Event: Singapore Social/Social Star Concerts Day 1 featuring BLUSH, Carly Rae Jepsen, PSY & Cee Lo Green
Turn-out: Approximately 8,000
To say that BLUSH is the female equivalent of One Direction or the successor of the Pussycat Dolls is truly an understatement.
The sexily-clad yet sufficiently-covered girls, all of whom hail from five different Asian countries, showcased their talent to 8,000 concert-goers at Gardens by the Bay in Singapore, as part of the first day of the Singapore Social concerts. Angeli Flores from the Philippines, Alisha Budhrani from India, Ji Hae Lee from South Korea, Natsuko ‘Nacho’ Danjo from Japan and Victoria Chan from China kicked off the four-hour concert series with “Miss Out”, which definitely got the crowd pumped up. Their perfectly choreographed dance moves and strong ensemble vocals started off the night with a bang.
Just a little information about Blush – they are a Pan-Asian girl group that was formed in 2010 after a talent search in five Asian countries – the Philippines, China, India, Japan and South Korea. So far, in their short career, they have already shared the stage with big-name artists such as Jessie J, B.o.B, the Black Eyed Peas and The Wanted. They also collaborated with rapper Snoop Dogg (AKA Snoop Lion) on a track titled “Undivided” which made it to #3 on the US Billboard Dance Charts. “Dance On” peaked at #1 on the US Billboard Dance Charts, making them the first Asian act to enter the Top 3 on a major US Billboard chart! Their song “Up, Up, and Away” was featured on the season 2 soundtrack of hit Disney Channel sitcom ‘Shake It Up’.
- "Miss Out"
- "Dance On"
- "Sweetly Leave Me"
- "All Stars"
Things definitely got crazier at the concert when Canadian pop sensation Carly Rae Jepsen walked onto the stage and kicked off her hour-long set with “This Kiss”, her third single from her sophomore album Kiss. While she wowed fans with some of her top pop hits like “Curiosity” and “Tonight I’m Getting Over You”, the 27 year old singer also took things slow with pop ballads like “Your Heart Is A Muscle”.
Although Carly’s voice was powerful (it felt powerful live at the venue but when I went back and watched it on Youtube, it sounded like the music was overpowering her voice) and she managed to stay in pitch for the most part of the show (a feat most artists are unable to achieve), her voice was quite nasal and she seemed to be trying too hard to reproduce the ‘child-like’ voice we hear on most of her songs in studio recordings. I still love her nonetheless.
One of the highlights of Carly’s concert was when she performed her new song “Take A Picture”. Before starting the song, she told the audience to “point your cameras and tweet your pictures, I’ll retweet them later tonight”, resulting in excited murmuring and cheers from her fans. She also took a picture of the crowd and posted it on Instagram. Indeed, social media was at its peak during the Singapore Social concerts with Carly Rae Jepsen. “Take A Picture” is an upbeat summer song that Carly wrote in honour of her favourite things about summer. Well, she should love Singapore’s all year round summer then, shouldn’t she?
And of course, a Carly Rae Jepsen gig would definitely not be complete without the one song that propelled her into the public spotlight: “Call Me Maybe”. The song was a phenomenal hit, spending nine consecutive weeks at the #1 spot on the US Billboard Hot 100 music charts and also on most music charts all around the globe, making her the first female Canadian artist to hit #1 on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart in 5 years. She started off the song with a small introduction verse and most fans didn’t recognise the song until she sang the chorus, to which they responded with wild cheers and hoots.
Ending her showcase with “Call Me Maybe”, she actively interacted with the audience who sang along to the song which most of them would have heard on the radio 24/7. It was indeed an amazing show and Carly seems to love Singapore a lot – Singaporean Jepsies can definitely count on seeing Carly in Singapore again in the near future!
