The annual Singapore Grand Prix concerts, which started in 2008, have steadily grown to become some of the biggest shows in the country’s concert calendar – sometimes generating more buzz than the high-octane action of F1 drivers and cars whizzing around the Circuit Park track.
The massive Padang stage alone pulls in up to 65,000 music fans, drawn to marquee pop stars that range from contemporary chart-toppers to crowd-pleasing evergreen acts. The Straits Times picks 10 highlights from the F1 concerts over the years.
1 MARIAH CAREY, 2010
Mariah Carey performing at the SingTel Singapore Grand Prix Concert 2010. ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM
R&B and pop diva Mariah Carey took a tumble on stage and landed on her behind after a few songs at her Padang set. But rather than leave the stage embarrassed, she proved that she could laugh at herself and joked that she fell on purpose.
She later blamed her $10,000 high-heel shoes, but also kept her 35,000 fans happy with a string of hits that range from early favourites such as Emotions (1991) to later tunes such as Shake It Off (2005).
2 LINKIN PARK, 2011
Linkin Park’s Chester Bennington performing at the SingTel Singapore Grand Prix Concert 2011. PHOTO: ST FILE
It was American rock band Linkin Park’s third concert in Singapore, but this show will always be remembered as the last time singer Chester Bennington performed here.
The 41-year- old frontman, known for his kinetic live performances, tragically took his own life two months ago, six years after his Singapore appearance.
Playing an energetic set in front of 50,000 fans, it was the band’s second time performing at the Padang – they played their debut Singapore show at the same venue in 2004.
3 JAY CHOU, 2012
Jay Chou performing at the SingTel Singapore Grand Prix Concert 2012. PHOTO: ST FILE
Mandopop prince Jay Chou ruled the Friday night entertainment segment at the 2012 Grand Prix with a sizzling performance that included him pulling out a snazzy red sportscar on stage while singing, aptly, The Goddess Of Racing. The 35,000 fans who turned up did not seem to mind the fact that the one-hour show was shorter than his regular sets, as Chou filled it with crowd-pleasing hits such as Nunchucks (2001), The Era (2010) and Exclamation Point (2011).
4 JUSTIN BIEBER, 2013
Justin Bieber performing at the SingTel Singapore Grand Prix Concert 2013. PHOTO: SINGAPORE GP
2013 was special for F1 entertainment offerings as it was the only year that the Padang concerts spilled over to the Monday after the weekend races.
Featuring a headline set by no less than Justin Bieber (right), one of the biggest names in the contemporary pop world, the 12,000 mostly young fans were more than happy to party with their idol on a school night.
5 BIG BANG, 2013
Taeyang, a member of Korean boyband Big Bang, performing at the SingTel Singapore Grand Prix Concert 2013. PHOTO: THE NEW PAPER
One of South Korea’s biggest boybands played a scorching set for 35,000 fans waving yellow light-sticks.
Taeyang rapped about having Nando chicken and chilli crab in Singapore while other members, T.O.P, G-Dragon, Daesung and Seungri, all had their solo moments in the spotlight.
6 RIHANNA, 2013
Rihanna performing at the SingTel Singapore Grand Prix Concert 2013. ST PHOTO: NEO XIAOBIN
The 65,000-strong crowd that turned up to see Barbadian star Rihanna (below) sing at the Padang stage was one of the largest audiences at a pop concert held here.
Riri, as she is affectionately known, did not disappoint, strutting stylishly around the massive stage and performing monster hits ranging from the euphoric dance rave of We Found Love(2011)to catchy earworms such as Umbrella (2007). The snazzy lasers and dazzling pyrotechnics also turned the gig into a big dance party .
7 MAYDAY, 2014
Lead guitarist Stone (left) and lead vocalist Ashin of Taiwanese band Mayday performing at the Singapore Airlines Singapore Grand Prix Concert 2014. ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG
Taiwanese rock kings Mayday pulled out all the stops for their F1 show – from their infamously long sets stretching more than two hours to making sure the 40,000 fans in the crowd had programmed light-sticks that would shine in time with the music.
More importantly, the band trotted out all the anthems, ranging from ballads such as Suddenly Missing You So Much (2008) to fast-paced numbers such as Sun Wukong (2004).
8 ROBBIE WILLIAMS, 2014
Robbie Williams performing at the Singapore Airlines Singapore Grand Prix Concert 2014. PHOTO: BERITA HARIAN
The skies opened up moments before British singer Robbie Williams took to the Padang Stage, but his set was anything but washed out.
The former Take That star used the wet weather to his advantage, sliding and dancing across the wet stage and singing with glee while decked out in his drenched tuxedo. Inspired by his weather-resistant performance, the 50,000 outdoors crowd braved the elements too as they sang along to hits including Let Me Entertain You and Millennium (both 1998), and Rock DJ (2000).
