Friday, March 28, 2008

Review of Maroon 5's concert 25th March 2008, Singapore Indoor Stadium

To put it simply, I have mixed feelings about the show.

First, let me say that I am a big fan of their music, and enjoy both their albums ( the angsty Songs About Jane, followed by the recently released uptempo It Won't Be Soon Before Long ).

And to be honest, part of the reason I wanted to see the band 'live' is to catch a glimpse of frontman Adam Levine, who's quite the hottie in their stylish music videos ( though I still like the minimalist - and very sexy - vid for This Love the most ).

The concert itself didn't disappoint as a performance. The guys displayed high energy and flawless musicianship, and plowed through a large number of crowd-pleasers from both albums.

The repertoire was as follows:

From Songs About Jane - Harder To Breathe ( the opening number ), This Love ( their biggest hit to date ), Shiver, Sunday Morning, She Will Be Loved ( the closing piece during the encore ).

From It Won't Be Soon Before Long: If I Never See Your Face Again, Makes Me Wonder, Little Of Your Time ( 1st encore song ), Wake Up Call, Won't Go Home Without You, and Can't Stop.

Did they do Nothing Lasts Forever? I can't remember...

My favourites would have to be:

Little Of Your Time - Didn't think they'd sing this, since it hasn't really charted on radio playlists yet. But when they trotted it out for the first encore performance, I was ECSTATIC! :)
This is my absolute fave on the IWBSBL album -- probably the shortest track ( just over 2 min ), but packs a real punch with its infectious melody, cheeky lyrics ( e.g. 'Please don't leave / Stay in bed / Touch my body instead' ), and a pumping rhythm.
I used my digital cam to record the whole thing on video mode, woohoo! ( Rules were extremely lax at this event -- everyone was snapping photos and recording the show without any regulation. )

Won't Go Home Without You - Anything that's inspired by Sting has my stamp of approval ( haha ). Maroon 5 has often credited the former for influencing the sound on this piece ( one of their best on the album ), and the crowd responded beautifully when Levine stopped at one point to direct the microphone at the audience.
8000 concertgoers roared the chorus right back at him ( 'It's not over tonight / Just give me one more chance to make it right / I may not make it through the night / I won't go home without you' ).
The guys LOVED it! :)

She Will Be Loved - I enjoyed this number mainly because it was the only "acoustic" performance of the night. After more than an hour of mind-numbing and ear-deafening noise which drowned out Levine's vocals ( no thanks to the sound crew ), this was perhaps the first instance we managed to hear him clearly. And frankly, I would've been very happy if the entire show had been done this way ( after all, I rank Jason Mraz's 2-man performance at 2006's Mosaic Music Festival among my top 3 favourites of all time ).
In my opinion, this was the moment where Levine truly shone, and his good friend, guitarist James Valentine, infused the song with just the right mix of melancholy and sexiness as he accompanied on the strings.

Magical bit? This is it. :)

I really enjoyed the crowd that evening - young and old ( from kids to an old chap with a walking aid seated next to me ), super-enthusiastic ( many ran to the front of the stage when the lights went down signalling the start of the show ), and surprisingly polite ( despite the presence of many Ah Lians and Ah Bengs ).

My main grouses: that it ended too soon ( 75 minutes only!? ), the lack of banter, and the poor sound system ( The Police sounded fantastic last month, so is it a crew issue? ) -- the last screwed up my cochlea so badly Levine's voice was hilariously chipmunk-like from the 2nd song onwards. Thankfully, when I played back my video recording at home, he sounded normal.

One unexpected outcome of this is the fact that I don't find Levine as sexy as I originally thought. He's very photogenic and looks great in pictures - especially when he's well-groomed and dressed in a stylish suit. He looked terrible when he shaved his head bald for an awards ceremony performance last year ( either the Grammys or American Music Awards ), and appeared weatherbeaten and very sloppy on Tuesday ( he wore a plain white T-shirt and tight black jeans, while the rest of his band members also opted for equally casual attire ). Don't think I've witnessed such disappointing dress sense at a high-profile concert in quite a while ( I mean, Sting wore a black T-shirt-and-jeans ensemble, but looked suave and neat! ).