As if the party vibe wasn’t already high enough, PSY took the audience’s energy to the next level when he appeared onstage all by his lonesome without any music – just the loud cheering from his fans. “Can you turn on the lights to the audience?” he asked, signalling to the tech crew. His mouth formed an ‘O’ shape as he took in the sight of the 8,000-strong crowd right in front of his very eyes as he scanned the arena.
“Take a lot of pictures, take a lot of videos, take whatever you want, you can use me in whatever way,” he told the audience, earning many laughs, mostly from the mature audience if you get what I mean.
He taught the audience the chorus of his first song, “Champion”, which was released more than a decade ago. The song’s instrumental is adapted from “Axel F”, which is, in my opinion, one of the best tunes ever created. After “Champion”, he performed another song that was released before he gained worldwide fame – “It’s Art”. Despite not knowing the songs or understanding Korean, the crowd danced along to the upbeat dance tracks all the same and cheered Psy, who was born Park Jae-sang, on as he broke out his dance moves.
After a long wait, the moment fans had been waiting for had finally come – the second official performance of “Gentleman”.
“For all of you in Singapore – this song is for you. I’m a mother, father, gentleman,” Psy said with a knowing smile on his face as the audience broke out into hysteric cheers with the last three words.
It’s truly an honour to know that the first two official performances of “Gentleman” were held in Singapore. Psy officially performed “Gentleman” for the first time the night before at the inaugural Social Star Awards 2013 at the Mastercard Theatre in Marina Bay Sands.
The lyrics of the song were translated into English on the screen next to the main stage and it was interesting to know what the song actually meant. I had no idea the lyrics were that sleazy! Sleazy dance moves, sleazy lyrics, catchy tunes… I never liked that sort of music until Psy came along. Believe me when I say that he has a knack for turning every sin into something beautiful, because he does. This, ladies and gentleman, is the true meaning of ‘sinfully good’.
Of course, the party didn’t stop there. “You don’t know a single word of my lyrics and you don’t get anything, but you look so happy. This is the beauty of music, isn’t it?” the singer, who has lost an incredible amount of weight from all the vigorous dancing he has done at shows.
“Last year in May, I was in Singapore as a tourist. One year later, I’m in Singapore as an artist,” Psy said incredulously, looking back at the crazy journey he’s had the past ten months. “This song is the reason why I can be an artist here in Singapore,” he said, introducing his last song of the night. Before starting the song, Psy took the opportunity to announce that he would be releasing his debut album in September 2013.
As soon as the first bar of “Gangnam Style” played, the crowd erupted into delirium as they sang along to the song in spite of the fact that the lyrics were in Korean and a good 95% of the audience did not understand the language. The signature horse dance and lassoing was contagious as a majority of the audience mimicked the dance moves and partied during the three-and-a-half-minute-long track. Unfortunately, all good things have to come to an end and Psy’s gig ended right after the ubiquitous song.
The K-Pop singer’s stage presence could be felt from all ends of the venue – no matter where you were, be it in the front row or sitting on the grassy slopes of the quasi-hill at the back of the arena, you could feel Psy’s energy building up within you. Psy is a truly talented performer and he definitely knows the ins and outs of the music business. I don’t know why it took him over a decade to achieve mainstream success but I’m glad he finally did, despite all the controversy surrounding him and his music.
- "It's Art"
- "Gangnam Style"
The final act of the night was none other than five-time Grammy Award winner Cee Lo Green. Cee Lo began his show with “Bright Lights Bigger City” and also performed hits like “Champagne”, “Crazy” and of course, “F*** You”, which is one of his most popular singles to date.
The 38 year old, who is also a judge on The Voice, definitely showed the fans in Singapore why he deserved those five Grammy Awards – he has a versatile & unique voice and his songs are sans excessive auto-tune. Not that he needs auto-tune, of course. Unfortunately, I didn’t stay around for the entire show as it was late but if Cee Lo brought the house down with just the first three songs I heard, I can’t fathom how crazy it must have been at the end of the show!
If stars came out at night, when do superstars come out? At the Social Star concerts and awards show in Singapore, of course!
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