9 PHARRELL, 2015
Pharrell Williams performing at the Singapore Airlines Singapore Grand Prix Concert 2015. PHOTO: SINGAPORE GRAND PRIX
American singer, producer and songwriter Pharrell is responsible for writing multiple hit songs – either his own or for other stars – but his performance in front of 50,000 fans showed that he was a consummate showman too.
The multi-Grammy winning taste-maker and fashion icon is probably one of the F1 Padang Stage’s most versatile headliners to date, with a wide-ranging setlist that included family-friendly fare such as gigantic pop hit Happy (2013) as well as edgy hip-hop/rock hybrids including Rock Star (2001) by his band N.E.R.D.
10 QUEEN + ADAM LAMBERT, 2016
Adam Lambert (left) and Queen performing at the Singapore Airlines Singapore Grand Prix Concert 2016. ST PHOTO: JAMIE KOH
Forty-six years after their formation, British rock royalties Queen finally played their first show in Singapore and brought to life songs from the rock canon such as Bohemian Rhapsody (1975), We Will Rock You (1977) and We Are The Champions (1977).
Never mind that the show featured only two members from the classic 1970s and 1980s line-up (guitarist extraordinaire Brian May and drummer Roger Taylor), their set was a grand and glitzy affair with American singer Adam Lambert putting on a flamboyant show in place of the late Freddie Mercury.
The biggest names at the F1 stages this year
The seven stages across the Circuit Park at Singapore’s 10th Formula One night race that runs from today to Sunday will, like previous years, host some of pop music’s most prominent names.
Here are five of the biggest crowd-pullers this weekend:
Where: Zone 4 Padang Stage When: Today, 10.10pm Fronted by famed hitmaker Ryan Tedder, American band OneRepublic has amassed multiple hits including Apologize, Counting Stars and Good Life in the last 10 years.
Pop princess Ariana Grande will be singing for the first time in Singapore tomorrow. PHOTO: REUTERS
Where: Zone 4 Padang Stage When: Tomorrow, 8pm The pop princess and social media icon made Time 100’s Most Influential People In The World last year and was also in the headlines after the terrorist attack at her concert in Manchester in May.
Known for hits such as Side To Side and Problem, both of which have clocked more than one billion views on YouTube, the 23-year-old American singer’s set will be her first in Singapore.
Where: Zone 4 Padang Stage When: Tomorrow, 10.15pm American dance music duo The Chainsmokers conquered the music charts in the past year with songs such as Closer and Don’t Let Me Down. Their F1 set will be the first time they are doing a full-length concert in Singapore.
Where: Zone 1 Village Stage When: Tomorrow, 8pm Where: Zone 4 Padang Stage When: Sunday, 6pm Evergreen English band Duran Duran might have scored their biggest hits in the 1980s and 1990s, but the stylish, best-selling quintet are still going strong and released their 14th album, Paper Gods in 2015.
Scottish DJ Calvin Harris will bring his music to the F1 on Sunday. PHOTO: CALVIN HARRIS / FACEBOOK
Where: Zone 4 Padang Stage When: Sunday, 10.25pm With a string of euphoric hits such as This Is What You Came For, Summer and I Need Your Love, Scottish DJ and producer Calvin Harris rose from electronic dance music scene trailblazer to becoming one of the mainstream pop music world’s biggest names.
It’s party time
As the Formula One Singapore Grand Prix celebrates its 10th year, the F1-themed parties have only gotten bigger and better.
For those looking for something to check out after the race, apart from the official off-track entertainment, The Straits Times suggests these parties to attend each night from today till Sunday.
Catch Acantha Lang at Boudoir Blanc. PHOTO: BOUDOIR BLANC
DJ Big Ali performed at Amber Lounge last year. PHOTO: AMBER LOUNGE
F1 Weekend at Atlas
With extended opening hours, no cover charge or minimum spend, Atlas, one of the hottest bars in Singapore, is an ideal place to kick off your F1 weekend – that is, if you can get a seat.
Along with the world-class cocktails and gin collection in the art deco space, there will be entertainment, courtesy of DJ Rah from Singapore-based label Darker Than Wax, who will be spinning tunes from 9pm to 2am.
Walk-ins are welcome, but may be subject to a waiting list. A limited number of reservations are available.
While the grand lobby bar is usually closed on Sundays, it is open especially for the F1 weekend from 3pm to 1am.
Where: Atlas Grand Lobby & Bar, Parkview Square, 600 North Bridge Road When: Today, 10am to 2am; tomorrow, 3pm to 2am; Sunday 3pm to 1am Info: www.atlasbar.sg, 6396-4466
Va Va Vroom! weekend at Lulu’s
If you are looking for a trackside escape, head to new kid on the block Lulu’s Lounge for a spot of burlesque, live jazz and drag queens.
Australian burlesque acts Lulu Liqeur and Lucy Lovegun take the stage tonight and tomorrow, just after midnight.
