12
Nov 12

Above & Beyond Live in Bangalore: Photos and videos from TATW 450

Date: November 10th, 2012

Finally! The last time Above & Beyond played in Bangalore, I missed it. I hoped they would return but I never expected my favorite trance outfit to return like this. I couldn’t believe Submerge managed to snag an epic event like this and bring the group down to Bangalore for it! Trance Around the World, my favourite trance podcast, episode 450 – which they announced at the end of episode 449 would be their last – was going to be transmitted live from Bangalore!

Six hours of amazing trance with other Anjunabeats artists such as Jody Wisternoff, Andrew Bayer, Norin & Rad, Mat Zo, and finally Above & Beyond taking the stage for a two-hour set. Since I knew I couldn’t dance for six hours straight, I only made it to the venue at around 5:30pm just as Andrew Bayer was on stage.

Andrew Bayer Tatw 450 Bangalore India

The stage setup, the sound, the impressive venue… it was all really well put together

Andrew Bayer Tatw 450 Bangalore

I really enjoyed Andrew Bayer’s set — pure trance at it’s finest

Norin and Rad TATW450 Bangalore India

Next up was American duo Norin & Rad

Norin & Rad Tatw450 Bangalore live

Didn’t dance a lot to their set, although they were great in getting the crowd pumped up

Norin Rad Tatw450 Bangalore concert

A good hour-long set none the less

Submerge says dance bucket Bangalore

Submerge says dance, and dance we did!

Above & Beyond TATW 450 live in Bangalore

I still couldn’t believe after all this time I waited to see Above & Beyond in concert, it would be for a live recording of the final episode of the trance podcast I’ve been listening to since 2006!

Mat Zo TATW 450 live in Bangalore

Mat Zo, the final ‘warm-up’ act took to the stage for his hour-long set

Mat Zo TATW 450 Bangalore

His set was much better!

Crowd Tatw450 Above & Beyond Bangalore concert

They had streams of colourful cloth spreading through the crowds. It was symbolic for it is the graphic that represents Group Therapy Radio – Above & Beyond’s new radio show

Above and Beyond stage group therapy

As the clock struck 8pm, it was now time for the main act. The crowd went wild as three men took to the stage.

Paavo Jono Tony Tatw 450 Bangalore India

(L-R) Paavo, Jono and Tony – or better known as the legendary Above & Beyond! I won’t mention their DJ Mag ranking… mostly because I don’t give a shit how high they rank!

Above & Beyond Tatw 450 Hello Bangalore

Needless to say all of us were going bonkers seeing all three of them on stage together (Usually two of them go on tour while one stays back in the studio)

Above & Beyond group therapy Bangalore concert

The end of Trance Around the World and the beginning of Group Therapy Radio episode 001

Above & Beyond stage Bangalore Tatw 450

The played classics from like “Liquid Love” and even some world-exclusive first listens. If it weren’t for ‘Tri-State,’ I wouldn’t have heard of Above & Beyond.

Above & Beyond live Bangalore India

But of course, there’s always that one moron who keeps shouting for “Sun and Moon” right from the start. Ugh. (They played it towards the end of course)

Above & Beyond confetti concert India

Epic six-hour long live broadcast ended with an epic shower of confetti!

Paavo hugging Tony end of TATW 450

Paavo and Tony seemed pleased

Above and Beyond members Bangalore concert

So were we

Above & Beyond Group Therapy Bangalore India

I began to leave the venue as they closed out with “Good For Me” (from ‘Tri-State again). I was kinda disappointed they didn’t play “Good Day” as it was the one song I was so looking forward to singing as loud as I could.

Above & Beyond Group Therapy radio Bangalore

But this being a ‘good night,’ play “Good Day” they did. Although it was the vocal mix. Still, it didn’t stop I or anyone else from singing along.

