Thursday, November 27, 2008

KYLIEX2008 Live In Singapore

Who: Kylie Minogue
What: KYLIEX2008 Live In Singapore
When: 25 November 2008
Where: Singapore Indoor Stadium

1. Speakerphone
2. Can't Get You Out Of My Head
3. In Your Eyes
4. Heartbeat Rock
5. Wow
6. Shocked
7. Loveboat
8. Copacobana
9. Spinning Around
10. I Believe In You
11. Like A Drug
12. Slow
13. 2 Hearts
14. On A Night Like This
15. Your Disco Needs You
16. Kids
17. Step Back In Time
18. In My Arms
19. No More Rain
20. Love At First Sight
21. Better The Devil You Know
22. The One
23. I Should Be So Lucky

The gorgeous Kylie finally made it to our shores. After aburptly pulling out of the Showgirls tour due to her bout of cancer, she made good on her promise to return and boy was she loved. If anything, the delay made her fans clamour for her even more.

8,000 fans packed the Singapore Indoor Stadium, even though ticket prices were exhorbitantly priced, with the cheapest going at $150 and the most expensive going for more than 3 times that amount - $550. 

But as they say, you get what you pay. And I would say everyone who was there would agree that it was money well-spent.

This has got to be the most dazzling spectacle ever. The giant LED projections were out of this world, and they helped set the tone for each of the segments. Instead of building and transporting real props, all they did was just to project the images on screen and you have a new set already.

Like this:

How efficient!

It was a almost like a visual orgy. On the 5-panelled LED screens, you had virtual Kylies, psychedelic designs of all colours, disco balls (looked like it was borrowed from Madonna), fake ballrooms, retro Walkmans and more. There was always something going on on those screens so the whole show went seamlessly, even during her costume changes.

There were several costume changes, and Kylie looked gorgeous in every one of them. She was especially cute in the cheerleader outfit. 

And from what I could see of her from the 2 teeny weeny video screens, Kylie looked flawless. Really flawless for someone her age. And it was all the more amazing she went through chemotherapy and everything, and managed a full recovery. It's really amazing.

Kylie sang live for all the songs and her voice was strong. Some songs were a little piercing but overall the sound system was good enough so she sounded quite good. You could hear her voice better when she sang a few of the songs unplugged for the intro. She was pitch perfect and together with her 2 backup singers, they sounded in harmony.

It was every bit the $16 million production you'd come to expect, and it has to be the concert of the year. However, personally, when it comes down to performance, I feel that Kylie still doesn't compare to Janet or Madonna.

Sure, everything looks super cool and run with clockwork precision, but as a performing artist, Kylie doesn't own the stage or command the attention enough. It might be because she doesn't want to over-exert herself after recovering from her cancer, but she has never been a very dynamic performer.

She doesn't dance that vigourously and maybe it's just her sweety-pie image that is hard to shake off. But she doesn't have the fire or the ferocity like Janet. Kylie's songs are all very nice and radio-friendly, easy to hum and sing along to. But I guess they're more like radio hits. 

Whereas for Janet's songs, they are meant to be performed onstage, and the choreography of the dance is essential to the song. The dance moves become part of the song. Maybe I'm biased because I like song and dance. To me, these 2 elements constitute a performance. And because of this reason, I'm very confident I will enjoy Janet or Madonna's concert more than Kylie's.

But having said that, I did enjoy the concert. It was a very well-run and visually dazzling show that is unrivalled for a Singapore show so far. My favourite song was In My Arms. That was the one that got me on my feet.

