2018 has been a wonderful year for live music in Singapore. From countless arena shows featuring some of the biggest musicians in the world at the moment, to smaller, intimate shows, there was no shortage of good live music in Singapore throughout the year.
Below, in no particular order, are our picks for the best concerts that took place in Singapore in 2018.
It's rare that you get legendary bands with nearly five decades of experience touring the world like they're in their twenties – let alone have them perform in Singapore so when it does happen once in a blue moon, grab every chance you're given and go to the show; you might just witness something special. And for those in attendance at Zepp@BIGBOX for Judas Priest that night, that's exactly what they got.
Chance The Rapper
If Chance’s larger ambition is to reshape rap in his and/or his Creator’s image, he’s succeeding ably because his product and packaging are immaculate. It’s tempting to think of that night as ‘historic’ – for once, after a long time, we had one of the biggest rappers in the world right before our very eyes. But the deeper drive behind that is that we got to see whyone of the biggest rappers in the world is not only one of the biggest rappers in the world but also one of pop culture’s brightest-burning stars. August 25 2018 will be remembered for that reason.
Katy Perry proved one thing that night: She's a performer who can hold her own onstage with the best of them. With an amazing live band backing her, an impressive dance crew, and extravagant stage production, the fourth time was the charm for Katy Perry and the Katy Cats. Fans left the Indoor Stadium feeling like plastic bags drifting through the wind, light and free after a fun-filled night.
However great Kamasi’s music is on a record, though, seeing him perform live is an experience that exceeds any expectation of how his music can be presented.
Playing six songs in just under two hours may sound scant in theory but for every person in the audience that night, those six songs did more than any of us could’ve asked or even hoped for.
Stretching each one into a unique musical experience of its own, Kamasi and his band rendered an each song an odyssey of brilliant musicality with a visceral thrust. Their showing here was a testament to their talent and mastery of both their instruments and material that unspools from them.
When all was said and done, the band put forth one of the most well-balanced sets in recent months with a perfect blend of new and old music. There was something for everyone and while some fans were bummed out that 'Brick By Boring Brick' was omitted from the set list, everyone left with smiles on their faces. The band showcased how much they've grown as musicians and as people since we last saw them and while emotional at times, both the band and fans had the time of their lives. What more can you ask for, right?
When some of Singapore’s best and most illustrious musicians – some who share a chemistry built over ten years – came together to make music on Friday, December 7, we forgot that we were there to work. All our recent frantic searches for concert notes before we started writing this came up naught – because we wrote nothing. Simply put, Charlie Lim’s one-time-only show at The Star Theatre promoting his latest sophomore release, CHECK-HOOK, was one of the best concerts we’ve attended this year.
When all was said and done, and the night was over, it was clear that Arch Enemy had given all they had to Singapore, and the crowd returned the favour, with endless mosh pits and circle pits. Alissa promised the sold out crowd that they would be back a lot sooner than the six years it took them to return, and that's a promise metal fans in Singapore hope they keep.
Anderson .Paak at Laneway Festival 2018
Ever the showman, Anderson rapped, sang, danced, joked and hammed out a couple of drum solos, delivering everything with the kind of galvanized, inhuman self-assurance. Surely, you would've encountered plenty of Facebook posts proclaiming His name by Sunday afternoon. Believe it, he's the real deal. Yes, Lawd!
It’s a lot for a 22-year-old doing his first tour in Asia to experience, and Caesar at times seemed overwhelmed by the love the crowd showed him.
But everything about his performance suggested that Caesar is an artist who knows what he’s doing, and how to do it. From briefly saging the stage early on in the performance, to encouraging the crowd to sing along (not that they needed it), Caesar had the crowd hypnotised every second of the show, his soothing vocals and the synergy he has with his talented band notwithstanding. The hits off Freudian got the most response, naturally, but there were also diehards who knew the cuts off his earlier EPs.
The night can be summed up in one word – cathartic. Mike and his fans celebrated life and death, they wept together, they laughed together and they came out of it feeling better. So thank you, Mike. We might have missed our chance to catch Linkin Park live in Singapore but with this performance, we’re finally at peace with that.
Emotional as it was inspiring, Sam Smith’s performance fulfilled every major fan’s desire for an intimate and affecting show, and proved to those who aren’t his staunchest admirers that he is a vocal force to be reckoned with; an artist whose music means more to people than just topping charts, but consists of rallying anthems to people who hail from all walks of life. His music is an aural incarnation of the unifying power of love.
With a backing band comprising a drummer, two guitarists, a bassist (who also occasionally picked up the double bass) and a multi-instrumentalist who played everything from the keys to a ukulele, Dylan ensured that one of the highlights of the night was the depth these instruments added to each song (oh how the 1960s folk scene would squirm!).
In the short time they were onstage, Neck Deep were the true stars of the show; exuding confidence and professionalism throughout their show and also showing love and affection for their fans.
Although the stage setup for this concert was simple, the visual projections and stage effects did a great job of enhancing the entire concert experience. It was a visual treat, especially during ‘53 Dawns’. With modern dance and visual projections which created a black-versus-white imagery, the stage performance accentuated the emotional tunes and hit us just right in our hearts.
The boys ended the concert with a promise to be back soon and also a hilarious encore stage featuring their song, 'VERY NICE’. Seventeen has experienced so much growth in such a short span of time and it is clear that the boys come together to form a tight-knit and cohesive unit. The IDEAL CUT tour is just another step in the right direction for Seventeen and we hope the band will soon reap the fruits of its labour.
Bruno ran a tight ship. The crowd went crazy and hundreds of phones went up in unison to capture the eye-popping lighting, the thrilling pyrotechnics (cued perfectly to crescendos and climaxes) and of course, the slick dance moves and loose-yet-coordinated choreography of Bruno and his backing band.
Dua Lipa was the queen of one of Singapore’s biggest dance parties. Possessing a stage presence we’ve seen in few other performers, Dua made it hard to believe that this concert was part of the 22-year-old’s very first worldwide tour. Whether it was belting pitch-perfect high notes or encouraging the audience to let loose and dance, Dua had the crowd eagerly watching her every move from start to finish. Not relying on overly flashy stage production or back-up dancers, Dua Lipa exceeded all of our expectations in the best way possible.
Last year's show at The Star Theatre was intimate, muted, a little more subdued — it saw a slightly awkward Styles in his first attempt at a solo singing career (in spite of the numerous years of experience with One Direction). Six months later, we got a more worn out – thanks to tight touring schedules – but far more confident performer, backed by flashing lights and vivid stage production, and clad in gold — definitely more befitting of his rock star status.
The band's synergy and chemistry were strong and you could hardly tell Turnstile's youth as a group at all. The band played through the Time & Space album and the transition from song to song was barely noticeable. With classic rock riffs, instrumental breaks and even hints of psychedelia, the band's decision to experiment with their sound definitely paid off.
Abel Tesfaye’s debut Singapore performance was treated with all the pomp and gravity befitting an arrival. Like Bruno Mars and Dua Lipa, he’s an A-List needle-mover who operates from the nucleus of pop culture. His biggest songs are the soundtracks of the zeitgeist, of the now and later on. On December 5 2018, The Weeknd staged his total takeover of the Singapore Indoor Stadium with those very hits in tow – fan service as much as it was a reminder of his ascent into the upper echelons of Musicians That Matter, his show was intentionally spectacular and reputation-defining.