Concert Review: Sing50
By now, a single look at the name Sing50 ought to get you speculating that this is yet another SG50 event… and you’re not wrong.
Held at the National Stadium during the Jubilee Weekend on Aug 7, the 150-minute long concert extravaganza celebrated 50 years of Singapore music. Popular artistes from the 5 decades of Singapore music – Jeremy Monteiro, Dick Lee, JJ Lin, Stefanie Sun, and emerging talents – Reuby, Dru Chen and ShiGGa Shay were among the star-studded line-up that evening.
As with almost every SG50-related project, the use of the number 50 wasn’t spared. But amongst all the admittedly try-hard attempts at integrating SG50 into anything and everything possible (see: #simisaialsosg50), this concert was most appropriate for the overused tag, and memorable for the right reasons.
Here were 5 (alas, not 50) highlights of the Sing50 concert:
1. The Sing-Along Session
Prepping the crowd for the musical evening with a pre-concert sing-along was a 1,000-strong community choir. “Singai Naadu”, “Moonlight In The City (城裡的月光)” by Mavis Hee and “Glasshouse” by The Sam Willows were some of the iconic Singapore songs introduced. Each song had a story of its own to how it became iconic.
Most of us (regardless race, language or religion) know how to sing each and every word of “Munnaeru Vaalibaa”, the Tamil song that’s sung at almost every year’s National Day Parade. But have you heard of “Singai Naadu”?
“Singai Naadu”, this other Tamil song, sings about the diversity of races coming together in unity, a Singapore story. It was performed at the National Day Parade in 2012.
2. A Tapestry Of Music
Young and old were taken on a musical journey through the nation’s rich music heritage. The concert showcased the 4 official languages and various music genres – from rock and roll in the 60s all the way to rap tunes evident in the present-day music scene – such as rock song “Be My Girl” performed by The Pinholes and Vernon Cornelius, and “Why You So Like Dat?”, a rap song by THELIONCITYBOY, ShiGGa Shay and many more. The songs perfectly accentuated the multi-racial nation we live in.
There was even a tribute medley to Xinyao, performed by acapella group, MICapella. These were Mandarin folk songs from the 80s composed and sung by young Singaporeans back then who were still schooling.
Names like Eric Moo and Dr Liang Wern Fook would be synonymous with the Xinyao movement as some of the pioneers who paved the way for young Singaporean singer-songwriters today.
With the many genres, languages and music eras, it seemed inevitable that at some point during the concert, different singers resonated with different groups of people in the audience. For example, “Yang Gerek” – A segment showcasing a medley of Malay hits by singers Sezairi, Rahimah Rahim and several other singers, resonated well with the Malay audience who were seen grooving to the music.
Well, not so much with those who couldn’t speak the language, though. It seemed a little overwhelming for some as they left their seats, headed for somewhere else.
3. A Moving Tribute
Performed by piano virtuoso Lang Lang and the Metropolitan Festival Orchestra, the 3-movement concerto “Toccata/Elegy/Fantasy on Geylang Sipaku Geylang” composed by Kelly Tang was of a mellower disposition..
A hush resonated through the venue as the audience looked on, some teary-eyed, at the video montage that played in the background – in memory of the country’s late founder Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew during the second of the 3-movement concerto, “Elegy”. It was possibly the most emotional segment that evening.
4. The Crowd Favorites
Lifting the somber mood was local songbird Stefanie Sun who took the stage next in an elaborate sparkling green outfit, serenading the crowd with her popular Mandarin-Hokkien song “Cloudy Day (天黑黑)”.
With other artistes like Dick Lee, JJ Lin and 70s household sweetheart, Tracy Huang who were on stage earlier, they seemed to be the crowd favorites of the concert as they received the loudest cheers and applause that evening.
The enthusiastic crowd even took out their phones to create a sea of white lights as the singers belted out several of their hit songs – “Fried Rice Paradise”, “River South (江南)” and “Feelings” respectively.
5. Majulah Singapura
The walk down the memory lane of music ended with a finale of over 1,200 singers on stage singing to favorite tunes like “Kopi O” and “Roses”. And what’s an SG50 concert without singing along to the National Day classic “Home”, led by the composer himself, Dick Lee?
It was a sight to behold when everyone rose from their seats and sang along patriotically as the concert drew to a close with a stirring rendition of the National Anthem performed by all the singers on stage.
In that moment, as corny as it sounds, it really felt like One People, One Nation, One Singapore.
Tell us what you think of the Sing50 concert in the comments below!
Photos courtesy of Sing50