Mithun Divakaran with Rick Astley Singapore F1

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

Date: September 24th, 2011

Today started real slow. Got up… I don’t know when, had breakfast at the hostel and just chatted with the other guests staying at River City Inn.

I only stepped out in the afternoon to meet up with my friend Aimee and her fiance for lunch. After much pondering, we sat down at a seafood restaurant on Boat Quay.

Alex Presto Aimee Marie boat quay lunch Singapore
Alex and Aimee
Alex Presto Aimee Marie boat quay restaurant
Don’t remember what the conversation was about
Haven lobster seafood restaurant Boat Quay Singapore
Haven Lobster & Seafood restaurant is where we sat
Mithun Divakaran spring rolls chopsticks Singapore
Feasting commenceth!

Mithun Divakaran Alex Presto Chinese lunch Singapore

Aimee Marie Alex Presto lunch Boat Quay Singapore
This was just the appetizer
Chinese chilli fish Boat quay Singapore
We had this fish next, which was alright
Singapore chilli crab Boat Quay seafood restaurant
I finally got to eat some Singapore chilli crab — pretty much the city state’s most famous dish
Singapore chilli crab after
Had it with some white rice. It was yum.

It was a nice lazy lunch as I was in no hurry to enter the F1 circuit and didn’t care much for collecting today’s Fanzone passes like I did yesterday. I felt relaxed with tummy full and sipping on chilled beer. Well, relaxed until the bill came. I knew the chilli crab was pricey but I was willing to pay for it beforehand. The fish you see above cost SG$88 (Rs. 3,400) — which we felt was a ripoff as it wasn’t even that tasty! It was the price we had to pay for making the mistake of not finding out the cost before ordering.

Alas, we paid our SG$300 (Rs. 11k/$240/€180) bill — the most expensive meal I’ve had on this trip so far.

Seafood restaurants Boat Quay Singapore afternoon
I wouldn’t rate where we ate as the best in terms of taste. I’m sure there must be better in Singapore, or even here at Boat Quay.
Alaskan king crab forum seafood Singapore restaurant
The Alaskan king crab — way, way more expensive than what I just ate
Mud crabs Alaskan aquarium Boat Quay Singapore
Plenty of seafood available here — but given the location, expect to pay way more than inner Singapore

Victorian London Pub Penny Black boat quay SingaporeI parted ways with Aimee and her fiance, and made my way in to the F1 circuit.

Singapore parkour boys practicing
Some boys were doing a bit of parkour practice
Singapore boys parkour jumps Marina Bay
I wonder if these guys come here every weekend. Felt like asking them if the building’s management objects to this French import being practiced here.

It was 4:30pm, but I still walked straight to the Padang grounds to see if the Fanzone passes were still available.

Padang ground F1 Saturday fanzone Singapore
Guess what! They still had a few left πŸ˜›

Trouble is, I didn’t know what to do to pass time now. There was nothing on the schedule for Zone 4 I was very keen on witnessing, except for the Rick Astley gig.

Alfero gelato ice cream Singapore gp

Singtel booth F1 Saturday Singapore
The SingTel booth was busy as ever
Singtel booth formula one car simulators Singapore GP
I felt like having a go at one of these simulators but you needed to sign up a form first. Thought I’d do it later.
Taking underpass to Esplanade theatres Singapore
Decided to take the underpass to get to the Esplanade side of the track

Way to Esplanade theatres underpass

Basement parking The Esplanade theatres underpass Singapore
Quite a basement

Esplanade theatres escalator lobby Singapore

Singapore F1 circuit Esplanade view
This is in front of the Esplanade
Singapore F1 Esplanade drive zone 4 stands
The JK Racing first race was taking place
Esplanade drive Singapore F1 race stands
I walked to the stands

JK Racing Saturday qualifier race Singapore gp

Esplanade drive F1 stands zone 4 Singapore GP
They have quite a few viewing platforms here
Singapore skyline JK racing Saturday race
Since it’s an elevated platform, the views are better

Viewing stands Singapore F1 Esplanade driveSingapore Marina Bay Sands hotel view from Esplanade drive