Where: Lulu’s Lounge, Pan Pacific Hotel, 7 Raffles Boulevard When: 9pm to 6am (today to Sunday) Admission: Tickets pre-booked from Peatix (go to peatix.com) cost $30 or $35 at the door tonight and tomorrow. Complimentary entry on Sunday Info: Go to www.lulus.sg or call 9829-1922
The ultra luxe original F1 afterparty celebrates 10 years at Singapore Grand Prix this year.
Up-and-coming 19-year-old British singer Raye, best known for her vocals on Jonas Blue’s smash hit By Your Side, will perform on both nights along with New York DJ Big Ali.
Tomorrow, catch the Formula One Driver Fashion Show, where Singaporean designer MAX.TAN will showcase womenswear pieces from its Spring/Summer 2017 and Fall/Winter 2017-2018 collection.
If you are heading down on Sunday, you might just run into celebrities and F1 drivers. Guests spotted there in previous years include F1 drivers Valtteri Botas and Sebastian Vettel and footballer David Beckham.
Where: Temasek Reflections, Millenia Walk, 1 Temasek Avenue When: Tomorrow and Sunday, 11pm till late Admission: Individual passes at $650 (tomorrow) and $1,200 (Sunday), which include open bar and access to all areas in the club, or various table packages ranging from shared classic tables at $1,000 (tomorrow) including unlimited bottle service, to Methusalem tables which include a prime position in the club, a 6L Methusalem bottle of champagne, 3L Jeroboam bottles of Vodka throughout the night, a personal table waitress, a private pavilion on the terrace and chauffeur service within Singapore at $31,000 for eight guests. Info: Go to amber-lounge.com, e-mail singapore@amber-lounge or call Amber Lounge’s Monaco number on 377-97 77-16 34
Johnnie Walker Grand Prix World
Circuit parties Johnnie Walker is celebrating five cities with five parties across five clubs in Singapore today and tomorrow.
Each club will be decked out in a theme according to the F1 host city it is celebrating and all parties will feature Johnnie Walker gold label.
Saturday’s parties will be held at Shanghai Dolly (Shanghai) and Magic Carpet (Abu Dhabi), but if you cannot make it for those, tonight’s parties will be held at Altimate (Monte Carlo), Baliza (Sao Paulo) and Zouk (Singapore).
Where: Shanghai Dolly, 3B Clarke Quay, River Valley Road; and Magic Carpet, 01-201 Diners Club Building, 7500E Beach Road, When: 10pm till late (Shanghai Dolly), 10.30pm till late (Magic Carpet) Admission: Shanghai Dolly: $25 for men (includes one drink), women enter free; Magic Carpet: $50 before 1am, $55 after Info: Call Shanghai Dolly on 6336-7676; and Magic Carpet on 6291-6009
Macy Gray will be performing at the Podium Lounge on Sunday. PHOTO: PODIUM LOUNGE
Podium Lounge On Sunday night only, catch the raspy, soulful vocals of American singer Macy Gray live at the ninth edition of the luxe, trackside party that is Podium Lounge. She will also be helming a DJ set.
Now back for its ninth year, the Podium Lounge – located just 200m away from the F1 Pit Building – attracts up to 3,000 guests every night.
Other performers include Pixie Geldof and former F1 driver Giancarlo Fisichella taking to the DJ decks (tonight) and rapper Coolio performing in Singapore for the first time (tomorrow).
Where: The Grand Ballroom – Level 1, The Ritz-Carlton, Millenia Singapore, 7 Raffles Avenue When: Today, tomorrow and Sunday, 10pm till late Admission: General admission: $188 pre-sale or $218 at the door, general admission with a bottle of champagne: $340 pre-sale and $370 at the door.
VIP tables range from $1,488 for four people, including one magnum of champagne and one bottle of vodka, to $28,888 for 25 people including four jeroboams of champagne, two rehoboams of vodka and meet and greet opportunities with artists and celebrity hosts. Info: podiumlounge.com/sg, firstname.lastname@example.org, 9459-5211
For a glamorous trackside party filled with themed cabaret performers and pumping music, hit up Boudoir Blanc.
Sunday’s theme is Twilight Zone, which promises a surreal and futuristic experience for guests that includes acrobatic acts, light projections and themed cocktails.
Expect to see ex-Moulin Rouge performer Miss Fallon Dee accompanied by emcee and chanteuse Acantha Lang and a special live set by French DJ-producer Klingande.
Where: The Clifford Pier, The Fullerton Bay Hotel, 80 Collyer Quay When: Tomorrow and Sunday, 10pm till late Admission: General admission: $200 tomorrow, $250 on Sunday and up to $800 for a two-day rockstar weekender pass that includes one bottle of champagne or six drinks a night. Info: www.boudoirblanc.vip. For VIP, rockstar table and Blanc Suite bookings, contact Madame Blanc at email@example.com
More Info: www.straitstimes.com