Mike Shinoda guitar Linkin Park concert Singapore F1

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

Date: September 25th, 2011

How time flies. I landed on the 19th and thought “Hmm, I can take it easy, I have lots of time!”. Now it was my last full day in Singapore.

I decided to visit Little India, as last year I had to rush through it. Plus, I wanted to have lunch from a restaurant there.

Little India mrt station Singapore
Took the MRT
Kerbau hotel Little India Singapore
It was noon by the time I got here
Chander road colourful old buildings Little India Singapore
It’s Indian, expect lots of colour 🙂

Andhra curry restaurant Little India SingaporeLittle India shops corridor SingaporeCatherine goldsmith Thirupathi salon Little India stores SingaporeMagazine newspaper stall Little India SingaporeSerangoon road Little India SingaporeSerangoon road Sunday afternoon SingaporeJewellers Little India SingaporeAmritsar restaurant Little India SingaporeLittle India residential apartments SingaporeLittle India colonial buildings Singapore

Sri Veeramakaliamman temple Indian gods design Singapore
Sri Veeramakaliamman temple, on Serangoon Road
Sri Veeramakaliamman temple Indian gods models
It’s a major tourist draw in Little India, but to most Indians — we’ve seen bigger
Shoe rack Sri Veeramakaliamman temple Indian Singapore
It was closed at this time

Akbar Anand employment agency Little India SingaporeMasjid Angullia Little India Singapore

Mustafa centre Little India Singapore
Went to the famous Mustafa Centre
Mustafa center Little India Singapore
Even though Mustafa Centre is famous for being open 24 hours, I consider it a lousy place for certain goods, especially as far as pricing goes (Read my 2010 experience)
Ananda Bhavan vegetarian restaurant Little India Singapore
You have enough vegetarian food available in this part of Singapore
Serangoon plaza Little India Singapore
I just walked around aimlessly hopping from one shopping centre to another

Little India market textile shops Singapore

Flour mill auto supply store Little India Singapore
It was time to find a place to eat
Azmi restaurant Norris road Little India Singapore
After checking out a few restaurants, I sat at this corner shop. You can buy beer from the Chinese vendor on the right and food from two other vendors on the left.
Mutton kheema chapathi Tiger beer Singapore
Had a few phulkas with mutton kheema & peas curry (and a beer). The whole meal cost less than SG$10.
Thye Chong restaurant Norris road Singapore
This is the place

Little India alley Singapore

Little India white building windows pattern Singapore
I walked back to the MRT station
Gandhi restaurant Little India Singapore
This place seemed really popular as there was a long queue for takeaways
Shree Lakshminarayan temple Little India Singapore
Shree Lakshminarayan temple

Colourful buildings Little India Singapore

No durian sign MRT Singapore
‘No Durian’ – popular fruit in Singapore, but not allowed in public transportation! 🙂
Back alley pubs boat quay Singapore
I decided to enter the circuit via Gate 5 as I figured the lines would be smaller than the more easily accessible Gate 4
Gate 5 entrance Singapore F1 circuit
I made it just before 3pm and I was right, the queue wasn’t that long

Singapore skyscrapers Marina Bay headquartersAs soon as the gates opened and the security check was done, I began to run. Because so did many other youngsters! And by youngsters, I mean Linkin Park fans!

Line for Linkin Park Padang Singapore
Because this was the scene just 10 minutes past 3 ‘o’ clock. Two lines had already formed on either side!
F1 concerts Fanzone wristbands Singapore gp
Luckily, I got my Fanzone wristband! Woo-hoo!
Fanzone section Padang concert Linkin Park Singapore gp
Some people were already queuing to get as close to the stage as possible
Linkin Park concert line Singapore F1
Just shows how popular Linkin Park is!
LG Cinema 3d tv booth Singapore F1
I didn’t really have anything on my agenda, so I checked out LG’s booth where they were showcasing their 3D Tvs
LG booth babes Chinese model Singapore GP
I checked out the demos and left. (That model is really pretty isn’t she?)

Instead of wasting time, I decided to go all the way up to Avalon Club at Marina Bay Sands to find out when The Chemical Brothers were set to hit the stage for the F1 After Party tonight. The Linkin Park concert was surely going to end past midnight and I didn’t want to miss The Chemical Brothers. After all, I paid good money to see these both these acts!