Walking to Theatres by the Bay Esplanade Singapore
I walked to where Rick Astley was going to be performing
Colours by the Bay Esplanade Singapore
You have bars and eateries by the Esplanade Waterfront
Panda suits Esplanade restaurant Singapore
As seen at a restaurant here
Zone 3 Bay grandstand seats Singapore F1
This is the end for Zone 4 ticket holders, that over there is the Zone 3 Bay grandstand
Sunlight ray through clouds Singapore Marina Bay
Good weather today

Singapore marina bay skyline from Esplanade bay

Man sleeping Marina Bay Singapore afternoon
For some, it was quite a relaxing setting
Amphitheatre by the bay stage Singapore
It was 5pm
Apmhitheatre by the bay concert stage Singapore
The Rick Astley gig was in an hour’s time
Amphitheater by the bay seating Singapore
But I still sat down to reserve myself a good spot
Amphitheatre audience Rick Astley concert Singapore
…because by 6pm, this was the scene
Marina Bay Sands skypark observation deck Singapore
I took out my 70-200mm zoom lens
Merlion park evening Singapore
I would be using this lens throughout the concert
Rick Astley band backup singer Singapore concert
By 6, the band got on stage
Rick Astley band playing Singapore concert
The music began…
Rick Astley entering stage Singapore F1 concert
…and from the side of the stage walked a man with a deep baritone voice

You can watch the video of his entrance here.

Rick Astley Merlion Singapore concert
Rick Astley began the concert with his number 1 hit “Together Forever”
Rick Astley singing Singapore concert Marina stage
Rick Astley still had his distinct voice — which sounded great even at age 45
Rick Astley fan Singapore concert
The 80’s pop idol posed with fans while he sang
Rick Astley winking Singapore concert
Rick had a fantastic sense of humour too
Rick Astley drinking water Singapore concert
Like when he complained about the heat in Singapore and really wished he had some cold beer
Rick Astley looking at watch Singapore GP concert
Poor Rick wonder how much longer he had to be on stage in this humidity, because the organizers denied his request to serve him alcohol on stage. The audience booed.
Rick Astley fan giving beer Singapore concert
But then came this damsel, with a glass of beer, to Rick’s rescue!
Rick Astley drinking beer Singapore concert
Rick Astley beer bottle Singapore concert
The organizers finally relented and gave Rick some beer… in this bottle. Which Rick and the crowd agreed looked like something else πŸ™‚
Rick Astley concert audience Singapore F1
Even though not everybody in the audience was familiar with Rick Astley’s songs, it was still a fun atmosphere
Rick Astley with back up singer Singapore concert
Heck, even I only knew “Together Forever” and his biggest hit “Never Gonna You Give You Up”
Rick Astley on stage Singapore F1 concert
After all, had it not been for an internet prank, Rick Astley wouldn’t have seen a resurgence in popularity

That prank being the “Rick-roll”. Basically it works like this: “Hey, check out this amazing video of me doing the splits while juggling!” And if you opened that link to watch the video, you just got “Rick-rolled”.

Rick Astley singing Singapore F1 grand prix concert
The British singer entertained us for over one and half hours, despite the heat!

Rick Astley ended his concert with the song everybody knew (okay, some still didn’t — they probably don’t spend too much time on the internet I presume). He even brought on a special guest for “Never Gonna Give You Up”…

Rick Astley Eddie Jordan drumming Singapore F1 concert
… racing supremo Eddie Jordan on drums!

(You can watch the final performance of Rick Astley’s set here)

Rick Astley Eddie Jordan Singapore concert
Eddie left the stage, and so did Rick soon after

It was a fun concert. Rick Astley knew the cheesiness of his 80’s pop music in today’s times but he didn’t mind indulging in the campiness of it all. After the concert, as I packed my bags, there were many middle-aged women in the audience who all spoke of how young they suddenly felt seeing their teenage idol perform. Rick Astley was a nice addition to the Singapore GP’s entertainment line-up.

Rick Astley tshirt Singapore
The Rick-roll internet meme has inspired clothing prints too
Rick Astley band backstage Singapore concert
Rick Astley was busy with photographs
Rick Astley with fans backstage Singapore gp
Rick then posed with a lot of fans/random people in attendance

Here’s a brief video I took:

I was pretty close to him and I just wanted to shake Rick Astley’s hand and tell him he still sounded amazing, but there were more ‘real fans’ eager to have a few seconds with him, so I stepped back, let them take my place and I walked back to the F1 circuit.

