GD&Top Singapore F1 Friday concert

Singapore: Day 5 – Chinatown, F1 Friday (Charice, Seungri and GD&TOP concerts)

Date: September 23rd, 2011

Here we go, my F1 weekend begins! Oh wait… I had to shift hostels first.

I really enjoyed my stay at WoW hostel, and today I had second thoughts of checking out and moving to the other location I had chosen (to be much closer to the F1 circuit). But since it was too late to cancel the other reservation, I collected my deposit and they wished me well. I told them I would definitely stay at WoW Hostel again, if I were to return to Singapore. (I seriously would, I really liked the place!)

Pedestrian overbridge New Bridge road Singapore
I took the MRT and got off at Clarke Quay station, which is housed under Central Mall
New Bridge road Clarke Quay Singapore
New Bridge Road, Clarke Quay is walking distance from here
Central Mall Clarke Quay Singapore mobile photo
Crossed over to the other side
Central Shopping Mall office building Singapore panorama
Central Mall is pretty huge
Hong Kong street Singapore
The hostel I needed to get to was on this street
Hong Kong street hostels Singapore CBD
Quite a few other hostels in the area (The above were all taken on my phone)
Rucksack Inn River City hostel stairs building entrance
I arrived at the building which houses River City Inn… and I had been warned it’s a few flight of stairs up
Stairs to Rucksack Inn River City Inn Singapore
You pass another hostel – Rucksack Inn, which is very popular
Rucksack Inn hostel walls Singapore
Above Rucksack Inn, on the 4th floor, is where River City Inn is located

I was tired! The staff at River City Inn greeted me with a glass of water (I’m sure it’s a common gesture now, with each guest appearing tired upon first arrival). Footwear must be kept outside, which I did, and I then entered the hostel to check in. First impressions? Very nice! Looked new, clean and well maintained. I had reserved a single bed in the 24-bed mixed dorm room, which cost SG$32 (Rs. 1,261/$25/€19) a night.Yes, it cost way more than WoW Hostel, but you’re paying the location.

Other than that, the hostel looked nice and it was the usual facilities. Complimentary breakfast and wi-fi, two desktop machines in the ‘living room,’ a decent kitchen with all the requisite quick-meal facilities, a large screen TV, XBOX 360 — and pretty much all the furniture is IKEA! πŸ™‚

I would have shown you photographs of the interiors but the staff told me they didn’t allow anyone to take photos of the hostel. Oh well.

River City Inn Rucksack hostel building Singapore
The yellow building on the right is where River City & Rucksack Inn are housed
City Backpackers hostel Clarke Quay Singapore
Bang opposite is another hostel — City Backpackers
City centre backpackers hostel Singapore
Another one
Central shopping mall Singapore
Given you have a large shopping mall and an MRT station a short walk away, the location isn’t bad at all
Gamehaven building Singapore
Went around the block
Rucksack Inn 2 Hongkong street Singapore
Rucksack Inn has another branch in another lane

Team Exotic street racing car Civic SingaporeRestaurants clubs Hong Kong street Singapore

Pavement South Bridge road Singapore
I was on my way to the Gate 4 entrance of the F1 circuit
Clarke Quay South Bridge road Singapore
Cross the road and you get to Boat Quay, in just 5 minutes from the hostel

South Bridge Singapore afternoon

Singapore river Clarke Quay afternoon
Down the river is Clarke Quay
Singapore river cruise boat afternoon
One of the River Cruise boats

Clarke Quay underpass Singapore

Singapore parliament road
Passed by the Singapore parliament

Singapore Rolls Royce Phantom black

Singapore school girls walking cbd
I walked towards the Gate 4 entrance, which was a right turn from up ahead
Queue Gate 4 Singapore GP Friday afternoon
It was only 2pm, and gates weren’t going to open until 3… so I sat and waited
Friday queue Singapore F1 gate 4 entrance
There was a reason why the queue was this long an hour before the gates opened
St. Andrews cathedral Singapore lawn
I patiently waited

At 3pm, the gates opened and people were slowly allowed in. First a security check. They saw my bag full of camera equipment and the staff asked me whether I was ‘Press’ — I said ‘no’. They still requested that I go up to the Press registration counter and sign a declaration saying I will not sell these photographs, to which I replied “sure”.