I'm glad Kylie made it here and gave Singapore a show to remember. It will be hard to top this one.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Manic Street Preachers Live In Singapore

Who: Manic Street Preachers
What: Send Away The Tigers Tour
When: 24 November 2008
Where: Fort Canning Park, Singapore

1. Motorcycle Emptiness
2. Autumnsong
3. La Tristesse Durera (Scream To A Sigh)
4. Faster
5. You Stole The Sun From My Heart
6. Everything Must Go
7. Ocean Spray
8. The Masses Against The Classes
9. You Love Us
10. Pennyroyal Tea (Nirvana cover)
11. Send Away The Tigers
12. A Design For Life
13. Small Black Flowers That Grow In The Sky (solo acoustic)
14. The Everlasting (solo acoustic)
15. Your Love Alone Is Not Enough
16. Umbrella (Rihanna cover)
17. 1985
18. Little Baby Nothing
19. Motown Junk
20. If You Tolerate This Your Children Will Be Next

This will be a quick review as it's rather late now, and there's work tomorrow (ooh, gonna be an exciting day tomorrow!).

The Manic Street Preachers brought their Send Away The Tigers Tour to Singapore, performing here for the first time. Judging by the size of the crowd, about 4,000 odd people, this MSP show is long overdue.

The first half of the concert was better in terms of energy and the familiarity of the songs. Taking the stage at 9pm sharp, MSP launched straight into Motorcycle Emptiness, rousing the crowd off to an energetic start. 

They followed this with Autumnsong, taken off their latest album, Send Away The Tigers. Another crowd favourite followed this, and MSP carried on the pattern of alternating the older songs with the newer ones.

MSP's songs sound better live than the studio recording. The energy is more apparent, and so is lead singer/guitarist James Bradfield's guitar skills. He did quite a few solo licks and they sounded really good. 

I am not a hardcore MSP fan, but I recently bought their Forever Delayed greatest hits album and I've been listening to it quite a bit in the past 2 weeks. The highlights of the concert are the evergreens - A Design For Life, Everything Must Go and If You Tolerate This...

I particularly loved You Stole The Sun From My Heart. But my favourite performance of the night was their cover of Nirvana's Pennyroyal Tea, simply because it was unexpected. And they did the song justice, but pity most people in the crowd didn't recognise it.

Where Pennyroyal Tea was the highlight, their cover of Umbrella was definitely the lowlight for me. It's a nice hip-hop song and it was the biggest song of 2007, but we really didn't need another version of it. And it felt like they were bringing themselves down to the level of say, a Hall jam band. Even more saddening was the sight of many people bobbing their heads to this, when they should have been digging Pennyroyal Tea. Well...

I also liked the lighting. The lighting person did a good job by synching with what the band was playing, and did special effects during the drum fill-ins or during the band's music breaks. The timing of those effects were precise and you could tell he/she has been with the band for long.

MSP closed their concert with their first UK #1 hit, If You Tolerate This... It was a good song, but perhaps A Design For Life would have been a better closing song. It would have ended the concert on a bigger high than If You Tolerate This...

There was no encore and MSP left the stage at 10:30pm. The audience cheered and milled around for a full 5 minutes before being convinced that MSP were not coming back, as the stage crew began dismantling the setup.

All in all, it was a very enjoyable show. The crowd lapped it up and MSP were on fine form too. The weather here is probably too hot for Bradfield, who joked that they should have been sent here for conditioning earlier, like Olympics athletes. He added that he felt like he was doing a marathon.

It's been a long time coming, but I'm glad it isn't forever delayed. Better late than never.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Kanye West's new album to include bonus track recorded live in Singapore?

Kanye West's new album, 808s & Heartbreak, will be released tomorrow, and word has it that it will include a bonus track that was recorded during Kanye's gig in Singapore last month!

This was brought to my attention by an anonymous poster who left a comment in this blog (thanks!), and if it is true, it is very exciting indeed! I mean, Kanye's album is going to sell millions (at least 5 million copies), and the whole world will get to listen to a track that was recorded right here on our sunny island!

The track in question is Pinocchio Story, and it is being listed on all major online retailers such as Amazon and HMV as the 12th track in the album. Previous tracklistings only had 11 tracks. The sites also described it as "Freestyle Live From Singapore".

Apparently, it is being included in Kanye's album because Beyonce liked it so much she asked him to put it in!