Marina Bay Sands ArtsScience museum at night panorama
The guests staying at Marina Bay Sands could watch the race from the Skydeck
Marina Bay Sands skydeck watching F1 Singapore gp
Though at that height the F1 cars must look like slot cars
Esplanade Drive standing platforms Saturday night Singapore gp
The Saturday practice session was going on
F1 car barricades Singapore grand prix
This was the Esplanade Drive straight stretch
Petronas F1 car Singapore GP race
I tried my best to freeze frame but these were F1 cars — it’s no joke how fast these things go on a straight stretch
Esplanade drive barricaded track at night Singapore F1
But I got to see how the professionals photograph an F1 race. You see that section to the right?
FIA photographer taking photos Singapore F1 race
There’s an opening, through which authorized photographers can take photos
FIA photographer taking photos Singapore gp
Like so!
Singapore F1 night race Esplande drive track
There’s also better lighting where he’s taking photos from — and no barricades covering the view
Marina Bay Sands at night from bridge Singapore
Odd looking building, but looks impressive at night none the less
ArtScience museum at night Singapore Marina
The ArtScience museum
2011 Singapore F1 crowds Esplanade drive
I decided to head back to the Padang grounds
Singapore F1 track Esplanade Drive
The practice session had just ended
Esplanade theatre dome Singapore at night
I went back to the Esplanade theatre to take the underpass

As I took the escalator down to the basement parking, I saw a familiar looking man taking a photo of a blonde woman posing with one of the security men.

Rick Astley taking photo Singapore Esplanade
Rick Astley Mithun Divakaran Singapore F1
So, in the end, I still got to shake Rick Astley’s hand and compliment his voice. Mithun Divakaran, officially ‘Rick-rolled’ in Singapore!
Singapore gp Saturday crowd
Everybody was heading towards the Padang stage for Shakira’s performance
Shakira concert Padang stage Singapore gp
I didn’t rush, I already had access to the Fanzone anyway
Singtel Singapore F1 Shakira concert stage
I didn’t bother trying to get too close to the stage today
Shakira Singapore F1 Saturday concert
The sexy Colombian singer hit the stage just after 8:30pm
Shakira band performing Singapore gp concert
Shakira had a pretty big band to back her up
Shakira jumbotron Singapore concert
Quite straight away, Shakira got down to ‘business’ — much to all the whistles from the audience
Shakira Singaporean girls concert Singapore F1
During her performance of “Whenever, Wherever,” Shakira brought up on stage a few Singaporean girls
Shakira hip dancing on stage Singaporean girls F1 concert
And she taught them how to shake their hips

Shakira Singaporean girls Singapore F1 concert

Shakira guitar on stage Singapore F1 concert
Despite her visual appeal, there’s no doubt Shakira has a myriad of talents. She even performed a mellow(er) version of Metallica’s “Nothing Else Matters”.
Shakira on the ground drummer Singapore F1 concert
But it wasn’t long before she was back to writhing about on stage and doing chest thrusts
Shakira dancing Singapore F1 concert
Lots of flamenco and belly dancing
Shakira music singing Singapore F1 concert
Shakira sang a lot of her Spanish songs, which I didn’t mind. I figured she was saving her English hits for later.

Shakira sexy Singapore gp Padang concert

Shakira dancers Singapore F1 concert
Shakira went through a couple of costume changes

Shakira stage visuals Singapore F1 concert

Shakira silhouette Singapore F1 concert
Another dress change later…
Shakira belly dancing Singapore concert
… Shakira returned to perform the first song I ever heard from her — “Ojos Asi”. It still ranks as my favourite Shakira song!
Shakira on stage Singapore concert
Shakira got a lot of love from her truly global audience

Shakira singing Singapore concert 2011Shakira concert screen visual Singapore gp

Shakira bending belly dancing Singapore F1
More sultry dancing
Shakira singing Singapore F1 concert
… and then back to singing
Shakira Hips Don't Lie performance Singapore F1 concert
When it came time for “Hips Don’t Lie,” we didn’t get Wyclef Jean but a guy who looked like him to sing the “Shakira, Shakira” bit
Shakira Waka Waka visuals Singapore concert
As soon as this came on, everybody cheered… because we knew what time it was
Shakira waka waka dance Singapore concert
“Waka waka” time!
Shakira waka waka concert Singapore F1
Even though the 2010 World Cup is more than year over, this song remains wildly popular
Confetti Shakira concert end Singapore F1
It was the last song Shakira performed

As Shakira left the stage, her latest hit “Rabiosa” came on the speakers — which sucked, because I expected her to perform it, in either English or Spanish! She didn’t perform many other hits like “Did It Again” or “Objection (Tango),” so it wasn’t a full fledged concert. Who knows, maybe Shakira had to be at some other event.