Once past the security check, I quickened my pace of walking. So did everybody else. Then as soon as I reached the Padang grounds, I ran — and so did the others!

Singapore F1 concert stage friday Padang grounds
You see, the reason why so many of us queued up so early is because they were handing out FanZone wristbands, so that we could get inside an enclosed section much closer to the main stage
Padang lawn Friday afternoon Singapore GP
Luckily I managed to get mine, and so did the others who queued early — most of whom were VIPs* (I’ll explain later, they’re not *really* important people)
Padang grounds Singapore gp Friday
Phew, well worth coming early for — but now I needed to grab something to eat
Singapore F1 Friday Padang tents
I tried looking for the ‘Press’ tent, but couldn’t find it. Honestly, I wasn’t even too bothered to look for it, I wasn’t going to sell these images. Heck, I’m writing about a September 2011 event in January 2012!
Padang stage Singapore F1 Swissotel Stamford tower
It was past 3pm and I hadn’t eaten yet
Singapore GP Padang grounds way out
I went in search of food
The Cenotaph war memorial Singapore
The Cenotaph War Memorial
Hawker food stalls Singapore F1 grounds
Ahhh, food!
Shawarma doner kebab Singapore F1 food stall
Ahhh, shawarma!

It’s expected food and beverages inside such events were going to be pricey but what to do, I was hungry. So I paid the SG$10 (Rs. 390/$7/€6) for the rollΒ  — the most I ever paid for a shawarma in my life, ha ha! (I grew up in the Middle East, so I’m used to having paid only a tenth of that)

Official F1 merchandise stalls Singapore Grand Prix
Checked out the booths
Official merchandise Fanvision stall Singapore GP
Plenty of official merchandise on sale
Singtel booth Singapore GP
SingTel is the title sponsor of the Singapore F1, so they had a massive booth

Esplanade park way to Theatres by the bay Singapore

dbl 0 bar stall Singapore gp
Make-shift lounge bars

Singtel Singapore F1 Padang tree

Tan Kim Seng fountain Padang Singapore
Tan Kim Seng fountain

Esplanade Theatres by the Bay parkEsplanade park Singapore gpEsplanade drive theatres underpass bridge Singapore

Esplanade drive bridge Marina Bay Sands
You can walk under this bridge to get to the Theatres by the Bay
Esplanade Drive Singapore
Esplanade Drive is a part of the F1 track — and thus closed from public use for an entire week
Classic Alfa Romeo drivers parade cars Singapore F1
On display were the classic cars the Formula 1 race drivers were going to be driven around the circuit for the Drivers Parade before Sunday’s race
Classic Mercedes drivers parade cars display Singapore GP
Very classy line-up
Classic Triumph car display Singapore Grand Prix
They mention which car is assigned to which driver

F1 Drivers Parade classic cars display Singapore

Singapore gp zone 4 photographers platform F1 Friday
Ah, my people
Singapore GP BMW safety car F1 Friday
It was nearing 4:30pm, the Porsche Cup Asia practice session was about to start
Maybank UOB Capitaland hq buildings Singapore
I took out my 70-200mm zoom lens
BMW safety car start of Friday race Singapore F1
The safety cars were doing the rounds
Photographers F1 Friday zone 4 Singapore gp
The cameras were ready as the sound of the car engines grew louder
Porsche Carrera cup Asia practice session Friday Singapore
Here they come!

Singapore grand prix Porsche cup race fridayPorsche Carrera cup Asia practice Friday Singapore grand prix

Porsche Carrera cup Asia practice Friday Singapore F1
I decided to walk to another viewing point
Porsche Carrera Cup practice lap Fullerton Hotel Friday Singapore gp
Mind you, I was still behind barricades. You can’t simply walk closer to the circuit.