Jaymahal palace concert venue Bangalore

Nikhil Chinapa, who is one of the men behind Submerge, then took to the stage to thank his home crowd for an amazing night

This year marked the 10th anniversary of Submerge, an institution that started out as a platform for Indian DJs back in 2002 and which has since grown into a tour de force in the promotion of electronic dance music in India. You’ve really got to hand it to them. Even Nikhil Chinapa said he never expected they would get this far, but all the applause he got from the crowd was well deserved. Sunburn Festival, all the international DJs they bring to India, and the Submerge nights… Nikhil has done EDM in India a world of good!

As for videos from the night, here are a bunch of clips recorded on the Samsung Galaxy SII (also used for all the above photos). You might want to turn down the speakers as I was close to the stage, and so there’s a lot “brrrr brrr”. Also, if you’re epileptic, you have been warned!

You can listen to TATW 450/Group Therapy 001 in full here.


15
Jul 12

Photos from K-Pop Nation 2012 concert in Macau: U-KISS, B.A.P, SHINee, and Girls Generation

I wanted to put up this post that very night the concert ended. But considering I only got back to Hong Kong around 2am, I was too damn tired to do anything but sleep. To say it was a hectic day would be an understatement — but I’ll write about my Macau experience when I begin my Hong Kong travel series.

This post is going to be all K-pop!

I chose to go to Macau on 2nd July, 2012 (Monday) because the K-pop Nation concert was happening that evening. I got up early and took the ferry from Hong Kong in the hopes of reaching Macau airport before the flight from Incheon (Seoul) landed at 10:40. That didn’t go according to plan for reasons I’ll rather talk about in the Macau post, but long story short, there was no need for me to go to Macau airport. You see, my biggest (K-pop) dream is to see the members of SNSD up close and in person. But as soon as I got past immigration, I saw a bunch of Shawols (SHINee fans) waiting outside. I was wearing my custom-printed SNSD t-shirt when a considerate girl approached me and told me in her limited English that SNSD arrived yesterday night at this very terminal! She told me it would be of no use to stand around if I was hoping to see the girls.

I thanked her for that bit of information, but as disappointed as I was, I thought “what the heck” and waited to at least see SHINee up close.

Macau Shawols ferry terminal

SHINee fans had been waiting long

Macau Shawols waiting for Shinee

But SHINee was to land in Hong Kong only at 2pm

Shinee fans Macau terminal

The boys wouldn’t land in Macau for another hour

Macau Shawol Diablo sign for Shinee

I can see how this is appropriate, ‘cos you know, SHINee are South Korean… and practically everybody is playing Diablo III right now!

Shinee arriving Macau terminal

As it neared 4pm, the screams began

Taemin Key Onew Shinee Macau arrival

But as they quickly made their way out of the ferry terminal, there was one tall guy missing: Minho

Onew Jonghyun Shinee Macau arrival

Sorry for the blurry shots, but it all got a bit crazy as you can imagine. I couldn’t use flash either.

Macau Shinee ferry terminal arrival

It got chaotic pretty soon

Despite the hour long wait, my experience of seeing SHINee (or whatever I could see of their faces – I couldn’t even see Taemin’s face), lasted less than a minute. Just like that it was all over. There were sunglasses and other things belonging to fans scattered on the floor in the frenzy as girls ran all over the place to get a glimpse of their idols. But fortunately nobody got hurt, and SHINee’s asshole manager didn’t punch anybody either.

I left the ferry terminal and took the bus to The Venetian Macau to get my tickets to the concert as my return ticket back to Hong Kong was only at 11:45pm. I got the HK$780 (Rs. 5,500/$100/€82) ticket and decided to spend some time sightseeing until sunset.

Cotai Arena counters Macao

I headed back to Cotai Arena around 7pm. Although I had to handover my Canon 7D camera and tripod to security, I still managed to keep my Canon 450D in my bagpack

Inside Cotai Arena Macau panorama

This is Cotai Arena – and my HK$780 seat was in front of the girl in white top

As the clock struck 8pm, a DJ came on stage and started playing some dance music to pump up the crowd.