Singtel booth simulator car Singapore
I decided to try out the F1 simulator at the SingTel booth
Waiver liability form Singapore F1 car simulator
But first I needed to sign a liability form — just in case anything happens (to me)
Singtel F1 car simulator Singapore gp booth
Fortunately I got in just in time. It was 10:30pm and they closed the booth.

The experience in the F1 car simulator was alright. You go around the Singapore Grand Prix track and experience the bumps, the breaking and the jerks that one experiences (when you drive badly :P).

Cameras people thronging samba dancers Singapore
As I left the SingTel booth, there were many clamouring to take photos of some dancers
Samba dancers at Singapore F1
It was a group of Brazilian Samba dancers
Brazilian samba dancers Singapore F1 performance
It wasn’t easy to photograph the girls. They were moving fast and many men were in front of me.
Brazilian samba dancing Singapore F1
So I just took overhead shots the best I could
Brazilian samba dancers Singapore F1
I had never seen hips being shaken so violently before! Forget what Shakira did on stage, this was the real deal!

For someone who ranks witnessing the Rio Carnival pretty high on his travel wishlist, it was a good experience to see real samba dancing in all its exotica. It’s like the organizers didn’t want to leave anything out as far as world-class entertainment went!

I had dinner from the circuit itself and went back to the Padang grounds for the final act in Saturday’s concert line-up.

Singapore Formula 1 Padang main stage
The artist closing out Formula One Saturday was none other than…
Shaggy Singapore F1 Saturday concert
… reggae star Shaggy(!) “Singapore, remember me?!”
Shaggy singer Singapore F1 concert
“No? Awww… come on!”
Shaggy concert Singapore
‘Mr. Bombastic’ performed all his hits from the 1990s including “Summer Time” & “Oh Carolina” before moving on to his 2000 singles “It Wasn’t Me” and “Angel”
Shaggy concert Singapore F1 2011
But as with all rap/urban artists, half the time it was shouting instructions: “Wave you hands!”, “Put ’em up!”, “Say ho-O!”, do this , do that! Ugh.
Shaggy mic in pants Singapore F1 concert
The way he ‘sang,’ it was as though you could sense his frustration about being ‘not so cool’ anymore
Shaggy backup singers bored Singapore Saturday concert
“Oh just give up Shaggy”
Shaggy reggae band Singapore F1 concert
He did try his best to energize the crowds
Singtel Singapore Padang concert Shaggy
But I had no energy left. It was another tiring day for me and I left the circuit past midnight.
South bridge lights at night Singapore
I walked back to the hostel and called it a night

Tomorrow was going to be the big day — the Sunday race, and Linkin Park!

Next posts:

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 the series:

Singapore 2011: Day 5 – Chinatown, F1 Friday (Charice, Seungri and GD&TOP concerts)

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

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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  • Karen



    Thank you so much for the up close pictures and commentary on Rick Astley. I am one of his biggest fans and have every album he has ever done. I really wish I was able to go to Singapore to see him but unfortunately that didn’t happen. I would have been one of the audience that could sing along with every song he has done.
    If you ever see Rick again please post those great upclose pictures.
    Thank you,

    Mithun Divakaran Reply:

    Thanks Karen, even though I wasn’t a big fan like you, I had a blast seeing him live πŸ™‚

  • Maragaret Cazarez


    I really like shakira and the way she does live concert where she sings in a very lively manner. All of her fans are of course happy to see her do that unique dancing. ,*;’,


  • It seems you had a great time in the Singapore F1. Though I am an f1 fan and write regularly on F1, I have never been to the Singapore F1 circuit. I just could not convince my friends in singapore to join me there. The night race is more of fun.

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