However, Pinocchio Story is not listed on Kanye's official website, KanyeUniverseCity. So it remains to be seen whether the story is true or not. I guess we'll have to wait till tomorrow to find out.

But anyway, it is a great track and it was a powerful performance he gave. Sure hope it's in there. Now, I'm really getting quite excited about the's an audio clip of Pinocchio Story performed at the Singapore Indoor Stadium last month:

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Rock Witchu Tour Opening First 4 Songs

Here's a kickass video featuring the first 4 songs of Janet's Rock Witchu Tour - The Pleasure Principle, Control, What Have You Done For Me Lately? and Feedback.

It was painstakingly edited by a super Janet fan, using various amateur clips recorded by other fans who then posted them on YouTube. So it really looks like a professional multi-angle concert DVD, albeit with poorer quality and shaky shots. But it's amazing how he can edit the amateur clips together to form a cohesive clip. Must have taken days to do it!

After watching this clip, how can anyone say it's not HOT? I think I would have fainted if I were there watching the concert live. Oh man, contrary to what a lot of people think, I actually really love her skin tight costume and her mohawk. It's really FIERCE. Especially when she says "Eat that SHIT!"

And once again, I will bring up the thing about stage presence. When Janet is on stage, you can't take your eyes off her. She has a magnetic presence and even when she does those big action moves, it doesn't look cheesy because she is so confident of herself.

The opening song, The Pleasure Principle, is a great example. Janet is there doing it by herself and she owns the stage. If another less talented person performed it by herself, you might not be as captivated because she might be self-aware and hold back. But Janet gives it all. The fist pumps are all 100% and every dance move means something.

I also love the Feedback routine, especially the part where she sprawls on the floor in the early part of the song. It's a super sexy and cat-like pose that only she can pull it off.

From this clip, you can tell how much choreography goes into the performance. It's all the more amazing considering that this clip is edited from footage from several performances, it's not all from one same performance. So she basically does the same thing every time. But that's the amazing thing, cos she doesn't look like she's concentrating on her next move, or she gets bored doing the same thing each night. She's a natural.

Sigh, the fate of the Rock Witchu Tour is hanging in the air now. She performed only 16 shows, while the remaining 6 shows that were originally postponed due to her illness have been cancelled and no further announcement has been made whether there will be a second leg to her tour either in the US or overseas. I was really banking on travelling to Japan to watch the show but it seems highly unlikely now.

Actually the ticket sales were not that bad. According to (updated) box office figures reported for 13 of the shows, total attendance was 114,014, which works out to an average of 8,770 fans per show. Not bad at all what! She can sell out our Singapore Indoor Stadium!

And the total gross so far is US$9,917,237. Of course, this figure is not pure profit, but after taking into account all the expenses such as venue booking, crew etc, I'm sure it's still profitable. How can this tour be considered a flop?

Janet, please bring your tour to the rest of the world. Europe, Japan, Down Under, Southeast Asia, we will welcome you with open arms. Janet is a true performer, perhaps even more so than she is a recording artist, so even though her past few albums didn't sell as well, people will still go watch her in concert.

As long as there's no announcement that the tour is officially over, I shall live in hope that there will be a second leg some day. Singaporeans have been spoilt for choice when it comes to concerts recently, but I'm sure Janet will draw them in.

Oh Jan, what have you done for me lately?

(UPDATE: 20 Nov)
Janet will apparently be bringing the tour to Japan next year! Several websites are now reporting that she will do 5 dates in February: 

Feb 14 & 15: Saitama - Saitama Super Arena
Feb 17: Osaka - Osaka-jō Hall
Feb 19: Nagoya - Gaishihoru
Feb 22: Fukuoka - Marine Messe Fukuoka

If this is true, I will book my flight to Osaka soon!!! Hope these are confirmed and that she will be adding more countries to the list. Crossing my fingers that she will tour SEA! If she's performing in Singapore, I will susidise each of my friends $10 to go watch it. And if they enjoyed the show, they must return me the $10. Fair enough right?

Ok, hope the Japan dates are real at least...