Kpop Nation Cotai Arena glowsticks

All the glowsticks up in the air gave a good indication as to many seats were unoccupied

Cotai Arena unsold seats kpop concert

The concert was far from ‘sold out’. A good 40% of the seats were vacant. The HK$780 I paid was the fourth highest in a six-tier pricing — meaning there were three more ticket prices that cost more.

And then, seven guys walked on stage. Then walked off. Then walked back on again.

U-Kiss Kpop Nation Macau concert

U-Kiss!

U-Kiss Kpop Nation stage performance Macau

They kicked off their performance with their best song to date, “Neverland”

U-Kiss concert Macau China

The boys performed “Believe” “0330″ “Bingeul Bingeul” and “Man Man Hi”

U-Kiss performing Kpop Nation macau

But it was fairly apparent that the boys were lip-syncing

U-Kiss performing Macau kpop concert

Which was kinda disappointing considering how good they are as live performers

The organziers were pretty strict about anyone recording video, but some people (as always) managed to record fancams.

B.A.P entrance kpop nation Macau concert

Next up were a hot rookie group

B.A.P performance K-pop Nation Macau concert

B.A.P began their set with an R&B ballad behind curtains before unveiling themselves

B.A.P K-Pop Nation Macau concert

They sang all their singles to date: “Warrior,” “Burn It Up,” “Unbreakable,” and “Power”

After two songs or three, every group would take a break to introduce themselves to the audience. The audience had a laugh when one of the B.A.P members said something along the lines of: “… I’m excessive to be here”. He meant “excited” but that’s not how we all heard it :)

B.A.P performing Macau China

Despite the fact I’m not a huge fan of them…

B.A.P Kpop Nation concert Macau dancers

… B.A.P put on one heck of a performance! I was really impressed!

After B.A.P’s energetic performance, it was now time for the big guns of K-pop. The hugely popular SM Ent. artists were up next. I was a little disappointed to not see Minho since SHINee are not Super Junior — even if one member is missing, their choreography just doesn’t feel right.

Shinee kpop nation concert

But come out as a four-piece SHINee did

Shinee Kpop Nation Macau concert

They began with with “Lucifer”. I had a blast singing along to the whole song, as it remains my favourite K-pop song!

Shinee performing in Macau

But despite the expected awesomeness that comes with being SHINee… they were lip-synching too

Shinee on-stage Macau China

After performing “Stranger,” they paused to speak to the audience. Jonghyun also explained why Minho wasn’t here tonight.

Or at least that’s what I assumed he was talking about, because he spoke in Korean and the translator only spoke in Cantonese(?). Maybe Minho was filming his drama.

Shinee Sherlock live in Macao China

The crowd went wild when “Sherlock” came on

Shinee Sherlock live in Macau China

Fans were itching to chant/shout “SHINee’s back!”

Shinee Sherlock dance Macau concert

“Oh-I’m-curious yeah…” Love that chorus! :)

Shinee Sherlock Kpop Macau concert

Taemin is such an energetic dancer

After “Sherlock,” I assumed “Hello” or “Replay” was next. But no. The boys looked at each other and awkwardly just walked off stage waving goodbye to the audience. I was like: “huh?”. The deal was that each artists would perform five songs each. I assumed SHINee would do an encore of two more songs later. At least that was the hope.

Kpop nation concert dj

Anyway, the DJ came back and I got ready for the final act

Kpop Nation Macau concert stage

For it was now time for the pink glow sticks to come out!

Sunny Sooyoung Seohyun screen

Because it was now time for the biggest act in the concert line-up

Jessica Yoona Yuri screen

The loudest cheers were for this group

Taeyeon Tiffany screen

Heck, they’re the main reason I came to Macau today

Snsd Macau kpop nation concert

I spent $780 mainly to see them

Girls Generation Kpop Nation Macau entrance

Because they’re my absolute favourite group in all of K-pop

SNSD Kpop Nation Macau China

SNSD a.k.a Girls Generation!