Porsche Carrera cup practice lap crew Friday Singapore gp

Singapore gp security briefing panorama
I had enough of cars zipping past, so I moved on

Singapore pillar Esplanade park

Asian civilizations museum gate 5 exit Singapore gp
I exited the circuit area
Walking out of F1 circuit Singapore
I was going to meet my friend Aimee now

Singapore river pedestrian bridgeStraits Publishing building SingaporeBoat Quay Friday afternoon SingaporeBoat Quay greenery singaporeBoat Quay bird statue sculpture SingaporeBoat Quay schoolgirl studying Singapore

Steps Uob building lobby Singapore
I waited for Aimee at the UOB building
Singapore blue sky cloud UOB building
Remarkably, I got sunshine today!

United Overseas Bank UOB building lobby Singapore

Aimee Marie cheek Singapore
After catching up with Aimee, a visit to the ATM
Society bar CBD Singapore
We set off on our walk
Great Eastern building Singapore
Great Eastern building
Walking to Chinatown Singapore
Aimee was going to take me to Chinatown

Towards Chinatown Singapore

Indian temple Pagoda street Chinatown Singapore
Even in Chinatown, there’s an Indian temple and a mosque

Blue building Chinatown SingaporeSmith St Chinatown food street Singapore

Chinatown food street Singapore
Chinatown food street
Chinatown classic architecture old buildings Singapore
Like Little India, and Kampong Glam, Chinatown has its share of retro architecture
Buddha Tooth Relic temple Singapore Chinatown
Aimee took me to this temple, the most famous in Chinatown it seems
Buddha tooth relic temple entrance Singapore
The name of this temple? Buddha Tooth Relic temple
Aimee Marie buddha tooth relic temple door Singapore
Seemed like a nice place to take photos of Aimee

Buddha tooth relic temple front entrance Singapore

Aimee Marie Buddha tooth relic temple incense Singapore
There is a dress code, so they give shawls at the entrance to cover up

Buddha tooth relic temple prayer hall candle glasses Singapore

Buddha Tooth Relic temple main prayer hall Singapore Chinatown
Inside, it was rather impressive
Buddha tooth relic temple prayer hall god Singapore
Go read up on the ‘Sacred Relic of the tooth of Buddha’ — it’s quite an interesting story
Buddha Tooth Relic temple prayer hall Buddha wall Singapore
Very impressive design
Buddha tooth relic temple prayer hall Singapore
This temple is in fact a newly built one, opened only in 2007

Buddha figurine tooth relic temple SingaporeBuddha tooth relic temple prayer hall god statuettes SingaporeBuddha tooth relic temple hall door Aimee SingaporeBuddha tooth relic temple back prayer hall SingaporeBuddha tooth relic temple small prayer hall SingaporeBuddha tooth relic temple idol statue SingaporeBuddha tooth relic temple wall figurines SingaporeBuddha figurine tooth relic wall design Singapore

Buddha teeth relic temple back exit Singapore
We left the temple

Chinatown hall Singapore

Chinatown market stalls Singapore
Aime and I then walked through the Chinatown bazaar

Chinatown stalls market Singapore

Chinatown market Singapore
We had the urge to have some ice cream — bread ice cream in particular

Chinatown market classic buildings painted SingaporeChinatown pillars glass roof SingaporeYellow building Chinatown Singapore

Water chestnut juice vendor Singapore
Couldn’t get the kind of ice cream we were looking for, so we just had juice. I chose water chestnut – because it sounded weird, and I never had it before. It tasted okay though.

Aimee and I took the bus back to Central mall, as I wanted to reduce the weight of my camera bag by offloading equipment I didn’t need.

Aimee Marie freezing Singapore bus
It was very cold inside the bus
Bridge road evening traffic Singapore
Even though the distance wasn’t much, I experienced Singapore evening traffic today. It took some time to cover around a kilometre distance.

After giving our feet some rest at the hostel, we headed towards Boat Quay.