As for raw sex appeal, let's just say that Sting beats Levine hands down, despite being twice his age and standing still plucking at his guitar most of the time. Maybe I'm just getting older - I'm 4 years Levine's senior - but then again, it doesn't explain why I think Jason Mraz is sexy too.

I confuse even myself. :D

A Little Spot Of Action

Was involved with the mini-mass casualty incident on Monday afternoon, where a fellow was pepper-sprayed and 20 others suffered off-gassing effects.

Couldn't believe my crappy luck when the SCDF call came in, while our ER was swamped by the morning and early afternoon Monday crowd ( not to mention a severe bed shortage problem due to the ongoing MBBS exams ).

I'm not going to mince my words here -- it was a NIGHTMARE. A lot of manpower was diverted to decontaminating and treating the casualties, and I spent a couple of hours sorting out my patient, who happened to be the index case ( i.e. the one who got sprayed and was found frothing from the mouth at the scene ).

Waiting times in the P3 area stretched to 6 hours by 10pm, and I still can't understand why no-one had the common sense to go elsewhere for treatment of minor ailments like a simple cough / cold, with a significant number presenting with symptoms that have been around for weeks to months!

The night shift had a terrible time, working non-stop till 5-6am before managing to clear the backlog. I couldn't even stay back to help out, having to start at 8am the next morning ( I had a total of 4 hours' sleep that night 'cos I got home late and had trouble winding down ).

I remember a lecture given by an emergency physician from London some time ago, when he spoke about the terrorist bombings that rocked the city back in 2005. He mentioned how many patients at the various ERs, upon hearing about the disaster, took the initiative of cancelling their registrations and seeking medical attention at GP clinics, so as to free up resources at major hospitals.

Looks like Singaporeans lack such consideration for the plight of others. If the country ever suffers a major terrorist attack or some other urban mass casualty event, WE ARE DEAD.

This is not an exaggeration.

American Idol Top 10 Week

David Archuleta is now part of the Top 9, and although 2 of the judges didn't know the song he performed ( You're The Voice by John Farnham ), I'm actually familiar with the piece, since my secondary school days at least ( local radio likes to play it ).

I thought David did a great job, nothing like a "theme park performance" as Simon Cowell suggested.

But I'm also beginning to develop a soft spot for rocker dude David Cook, who blew me away with his rendition of Billie Jean. If anyone should be in the finals, it's the 2 Davids.

Videos To Enjoy

After an energy-sapping week, I'm spending my rare day off savouring more YouTube gems.

John Lloyd Young

A gorgeous Jersey Boys medley from the 2006 Tony Awards show. I often think back to October 17th 2007 -- an evening that changed my life forever, as I sat entranced in the centre of the 5th row, able to pick out every facial feature of the 4 leads, wishing I could watch the show again even before the performance had reached intermission.

Here's a hilarious 'madlib' version of Can't Take My Eyes Off You. Get a load of the modified lyrics ( 'let me jump / flagellate you', 'I want to do your taxes so much', and all that name-dropping - Sammy Davis, Jr, Jamie Lynn Spears, and the clincher - 'I thank God I'm a dominatrix' )!

I still read JLY's blog regularly. He provides interesting tidbits about Broadway and his own personal life. I really should find time to write back and thank him for those autographed pictures ASAP.

David Archuleta

Doing You're The Voice from this week's episode. Just listen to that powerful voice!

And for the icing on the cake...

Companion Videos from Jimmy Kimmel and Sarah Silverman

I've been reading about these for a few weeks, and finally got to watch them.

Here's Sarah's video ( I couldn't get the high-def version to work, so here's a blurry alternative ).

And here's Jimmy's rebuttal - the YouTube links don't work for me, so here's another link.

Come ON - Jimmy's is better by a loooong mile, right? Love that We Are The World tribute, featuring megastars like Cameron Diaz, Robin Williams and Harrison Ford, as well as Don Cheadle, Huey Lewis and Lance Bass ( from NSync ). Really love the fact that Josh Groban has a big part in this segment! :)

Look at the insane number of hits on YouTube!

Am grateful for life's simple pleasures. I've been to hell and back this week, and more burnt out than ever. More next time.

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