SNSD Girls Generation Kpop Nation concert

It was only because I was this far that I could manage to fit all nine of them in one frame :)

Girls Generation leg dance Macau

The girls ‘kicked’ off their set with “Genie (Tell Me Your Wish)”

Yuri Hyoyeon Snsd dancing Macau

I wonder what Yuri found funny

Tiffany Genie performance SNSD Macau

“Macau, put it back on!”

Snsd screen graphics kpop nation Macau

Girls Generation Genie end pose

And that was song number one

SNSD Macau Genie line dance

Next up was “Run Devil Run”

Sunny behind Sooyoung Genie dance

Poor Sunny – the shortest member right behind the tallest girl in the group :)

SNSD close up Macau concert

Run Devil Run dance SNSD

As impressive as their choreography usually is, it’s funny when you capture such frames. Looks like they’re creepily trying to exit the stage :D

Girls Generation on-stage Cotai Arena

The girls then took a break to introduce themselves

Ice Princess message for Jessica Macau

This Jessica admirer got his message on the big screen

Sooyoung Girls Generation Macau

Sooyoung raises her hand, Sone raises his hand — just when I click. Ugh.

Taeyeon Girls Generation Macau

Hello dorky leader :-)

Girls Generation Macau audience interaction

The girls introduce the next song

SNSD Hoot graphics

Time to “Hoot”! And thanks again Sone’s hand. Ugh!

Girls Generation Macau Hoot performance

But just before hitting the first chorus…

Girls Generation technical problem Macau concert

… the music suddenly stops!

Taeyeon surprise Macau concert

Best part? Taeyeon goes: “Surprise!!!!”

Yoona talking Macau concert

The girls make small talk while the team behind the scenes try to sort out the technical glitch

Girls Generation Hoot down dance

When the music began a second time, it was time to go “Down, down, down” again

Girls Generation Hoot Macao

Seohyun was doing her line before the first chorus

Girls Generation technical problem Macau

And the music stops again! And Taeyeon went: “Surprise!” – again! LOL

SNSD on stage Macau

But thoughtful ‘manager’ Tiffany still gave a shout out to the technical team for their efforts. While Yuri checked up on Sooyoung.

It was really funny, but at the same time we all wondered what was going on. Here’s a good fancam of the goof-up(s):

The girls were about to walk off stage…

SNSD Hoot third time Macau

Just then the song restarts a third time… the girls embarrassingly walk back to their positions

Hoot SNSD Macau Kpop concert

Third time proved to be a charm as it went without a hitch

Girls Generation Macau concert

The girls followed “Hoot” with “The Boys”

Girls Generation The Boys live in Macau

Which was a moment everybody was waiting for as we finally got to shout “GG!” at the top of our lungs

Girls Generation hair Macau concert

Ahh, hair freeze moments

Snsd hair funny picture

Seems everybody but Tiffany had their hair moment :) LIKE A BOSS!

Girls Generation The Boys Macau concert

You don’t realize just how cramped for space SNSD’s choreography is until you see them live. How do they not bump into each other? :)

Snsd The Boys live in Macau

“Girls bring the boys out!”

SNSD lights Macau concert

Confetti began to rain even though we had one more song left

Girls Generation Taeyeon jig

The girls spoke one last time before getting into their final song (that’s Taeyeon doing a jig)

Taeny Macau Kpop Nation concert

TaeNy is so real, it’s no joke!

Snsd Macau stage

Everyone was up on their feet and ready to fan-chant like crazy for the final SNSD song

Snsd Gee performance Macau

For it’s SNSD’s signature song, and the one that introduced me to the group

Girls Generation Gee crab dance

“Gee, gee, gee, gee, gee, baby baby”

Girls Generation Gee dance Macau

Even though I’m tired of hearing “Gee,” seeing it live is another feeling altogether

Sunny Hyoyeon Jessica Girls Generation

Sunny smile!