Boat quay inner road evening Singapore
It was 7:30pm

Boat quay back alley night Singapore

Boat quay friday night restaurants Singapore
It was Friday night
Boat quay friday night crowds bars Singapore
The bankers and officer goers of Marina Bay were all out filling up the bars and eateries
Singapore river at night boat quay
We sat by boat quay
Mithun Divakaran Singapore river boat quay
Look, Mithun!
Bread ice cream vendor Boat Quay Singapore river
And we finally got bread ice cream!
Bread ice cream boat quay Singapore
I had durian flavoured ice cream
Aimee Mariee bread ice cream boat quay Singapore
Boat quay pier Singapore at night
Kids jumping in?
Boat quay pier boys jumping into river statue Singapore
Not really
Fullerton hotel Singapore river bridge at night
I still had some time before I needed to get back inside
Aimee Marie peace sign Singapore
So we goofed off in front of the camera

Mithun Divakaran Fullerton hotel SingaporeAimee Marie fists Singapore

Aimee Marie Singapore skyline at night
One final shot against the backdrop of Singapore’s famous skyline

Aimee and I said our goodbyes as she had to go meet her fiance and I had to head back to the Padang grounds.

Gate 5 tunnel underpass Singapore F1
I went back to the circuit

Pedestrian tunnel Singapore

JK Racing practice Friday night race Singapore F1 Fullerton
The JK Racing practice session was going on
JK Racing Friday practice lap Singapore GP
Nothing exciting, until…
JK Racing car crash Singapore grand prix
… this guy crashed!
Singapore gp racing crash F1 circuit
Didn’t see the others cars race past until this car was lifted off the circuit and all the debris cleared
Singapore gp food court crowds Friday
I walked past the many hungry attendees
Singapore F1 concert Padang grounds Friday
The concerts on the main stage were about to begin, and lot of people had already gathered
Singapore F1 crash on screen
But since I already collected my FanZone band, I could walk straight up close to the stage!
Charice band playing Singapore F1
As the noise from the JK Racing series subsided, a band began to play
Cameras recording Charice concert Singapore F1
Who was it for?
Charice stage Singapore F1 Friday concert
Philippine songstress Charice!
Charice singing Singapore F1 Friday concert
The many Filipinos in attendance surely showed the Glee-star some love
Charice singing Singapore F1 concert
She belted out her hits “Pyramid” and “One Day,” and even sang her (then) upcoming new single “Louder”

Charice eyes closed Singapore F1 Friday concertCharice on stage Singapore F1 Friday concertCharice jumbotron screen Singapore F1

Charice band dancing dougie Singapore F1 concert
Charice and her band even took a dance break to do the “Dougie”
Charice performing on stage Singapore F1 Friday concert
Charice also sang covers of other popular hits like Jessie J’s “Price Tag”
Charice powerful singing Singapore F1 Friday circuit
She maybe pint-sized, but her voice packs in quite a punch!
Charice on stage Singapore F1 circuit
Amazing singer — and a good show by her!
Singapore grand prix Friday race Jumbotron
After Charice’s performance, the Friday practice lap took place

Marina Bay Sands night sky light ray Singapore

GD&Top concert crowd Singapore F1
Plenty of fangirls (VIPs* mostly) were awaiting the main acts for Friday’s concert. I didn’t go too close to the stage as many had already stuffed themselves as close as possible and I didn’t want to be in the midst of girls screaming their lungs out. Trust me, it’s not fun!
Stage rig lights Singapore F1 concert
The lights were ready
GD&Top balloons Singapore grand prix concert
The balloons were ready
GD Top fan sign Singapore concert
The fans… you get the idea
YG Entertainment DJ GD&TOP Seungri concert warmup Singapore F1
A DJ came on and began spinning some hip-hop jams, and then some 2NE1 — so we knew it was YG** time!

Past 11pm, the lights dimmed and the DJ introduced the first BIG BANG member to hit the stage…

Seungri dancers Singapore F1 Friday concert
… and VIPs screamed as loud as they could when Seungri hit the stage!
Seungri Big Bang performing Singapore concert
Seungri kicked off his performance with “VVIP,” from his debut EP of the same name
Seungri singing Singapore F1 concert
Seungri obviously didn’t have too much material as his solo effort had just came out earlier in the year
Seungri perfomance Singapore gp concert
But he still performed his best

Seungri logo on screen Singapore F1 concertSeungri performing in Singapore F1 concert

Seungri back up dancers performing Singapore F1 concert
Seungri ended his brief set with his big solo hit “What Can I Do”
Seungri sweating Singapore concert F1 Friday
Imagine dressed up in a suit and dancing under the stage lights in Singapore humidity!
Seungri funny face Singapore F1 concert
Feel free to caption this. Only thing I could think of was “Pew, pew.”
Seungri VIP crown light Big Bang Singapore F1 concert
We were well warmed up for the next act!

