as they sped through Singapore’s night F1 Grand Prix circuit, the epic performances by legendary Queen and Adam Lambert, Imagine Dragons, Bastille, and Halsey, and raucous nights partying at the Podium Lounge. Although most of the fanfare has always been reserved for the cars, the speed demons behind the pedal and the race queens the entertainment itself deserves center stage. This year a different Queen was in spotlight. Anthemic stadium rock veterans, Brian May and Rodger Taylor laid down all the indispensable favourites, taking up a better part of the night and morning. The city was in the grips of the haunting melodies of “The Show Must Go On”, “Seven Seas of Rhye”, amongst other memorable tunes that reverberated off the walls of every building in the Marina bay area, building up a haunting soundstage that evoked (and quite possibly invoked as well) the presence of Freddie Mercury himself.
Brian May’s signature “red special” guitar and the Wall of Vox amps – a legendary combination that underpinned all compositions by the band since their inception in the 1970s – brought life to the stage at the Padang and beyond. The crowds, young and old, thronged together as one in a mess of sweaty flesh, dancing when spaces opened up between people, singing in sync on another when there was none. The sense of unity between generations a good 30 or more years apart stood as a testament to the confluence of musical talents embodied by the Queen brand name.
Generally thought to be a young upstart, Adam Lambert proved that he had enough swagger to front the band if not the same distinctive vocals that classic Queen is known for. An admirable performance, took the crew through a marathon 23 songs and the UK anthem, ” God Save the Queen”, to the delight of old and new fans alike. The depth and commanding power in Mr. Mercury’s vocals was, at one point, conjured up digitally on the colossal screens – where as a sign of deference, Adam Lambert made himself scarce.
There was no holding down Halsey as she surged onto the stage on the second day. The queen of Badlands, laid on the attitude, unreachable strut and sex appeal from the get go, belting out favourites like “Ghost” and “Gasoline”, although “New Americana” was sorely missed. Although, frequently described as an angry feminist with a disposition made from a molotov cocktail of piss, vinegar and metal shavings, there were no lack of male fans in the crowd. It was evident from the audience reaching out, hands outstretched that this new rising star is one pussy cat that can incite riots.
Imagine Dragons was the real crowd pleaser of the 3rd night. Dan Reynolds and gang really knew how to work up the fans in the pits. The performance was emotionally charged and the man’s stamina held up the entire show. Dan is the consummate performer and one of the rare breed of frontman that has the ability to connect with the crowd as opposed to standing above the masses like a (rock) God.
The 50,000 strong army of concert goers responded with wild screams when so much as an inkling that hits such as “It’s Time”, “Demons” and “I Bet My Life” were going to be played next. The raw lyrics touched the hearts of those in the audience and Dan sang it with such nuance and humility that it sounded like a very genuine and agonising appeal to those in front of him. With cries of “Now don’t you understand / That I’m never changing who I am”, they identified themselves with a generation seeking identity, and in the process building up a stable following.
From running like men possessed, banging on drums, teasing out inspired guitar solos and banging shaggy heads, the pace of the performance was at fever pitch and the energy levels never let up. The Las Vegas Foursome knew that they were the grand finale and gave it all they had.
With one more party to go, the music at the Podium Lounge and Amber Lounge was just starting to get underway. The much-lauded after parties see international and regional celebrities rub shoulders with the F1 drivers and local crowd. Spread over 3 nights, the celebrations were kicked off on Friday by British Superstars Me & Mrs Jones, with pop sensation Sophie Ellis-Bextor on vocals and Richard Jones spinning on the decks. S
Saturday night’s party was helmed by Mark Doyle (the creator of HED KANDI) and the Fierce Angel Collective, while Grammy Award winning singer Estelle held the fort on Race Day, Sunday. Returning for several years in a row the gyrations of the stage dancers and their 4 foot “ring master” kept me enthralled as the danced silhouetted against the purple spotlights.
For more information on the events during the Singapore F1 GP 2016, click here.
Information on the DJ lineup at the Poodium Lounge Singapore 2016, can be found here.
Whet your appetite on the roundup of this year’s revels but, don’t miss out on 2017’s outing if you can!