Walking to Avalon club Singapore
I took the MRT and then walked to the club
Avalon club Chemical Brothers Singapore
I saw two guys who resembled Tom Rowlands and Ed Simons (a.k.a The Chemical Brothers) but I couldn’t go up closer as they were testing the visuals and the sound. I at least felt good knowing I could expect a good set tonight!

I asked around the club when The Chemical Brothers would take the stage for their set but no one could give me a definite answer. They guessed it would be after midnight, and well after the race.

The reason I came all way to Avalon Club is because when I tried calling them earlier, no one answered. I had good reason for concern. When I tried visiting their Facebook fanpage yesterday, it had been deleted. I wanted to know how Friday night’s party (LMFAO and Ludacris) went but there was nothing! (Avalon has a new page now with a different Facebook url)

Marina Bay sailing Singapore
I left Avalon Club with the notion I may be able to catch The Chemical Brothers in time tonight

Sail boats Marina Bay Sands dock Singapore

Marina Bay Sands The Shoppes mall interiors Singapore
Stepped inside The Shoppes for some air conditioning
Marina Bay MRT station Singapore
I took the MRT back to City Hall
St. Andrews cathedral church Singapore
I decided to go inside St. Andrews Cathedral as I passed by it so many times but never went in
Chinese fish St. Andrews cathedral pond Singapore
The Asian touch
St Andrews cathedral prayer hall Singapore
Christianity is the second most widely practiced religion in Singapore after Buddhism

St. Andrews cathedral glass art Singapore

Zone 4 grandstand Singapore F1 circuit
By 5:40pm, I went back in
Earth Collide Thai band Singapore F1 concert
A Thai band called Earth Collide were playing at the Esplanade Outdoor Theatre

Earth Collide Thai band Singapore gp concertBoat cruise Marina Bay Merlion Singapore

Marina Bay Sands hotel Artscience panorama
Marina Bay Sands was gleaming in the afternoon sun
Marina Bay Sands skypark Singapore
Took out my 70-200mm lens again

Artscience museum afternoon sunlight Singapore

Singapore evening by the bay
The sun was about to set
Concert by the bay next performance Singapore
I waited for the Forbidden Broadway show to begin
Drivers parade on screen Singapore gp
But just then, the F1 drivers parade began
Drivers parade Singapore F1 Sunday race
I rushed back to Esplanade Drive and raised my camera over a barricade to try and get a clear shot
Rubens Barrichello drivers parade Singapore F1
Rubens Barrichello
Jenson Button drivers parade Singapore F1 raceday
UK’s Jenson Button
Sebastian Vettel drivers parade Singapore F1 raceday
And the obvious guy to win the race — Sebastian Vettel

I went back to the Esplanade Outdoor Theatre where the Forbidden Broadway show had began.

Forbidden Broadway show Singapore F1
New York’s longest running off-Broadway musical comedy revue parodies popular Broadway shows
New York off-broadway Lion King spoof
Like ‘The Lion King,’ which ironically, was playing right behind them at the Marina Bay Sands theater
Forbidden Broadway Singapore show Lion King spoof
They ripped Walt Disney for its corporatization of Broadway and invading live theatre with their successful film franchises
Lion King spoof Forbidden Broadway Singapore
It was pretty funny
Ariel Little Mermaid Forbidden Broadway Singapore F1 show
Even Ariel, The Little Mermaid, wasn’t spared
Avenue Q Forbidden Broadway Singapore show
Next up was Avenue Q (Poor Elmo, what did they do to him!)
Forbidden Broadway puppets Singapore F1
Shows using puppets were ridiculed next
Mary Poppins spoof Forbidden Broadway Singapore
Oh god…
Mary Poppins spoof Singapore F1 show
Mary Poppins! Another Disney franchise that was made into a Broadway show.
Les Miserables spoof Forbidden Broadway Singapore
Next up, the long-running Les Miserables
Les Mis spoof Forbidden Broadway Singapore
The actors were funny, but they were great performers and singers too
Phantom of the Opera spoof Forbidden Broadway Singapore F1
‘Phantom of the Opera’
Wicked spoof Forbidden Broadway Singapore

Even though I had never seen a Broadway musical live, I still got most of the jokes. After all, if you watch enough Glee or follow popular culture, one would have found this show funny. I enjoyed it, it was good change from the usual concerts.

