(Photo from ME Club)
Firstly, I must state that Compass Ballroom at RWS is a bad place to hold a concert. Not only is the floor not elevated, the design of the cavernous room leaves those at the two extreme sides with little visibility of the stage, with only a screen in front for compensation. Secondary, the toilets are not designed to hold 5000 people. With only six cubicles per toilet and only two toilets, snakes formed just prior to the concert and in the middle of the concert. I was surprised to see long queues from the males toilet too, a rare sight but that should tell the organizer something about holding concerts there. DON’T!!
The concert started at 8.15pm with a bang. Even with the most expensive tickets, I was at the side and could not see the duo on stage when they appeared, relying only the screen. Instead, the speakers boomed right in front of us, amplifying my heart beats to uncomfortable thuds. In front of us sits a three generation family, and Mike pointed to the woman trying to stuff tissues into her ears.
I tried to check the demography of the fans and couldn’t really pinpoint anything distinctive about them. There were senior citizens, middle-aged people like my groups, some young twenty something men in front and a handful of kids. As pointed out rightly by the duo, the fans have grown with the group, from students and now to parents of kids.
I had purchased the tickets as a 41st birthday gift to my brother and am not a fan of theirs. Except for a handful of songs, I really didn’t know any to sing along, like the majority of the audience who was crooning in sync. Still, the mostly ballads were easy to the ears, the lyrics meaningful, and melody catchy. The few songs that I waited for was scattered. 忠孝东路走九遍, 那就这样吧, 我吃得起苦 and some other theme songs from Mediacorp. In fact, there were a couple more songs in their new album that were featured in Mediacorp dramas.
Their last concert here was 13 years ago, and they were obviously touched to see the full house, something they articulated many times, touched, happy, appreciative. Men of few words. Described as rockers, their costumes comprised of sequined T-shirts and jeans, and slung with a guitar. But they are talented in piano and drums as well, and demonstrated that on stage.
It is said that singers who could sing really do not need much to stage a concert and this is true for them. Other than having some girls gyrate on stage to a song (totally unnecessary and I thought in poor taste), the stage largely belonged to the duo and their band, something the fans have no complaints about, preferring to listen quietly in their seats. Even when one of the duo came down to the stage to the side, no one rushed forward until he attempted to climb over the barricade but was stopped by security. That’s how muted the concert is, despite the rock theme.
When cued on the last song, some people started leaving. Didn’t they know the encores are the best? And indeed, the encores were, when the audience started stomping and waving. As they left the stage after the encore, we reluctantly got up but noticed that the musicians were still around. Undeterred, the fans screamed encore repeatedly and the duo returned! We had all left our seats and everyone surged towards the stage, handphone in the air to record the high, for once the security couldn’t do anything. (They were really prompt in going around to stop any recording.)
With one song, they really left the stage and the lights came out.