It goes without saying that every edition of the Singapore Grand Prix provides an experience unlike any other. And it's not just because of the cars.
Anyone who's been to an F1 event in Singapore would know just how meticulously organized it is — and with the bounty of space provided for the annual race, it allows an incredible amount of live showcases that have been topped every year.
On its ninth year in 2017, they pulled out all the stops for its main line-up — with the inclusion of EDM (and now synth-funk) extraordinaire Calvin Harris, pop diva Ariana Grande, New York bros The Chainsmokers, British new wave legends Duran Duran, pop-rock group OneRepublic, modern R&B icon Seal, singer-songwriter Lianne La Havas, and rap prodigy George The Poet.
Calvin Harris served as the bonafide headliner, riding off the intense fervour that began with the race handed over to F1 driver Lewis Hamilton — with audience members seated and fixated onto the giant LCD screens, never mind the damp field — and his EDM-heavy set, riddled with his many radio hits, kicked off the celebrations proper.
Saturday had the one-two pop punch of Ariana Grande and The Chainsmokers, the former belting out oh so effortlessly onstage — despite some demanding dance moves, which included some stationary cycling — and the latter hitting hard with vivid, sugary visuals that melded nicely with their harmless brand of dance pop.
The line-up was mainly populated by modern successes — on the festival's first day, it hosted three young breakout stars. Lianne La Havas, the charming singer-songwriter from the UK, stood alone on the giant Padang Stage as she captivated the early crowd as effectively as she did on a recent European tour with Coldplay.
Changing the lyrics of 'Tokyo' to adopt Singapore, she's picked up a few tricks along the way since the runaway success of her 2015 album Blood, and she's only about to get bigger.
OneRepublic, however, have already earned their stripes with a slew of radio-friendly singles over the years. Long-time fans were served with 'Apologize' and 'Stop And Stare', both early hits for the band, but it was clear they're also amassing newer, younger fans with the reactions they got for songs like 'Counting Stars' and 'If I Lose Myself'.
George The Poet, the innovative and fiery wordsmith, stood on stages through the weekend as he provided fresh perspectives set to skeletal and pervasive beats. He's quick and confrontational, and his songs are uniquely powerful and compelling in a live setting.
The veterans on the line-up — Duran Duran and Seal — were enviable attractions on the stages they played. Although Seal is best known for his commercially successful songs (do we even need to list them out?), his wit and magnetic charm pulled in more fans as the evening progressed on the Village stage.
Duran Duran? Well, let's say that the 80s were a fine time to be alive for music — an evening set in reverence of that period, along with a healthy amount of modern touches, certainly resonated with the older crowd. It's arguable that the 80s also produced some of the best showmen in pop music, and Duran Duran are among the best of them.
Here's what our photographers captured on the ground, which also included the fringe acts (from the Drumcat troupe to the Stopgap bros).
Special thanks to Singapore Grand Prix for the invite.