Floating stage Mambo Jambo Singapore F1
I caught up with my friend Niranjan who had also flown down from Bangalore for the Singapore F1
Marina Bay Sands hotel ArtScience museum F1 night
We just sat by the bay and took a break from the heat
Marina Bay Sands F1 car lasers Singapore GP
Marina Bay Sands had laser F1 cars going up the towers
Esplanade drive crowd Singapore F1 raceday
We walked back to Esplanade drive
Mithun Divakaran Niranjan Singapore
Me and Niranjan (Photo was taken by his wife)

I parted ways with Niranjan and we agreed to catch up after the race. I decided to watch the race for a bit.

2011 Singapore F1 starting grid
The 2011 Singtel Singapore Grand Prix was a go!
Zone 4 Grandstand Singapore F1 Sunday race
I walked to the overhead staircase near the Zone 4 grandstand to get a better view
Zone 4 grandstand Singapore F1 circuit
Mind you, blocking the stairs to take photos isn’t allowed
Zone 4 seating from staircase Singapore F1
Also, I wasn’t the only cheapskate tried to get to a better view, there were quite a few
Singapore F1 zone 4 grandstand race day
I didn’t stay on the bridge for long, just took these photos and left
Zone 4 walkabout Singapore F1 circuit
I walked to another vantage point
Singapore Grand Prix circuit turn
I mounted my 70-200mm lens again
Force India F1 car Singapore GP
Bends are probably the best spots to snap these cars, because that’s where they actually ‘slow’ down
Ferrari racing Singapore F1 car
And when I mean ‘slow down’, I mean taking turns at 90-100kmph
Air Asia racing F1 Lotus car Singapore GP
I shot these hand held over the photographers who had placed themselves right in front and set up their tripods
Red Bull racing Singapore grand prix F1 race day
Red Bull Racing has had an amazing 2011 season so far

I got bored and walked back to the concert ground. My opinion about watching an F1 race remains the same. When I watched the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix from a grandstand seat in 2010, at first the prospect of it sounded exciting — but it soon got very boring. Be it seated or even with these walkabout tickets, watching cars whizz by at speeds in excess of 100kmph gets boring pretty quick. Given how loud these cars are too, you can’t even hear the on-air commentary through the speakers until the cars fade away.

Crowds watching race Esplanade park Singapore F1
Watching a race on the big screen is any day better in my opinion. You get to see the cars better, hear the commentary and view multiple angles.

But the Singapore Grand Prix is an experience like no other. First of all, the city is the circuit! That too the impressive central business district, which looks even more impressive at night. They don’t set up most of the grandstands until a few days prior to the race week. It’s an event which really showcases Singapore’s glamour — something the government is really good at marketing.

Watching Singapore F1 race Padang stage
I went back to the concert grounds and watched the race on the screens there
Padang stage crowd watching race Singapore F1
It wasn’t that exciting a race anyway
Germany flag Singapore F1 crowd
As expected, Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel won
Linkin Park Padang concert Singapore F1
With the race over, there was one final moment everyone was waiting for
Linkin Park concert Singapore show
One of my favourite bands, and one of the best bands that debuted in the last decade — Linkin Park!
Linkin Park concert Singapore GP 2011
Linkin Park hit the stage at around 10:45pm
Linkin Park Chester screaming Singapore F1 concert
Took out the big lens for a few close-ups
Chester Bennington Linkin Park live in Singapore
I don’t know how he does it every night, but Chester Bennington’s heavy vocals are amazing!
Chester Bennington Linkin Park Singapore F1 concert
His screaming especially! Undoubtedly one of the best rock vocalists out there!
Mike Shinoda Chester Mr Hahn Linkin Park live Singapore
From their early days when they mostly wore casual black, these days the members look very ‘grown up’ 🙂
Mike Shinoda Linkin Park concert Singapore
The unofficial leader of Linkin Park, Mike Shinoda, and resident DJ Joesph Hahn on the turntables
Linkin Park clapping hands Singapore concert
It was harder for me to take photos of the other members as they remained ‘in the shadows’
Dave Farrell Phoenix bassist Linkin Park Singapore concert
Bassist Dave “Phoenix” Farrell
Brad Delson guitarist Linkin Park Singapore concert
The rather quiet Brad Delson on lead guitar
Linkin Park white stage lights Singapore concert
Linkin Park were on the Asian leg of their ‘A Thousand Suns’ tour, so they played a lot of their new material along with all their hits from albums past

