Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Collectibles #31: U2 - U2360° At The Rose Bowl Box Set (2010)

This is the super deluxe box set edition of U2's latest live concert release U2360° At The Rose Bowl. The main content is the full-length concert filmed in Pasadena, California, during their North American leg of the tour in 2009. Here are the full contents of the box set:

- Disc 1 (DVD): U2360° At The Rose Bowl concert
- Disc 2 (DVD): Bonus material
- Disc 3 (Blu Ray): U2360° At The Rose Bowl concert + bonus material
- Exclusive 7" single of the previously-unreleased song Soon
- 32-page hardback book
- Limited edition, numbered, large drawing of final stage design
- 5 x photograph prints
- U2360° tour programme
- 3 x U2360° guitar picks

The first two legs of the tour in 2009 saw all 44 concerts sell out and grossing US$311 million in the process, becoming the highest grossing tour of the year. The third leg of the tour was supposed to resume in June this year, but due to a back injury suffered by Bono, the band were forced to postpone the entire North American leg till 2011. The European shows were unaffected and went ahead in August.

And after that, they will be heading to New Zealand and Australia in November and December, and I WILL BE WATCHING THEM IN SYDNEY ON 13 DECEMBER! Since U2 will never come to Singapore, the only way to watch them live is to fly overseas to catch them. And I believe there's not better tour to watch them than this 360° Tour. The Claw! Looks damn impressive from the pictures already, imagine watching it up close. And Jay-Z will be opening the shows as well, so it's like two top artists for the price of one, good value for money!

Just to sidetrack a little, I'll be watching Linkin Park and Bon Jovi in Sydney as well, since they're all touring Australia during the summer. Woo hoo! Three top rock bands on one trip, it doesn't get any better than this. :)

I haven't watched the U2360° Tour At The Rose Bowl concert yet, and I don't think I want to watch it till I've seen the real thing. I prefer to be surprised and be properly awed for the first time. It should be a spectacular show.

For now, enjoy the pictures of the box set...

Sunday, October 03, 2010

Mariah Carey Live In Singapore @ F1

Who: Mariah Carey
What: F1 SingTel Grand Prix 2010
When: 26 September 2010
Where: Padang, Singapore

1. Obsessed
2. Emotions
3. Make It Happen
4. Dreamlover
(Intermission: Radikal Forze & DJ KoFlow DJ/B-Boy set)
5. It's Like That
6. One Sweet Day (with Trey Lorenz)
7. I'll Be There (with Trey Lorenz)
(Intermission: Trey Lorenz doing Rock With You; DJ KoFlow Michael Jackson set)
8. Touch My Body
9. Shake It Off
10. My All (segue to Spanish dance routine/intermission)
11. Always Be My Baby
12. We Belong Together
13. Hero

Mariah Carey zoomed into town recently for the third installment of the F1 race in Singapore, where she was the headlining act for the closing night.

She sauntered onto stage at 10:35pm and launched into Obsessed, the first single from her most recent studio album Memoirs Of An Imperfect Angel. She then turned back the clock and sang one of her earliest hits, Emotions, from 1991. For the first two songs, there were some technical problems, with the speakers cracking slightly, and the music overpowering Mariah's voice at times. However, she still managed to pull off those whistle notes towards the end of Emotions, albeit not as strongly as in 1991.

Between the two songs, she sounded breathless and panted heavily into the mic. Maybe she didn't expect the weather to be so hot, or perhaps the excess baggage she was carrying contributed to the breathlessness...

She then started to have some footwear problems and tried to take off her heels unsuccessfully, before finally deciding to go backstage, while asking the band to hit the next song. So the band played Make It Happen and the backup singers sang while Mariah was MIA for almost the whole song, before she emerged again at the end. That was when the incident happened.