Kpop Nation SNSD confetti Macau

Confetti marked the end of the girls’ performance

Kpop Nation Macau crowd Cotai Arena

The crowds were pleased, and so was I!

Empty seats Kpop Nation Macau

Ignore the empty seats below, the upper sections were full

Girls Generation SNSD saying goodbye

The girls cheerfully walked off stage with Yuri giving us all a big “muaahh”!

The DJ came back on again and some of us waited to see if there was going to be a encore. I was hoping for more SHINee, but there was none. The announcer said ‘thanks for coming’ and I left the arena.

Kpop Nation The Venetian Macau

I collected my Canon 7D and tripod and made my way out

B2ST 4minute Macau concert

Next up, B2ST and 4Minute!

Kpop Nation tickets

So was it worth it?

Well, kind of. I can now say I saw Girls Generation live in concert. And U-Kiss, B.A.P and SHINee. Add to the fact I’ve seen Jay Park and three-fifths of BIGBANG, I guess I’m lucky to have seen enough K-pop acts compared to most fans back in India. On the other hand, K-pop Nation 2012 wasn’t a well put together concert. For something that promised to be an unique show with the artists interacting with the fans and sharing stories… yeah, there was none of that. Pretty much all the interaction went like this: “We are _______” “Hello Macau, I am _______” “What’s up Macau, how you doing?” “Our next song is _____” “Goodbye Macau, we hope to be back”. That’s it – standard concert talk. In fact, SNSD spoke the most, and it was thanks to technical difficulties.

As much as I loved seeing SNSD, it was B.A.P’s set that I can say was the best without any bias. Their segment was if that’s how they would have done their stand alone concert. From start to finish, their act packed quite a punch. So I appreciate the effort they put in putting on an impressive show for what was a multi-starrer concert.

I’m proud of the fact SNSD were pretty much the only group who didn’t lip-sync! Every other group danced well, but didn’t bother singing live (did B.A.P sing live? some vocals sounded like it did). Girls Generation did both live, and were funny… god, tell me why I love them so much again?

It would have been cool if the venue was sold out as the experience could have been wilder, but that’s what you get when you price a concert out of the reach for most K-pop fans (who are really young). I know K-pop concerts in general are more expensive (heck, I’ve seen world famous David Guetta and Metallica for less!), but I can imagine the cost of bringing down such acts to such a small place like Macau, and that too in an expensive venue. Still, it’s baffling to see how many seats were empty for a concert that had U-Kiss, SHINee and Girls Generation in the line-up! That last group alone could fill up a stadium.

Of course I would have wished I was closer to the stage so I could see the girls better, but in some ways I’m glad I only paid HK$780. SNSD barely came forward to the smaller stage up front, so there was quite a bit of distance even for those who were seated in the most expensive section. It would have been nice if they had like a T-shaped stage, but anyway… I’m saving up and hoping for an SM Town in either Singapore or Bangkok later this year.

Otherwise the concert was alright. Oh yeah, there was one moron who showed up with his girl to the venue and accused me of taking his seat. I didn’t want to argue with him so I just let him sit in my seat. SNSD were just finishing up “Gee” and I wanted to click as much as I could before they left the stage. I don’t know what his problem was.

All-in-all, looking at the above photos, I’m happy I was there. My love for K-pop remains the same and I don’t think my urge to see the SNSD again has died down one bit.

As for the rest of my day, I’ll begin writing about my Hong Kong trip soon.

P.S: I did take a few more photos of U-Kiss and B.A.P, so if any of you fans/clubs want to see those, just ask. I’ll e-mail them to you. I didn’t take any videos as the Canon 450D can’t take videos, plus I didn’t want to get into trouble as the usher was right behind me.


09
Feb 12

Singapore 2011: 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

'Wicked'

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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