I didn’t record videos because I did enough of that at the Abu Dhabi concert. I wanted to enjoy the show this time, so I only took one video. Here’s “The Catalyst,” from one of my favorite Linkin Park albums:

Linkin Park live stage lights Singapore concert
It wasn’t easy for me to take photos surrounded by so many people, but I did my best
Chester Bennington on-screen Singapore concert
I had a blast seeing these guys again
Mike Shinoda guitar Linkin Park concert Singapore F1
This is why I love the Canon 70-200mm lens! Hardly needed to make any adjustments to this photo.
Mike Shinoda guitar Singapore concert
Mike Shinoda’s look reminded me of technology editor Joshua Topolsky (Yeah, what a geek am I right?)
Linkin Park Singapore F1 concert
The show lasted nearly one and half hours
Chester Bennington end of concert Singapore
Chester finally got to rest his vocal chords
Linkin Park end of concert Singapore
The band gave out guitar picks as usual
Rob Bourdon handing out drumsticks Linkin Park concert
Drummer Rob Bourdon finally came to the front of the stage

If you want to see the entire concert, this guy filmed it — but don’t assume the crowd was lousy based on that video. The crowd was much better on my side! It was a better crowd than at the Abu Dhabi concert, all thanks to the Zone 4 ticket prices which made it affordable for real fans of Linkin Park to come see them. Something the mostly younger fanbase couldn’t afford in Abu Dhabi.

For a band that has yet to perform in Bangalore, I feel quite privileged to have seen them twice. The setlist was slightly different (at least the order of songs) from the Abu Dhabi show late last year. Of course, in Abu Dhabi, I actually met Mike Shinoda in person! That luck didn’t repeat itself here in Singapore.

My 2011 Singapore F1 experience was finally over. I truly got my money’s worth! For SG$138 (Rs. 5000/$110/€83) I got to see Linkin Park, Shakira, a bit of Shaggy, 3/5th of K-pop supergroup BIG BANG, Charice, Rick Astley, an off-broadway show, samba dancers, etc. — and cars racing. Beat that for value! Had I not stepped out of the circuit to go around town with Aimee, I would have seen much more. The organizers definitely did a better job this year as far entertainment went. In 2010, they had a pregnant Mariah Carey headline on Sunday. Yeah, don’t ask. My friend Ramesh attended the race last year and he told me how bad it was!

I have my bets placed on Coldplay headlining the concert series in 2012 and even though I would love to go back to Singapore, the same Zone 4 Walkabaout ticket is now SG$178! :-/Update (10/02/2011): A day after this was pushed live, Maroon 5 has been announced as the headliners for Saturday. Now that a band is headlining one day, will it be a female artist like Rihanna or Madonna (or Katy Perry) headlining Sunday? (Please, no Britney!)

As I exited the concert grounds, I bumped into another friend from Bangalore who told me he attended the Friday party with LMFAO and Ludacris at the Avalon Club. He told me the experience wasn’t great. That… didn’t sound to good to me. None the less, I exited the circuit after catching up with Niranjan and his wife.

I said my goodbyes to them and took the MRT to Marina Bay, which was on its last journey for the night.

Marina Bay Sands light signals Singapore
I walked to the Avalon Club
Marina Bay Sands hotel shoppes night Singapore
The excitement I initially had for seeing The Chemical Brothers had wore off a bit. I was quite tired and I wondered if it was too much to attend this party as well.

As I entered the club, there was a sign outside stating an apology for Saturday night’s Sander van Doorn party — which was cancelled. This was yet another sign implying something wasn’t right about Avalon. It was too late for me to bail out though, I had no choice but to go in.

Once inside, I wasn’t too impressed. One, despite its exterior, the dance floor didn’t look that big for a big-name club. Two, what the hell is this?

Avalon Club smoke fog inside Singapore
I haven’t been to hundreds of clubs, but where have you seen this much smoke/fog?

It really irritated me. It’s as though the management didn’t want us to see if the DJ was even there! I made my way through the smoke and to the DJ stand, where there was no one playing a live set at the moment. I went upstairs because the smoke got nauseating after a while, plus it was really hard to see.