As she returned to the stage, it turned out she didn't change her heels, but only changed her top to a white T-shirt that read "I Love You But". And as she strutted out while singing the ending portion of Make It Happen, Mariah tumbled. It was a bit hard to make out whether she really fell or whether she did it on purpose, because she didn't seem fazed by it at all. Maybe it's down to her professionalism that she made it seem natural and didn't make much of a deal about it, but she seemed like she was smiling as she was falling...

Watch the clip here:

But the most alarming thing was the way her dancers helped her up, like she was some helpless, wounded animal. My guess is that Mariah is really expecting a child, thus explaining her larger-than-life appearance and the need to be delicate with her. Hope she/the baby weren't hurt in the process.

After the incident, she brought back another "old school" hit in the form of Dreamlover, before disappearing backstage once more. DJ KoFlow and the B-Boy crew Radikal Forze were introduced, but their sudden appearance was a little puzzling and unexpected. They tried their best to entertain, but it was clear that they were not the ones the audience were there for, and the crowd started getting restless and booed. Poor fellas.

Mariah did finally emerge again after about 10 minutes, this time wearing a pink dress. Not exactly a very flattering look. After singing It's Like That, she took a rest on her diva couch, and backup singer/childhood friend Trey Lorenz joined her.

Mariah then explained that she hadn't performed the following song for years, but found out from the record label that it was a huge hit in Singapore, so she decided to sing it just for us. And so they sang One Sweet Day, with Trey standing in for Boyz II Men. It was just an abridged version though, as they later confessed that they hadn't rehearsed it beforehand.

For the next song, there was no standing in for anyone, as Mariah and Trey duetted on I'll Be There, their cover of the Jackson 5 #1 hit. Coincidentally, their version also reached #1 in 1992.

Mariah took yet another break and left the stage for Trey to sing Rock With You, which was dedicated to "the late, great Michael Jackson". DJ KoFlow came on once again and spinned a set of MJ songs.

It was another ten minutes before Mariah came back on to sing Touch My Body. After this, it was time to Shake It Off. She then sang My All, which had an extended outro, segueing into a Spanish dance routine featuring the two sexy ladies. Mariah of course, took the opportunity to slip backstage once more for another costume change, i.e. break.

When she returned, it was time for Always Be My Baby, which to me, was her best song of the evening. (I still prefer Mariah's original version compared to David Cook's reinvention by the way.) She then followed it with We Belong Together, her huge smash from 2005 and arguably one of her best songs ever. It was a good performance, and she bowed out after that.

The crowd chanted for an encore, and she obligingly returned (don't they all) for her signature tune Hero. She left the stage for good at about 10 minutes past midnight.

Closing Thoughts
This was my first Mariah concert, I missed her Rainbow Tour at the National Stadium in 2000. I wasn't that impressed by her singing that night because I know she was much better before. Her voice isn't as powerful as before, even though she could still reach most of the high notes. You could tell that her voice has aged (which is natural as people age), and it's of a slightly different tone and quality. I just wish I managed to catch her at her prime, which would have been around 1998.

That aside, Mariah has also become some sort of a loony character. Being a diva is one thing, but being a loony diva is a fatal combination. I shall not comment further about her appearance, but her onstage banter suggests she's not all right in her mind.

Choice quotes:
"They call me a diva, and yet I have to pour my own water."
"Ooh, a wine glass, lovely! If you didn't know, you might think that I'm drinking something else other than water. But it really is water, darling."

I hope that her (sub-par) performance this time was due to her being pregnant, and that she will regain some of her vocal prowess soon. She has built up an incredible career and catalogue of hits over the past 20 years and it will be a waste if it ends on a sad note.

Other News
In other news, Mariah will be releasing a new Christmas compilation titled Merry Christmas II You, a sequel to her best-selling 1994 Merry Christmas album. To drive the point home further, she even adopts the same pose and uses the same fonts for the new album!

And for the cover of the new single Oh Santa! (one of the four new songs penned by Mariah), she appears super slim. Either this picture was taken long ago, or the Photoshoppers have been working overtime...