And when those two other boys from BIG BANG hit the stage — oh man, the screams!

GD&TOP kpop concert F1 Friday Singapore GP
GD & TOP leaped on to the stage and began their set with “Intro,” the first song on their album
GD & Top korean pop Singapore F1 concert
For those who don’t know: G-Dragon (Left) and T.O.P (Right) are two popular members of the hugely successful K-pop boyband BIG BANG, and as the sub-unit GD & TOP, released an impressive album in late 2010.
T.O.P Big Bang member Singapore Formula 1 concert
T.O.P, the really good looking member of BIG BANG
G-Dragon Singapore F1 concert
G-Dragon, the talented song writer and composer of BIG BANG — and one of the richest idols in S. Korea!
GD and T.O.P dancers Singapore concert F1 Friday
For all his hip-hop swagger, I couldn’t help but laugh when G-Dragon would speak to the crowd in his limited English by saying something like “… you want to make crazy?!” πŸ˜€
T.O.P Big Bang member formula 1 concert Singapore
T.O.P on the other hand wasn’t too hyperactive
G-Dragon YG dancers Singapore F1 concert
They performed other great songs from their album like “Knock Out” and “Oh Yeah”

GD & Top performing Singapore F1 concertGD and Top VIP crown Big Bang Singapore concertG Dragon Big Bang leader Singapore GP concert

G-Dragon T.O.P Big Bang Singapore Formula 1 concert
The boys spoke to the audience briefly before ending their set with everybody’s favourite “High, High”!
G-Dragon T.O.P Singapore concert formula one
Eventually a sweaty G-Dragon took off his overcoat and sunglasses
Seungri T.O.P Big Bang members Singapore F1 concert
Seungri then joined his group mates to close out the show with (what I believe) was a Big Bang song

Given what a tumultuous year 2011 was for Big Bang – with Daesung’s involvement in the rather unfortunate car accidentΒ  and G-Dragon’s drug ‘scandal’ – it was still quite a thrill for me that I got to see 3/5th of Big Bang. If only Taeyang could have been there as well, because the K-pop concert only lasted around 45 minutes in length — Seungri and GD&TOP’s performances included.

Oh well, in some ways I was glad it was over — I was completely drenched in sweat! I was so hot, and my arms were aching as I struggled to hold my heavy Canon 7D with the even heavier 70-200mm lens mounted. I took photos the best I could.

I also managed to record some video but if you plan on watching it, I suggest you turn down the volume…

The bass was just too damn loud! I wasn’t even that close to the stage or the speakers, but even from where I was standing, my rib cage was trembling with every thump! I looked up YouTube for other fancams and most of them weren’t any better.

Clarke Quay at night river bridge Singapore
I left the Padang grounds and walked back to the hostel
MICA building at night window colours Singapore
It was well past midnight

Clarke quay Singapore river at nightI initially thought about reading a fan account of the K-pop concert but my body was just so damn tired after the long walks today and the heat at the concert. I had dinner,Β took a nice bath and just laid in bed.

And to think this was just the first day of the F1 weekend!

*VIPs are what BIG BANG fans call themselves

**YG Entertainment is the company BIG BANG is under

Next post in this series:

Singapore 2011: Day 6 – F1 Saturday (Rick Astley, Shakira and Shaggy concerts)

Singapore 2011: Day 7 – Little India, F1 Sunday race, Linkin Park concert and Avalon Club

Leaving Singapore, and discovering certain truths about this famous city state

Previous posts in this series:

Singapore 2011: Day 4 – Marina Bay Sands Casino and views from the SkyPark observation deck

Singapore 2011: Day 3 – Bukit Timah and Singapore Botanic Gardens

Singapore 2011: Day 2 – Jurong Bird Park and… *ouch!*

Singapore 2011: Day 1 – Landing a second time; walking around CBD

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