Avalon club Singapore F1 after race party
I still couldn’t see the stage from here, but at least I could breathe better

I ended up chatting with a few youth who had come down from Indonesia just to see The Chemical Brothers. We were excited and danced away when any Chemical Brothers track came on. An hour passed and after the popular tracks like “Star Guitar,” “Do It Again” and the epic “Hey Boy, Hey Girl,” I stopped dancing. The smoke machine was still on and I began to wonder if The Chemical Brothers were even performing live!

I bought my tickets for this gig with certain expectations. I wasn’t expecting Glastonbury-level of epicness inside a club, but the visuals are very much a part of The Chemical Brothers experience. When I visited the club earlier in the afternoon, they were running some visuals on the screen. As long as I was in the club, that screen didn’t even come on once! I felt so ripped off.

Avalon club fog machine Singapore
All I got was smoke & mirrors – quite literally

The Indonesians left after a while and I felt like leaving too. That is until I looked outside…

Heavy rain Singapore night Marina Bay
It was raining so heavily! For the past three days, it was sunny! It’s like the deal F1 organizers had struck with the rain gods ended as soon as the race was over.
Avalon Club inside VIP lounge Singapore
I was stuck inside the club. I had to wait until the rain subsided as I wasn’t carrying an umbrella — and the roads were a bit of a walk away.
Long chandelier Avalon club Singapore
Looked like they floors going a few level below the entrance

For something that was branded an ‘F1 After Party,’ I didn’t see many who even remotely looked like they were part of the major F1 teams. No drivers, nothing. Just a bunch of fat men who were ordering pricey vodka bottles and had Asian girls much younger to them on either arm. It wasn’t the crowd I was expecting for a Chemical Brothers gig.

Boy George DJ Avalon club Singapore
The smoke only subsided during Boy George’s set. His set was pretty good actually, but I was quite angry reaffirming myself all that smoke from earlier was to hide the fact The Chemical Brothers set wasn’t live!

It was nearing 3am, and I wanted to leave so badly. I didn’t care about the SG$83 I paid for this ‘party’ because I needed to get some sleep . I still had things to do before I left Singapore later in the evening of the 26th (which it already was). After Boy George ended his set and before the next DJ began his, I left. It was still drizzling, but I placed my handkerchief to cover my head. I was told by the staff at Avalon I could get taxis in front of the convention centre at Marina Bay Sands. I went through the Shoppes to the bus stop in front and waited.I showed my hand to many taxis that passed by, none of them stopped. Some were full, some were not — and there were quite a few of us in need of a ride home.

Fed up, I then walked to dropping point at the casino, to try my luck there. All the taxis that stopped here were already booked or weren’t taking any passengers. A bunch of Indians from Mumbai were frustrated and said if it were back in their city, they would have already gotten a rickshaw or a taxi in a matter of minutes. It’s true.

I was getting really angry at this point. It was still drizzling, I was wet and sleepy. Past 4am at this point, I then walked to the Marina Bay Sands hotel lobby hoping the reception could call me a taxi no matter what the cost. At the lobby, I was then shown to the dropping point where an snake-line had already formed, and where many like me were waiting an awful long time to get a taxi. An Italian woman who looked like model was frustrated at the notion of waiting this long to get a taxi at an “$8 billion hotel”! Couldn’t help but agree with her to an extent.

Many in line were fuming. Some tried the old ‘slip some money in the hands’ of staff to get an advantage, but the staff declined. But it didn’t matter. Some people saw that and started shouting at the staff over preferential treatment — even though the hotel employee didn’t show any. One taxi that did stop by demanded SG$500 from some Westerners who needed to go the airport. The taxi driver got a “Fuck off!” instead.

I stood there quietly, but very, very frustrated. Eventually I got fed up as the line wasn’t moving as fast as I hoped. I asked the staff when the MRT would open and he told me 5am. Fuming, I walked in the drizzle to the MRT station as it was only few minutes until 5am.

Got the first train, and finally reached Central mall. I didn’t take the overbridge, I just hopped over the divider and crossed the road. Yeah, I jaywalked, I didn’t care! I was so frustrated with how my night turned out after what until Avalon, was such a good day! Never going to make this mistake again. Another lesson learnt? Carry an umbrella at all time when in Singapore.

As soon as I got to my room, I took off my socks and slept. There was little else I was in the mood for.

Next Post:

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

Previous posts in the series:

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

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 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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