SINGfest 2008

SINGfest 2008

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FRcGzPA2d74

Alicia Keys’s encore

SINGfest is like the Bonnaroo of the Eastern world, except that it doesn’t last four days the way Bonnaroo does and there is no camping on the festival grounds. And no Kayne West to boo either. OK, so maybe it’s really more of a mini-Bonnaroo. But whatever — it was AMAZING.

Never mind that I ate nothing all day but had a bit of beer instead. Never mind that I was melting in the merciless sun. Never mind that I’m now sunburnt from standing in the merciless sun to watch Stacie Orrico and OneRepublic. Never mind that I endured hours of waiting around and being very rudely shoved about by drunk and much taller people who were trying to get a better view and found it convenient to plant themselves in front of me because I’m three feet tall in comparison.

The show was opened by an all-growed-up Stacie Orrico, whose short black hair she sported when she first arrived on the music scene has now been replaced by long dirty-blond hair. She must have been silently cursing the Singaporean weather (all the acts probably were) because it made her face run, but her strapless dress miraculously stayed on and she only had to hike it up once in the midst of all her dancing and jumping around. The one thing I feel sorry for them for is the fact that their voices are so unaccustomed to this kind of insane climate that they get worn out easily, and she was clearly getting tired not long into her act.

Jamie Scott was nothing to shout about. It was a good opportunity to sit down for a bit and fan myself violently.

When OneRepublic came out after Jamie Scott, Ryan Tedder said they were at the MTV Asia Awards in Genting Highlands on Saturday night, and they loved it there: “My God, we gotta go back there!” I suspect they were disillusioned by the climate in Genting, which probably reminded them of fall or spring back in the U.S. But oh, the man can sing! He hit every single high note and more; he made what took me years — and a stint in the Royal Pitches — to perfect sound like he’d been born — literally — to do it.

I think I was one of the very few who sat down — again fanning ferociously — during Panic at the Disco’s act.

The only thing about Jason Mraz’s performance that took the wind out of my sails was the fact that he didn’t sing You and I Both, which was the song that made me like him in the first place. The eyes and faces he made while singing were adorable, though, and the boy does very well with the limericks.

I’m not quite sure what the purpose of the Levi’s 501 Fashion Show was, except to give me one last chance to sit down before the last leg of the show. Granted the male models had very nice faces and the female models were stick-thin enough, but for the most part they looked like they were just walking around the stage in their denim and not really knowing what else to do.

One of the most amusing things about Rick Astley’s performance was that the audience sitting down for it was either too young or too Chinafied to know who Rick Astley was. The man has aged considerably, and considerably well, given the number of undergarments thrown at him by the audience. And the poor man knew to acknowledge the heat in his black suit and tie.

The Pussycat Dolls were probably the biggest disappointment of the show. Admittedly I’m not a fan of Jamie Scott and Panic at the Disco, but even then their fans were totally into their acts. When the Pussycat Dolls performed, though, the audience seemed almost deadpan — either because their performance really wasn’t all that inspiring, or because everyone was just too mesmerized by them to do anything except gape and gawk. Nicole Scherzinger was the only one who could hold her notes decently; if everyone else sang for their dinner they would have died of starvation by now, they’re that bad live. But I suppose one can only expect so much from a group whose background is in burlesque dancing.

And YAY ALICIA KEYS! She was the star of the show, with the best and longest act of the entire day. She’s one of the few who sounds better live than on a record because she’s completely uninhibited onstage. She was so good I forgot that she didn’t sing If I Ain’t Got You until it was mentioned after the show. All my consternation of having missed opportunities to watch her perform in the U.S. was washed away last night.

With a lineup like this for this year’s festival, it only makes me wonder how much better it can get for next year. Hopes have been voiced to me for John Mayer and U2, although if the latter were to perform I might consider forgoing it, for fear of asphyxiating during their act.

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