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Best of East and West rock the F1 Padang stage

Elizabeth Soh
Singapore Showbiz
23 September 2012

Jay Chou rocks the Padang stage (Yahoo! Photos/ Nick Tan)
Jay Chou rocks the Padang stage (Yahoo! Photos/ Nick Tan)

The Best of East and West were out rocking Singapore's Formula One Padang race over the weekend in the form of Jay Chou and Maroon 5.

Fans turned up in the thousands for the standing-room only performances way before the concerts were due to start, and anticipation was as palpable as electricity in the humid evening air.

East..

Mando-pop prince Jay Chou kick-started the star-studded extravaganza on Friday night, bursting onto stage with an electronic number complete with futuristic graphics and yelling, "Singapore, who am I?"

While such a confident (some say cocky) arrival may have been followed by embarrassment for a less popular act, the thundering cheers of "Zhou Jie Lun" in response from the pumped up crowd was testament to Chou's enormous following and star factor.

The consummate performer played the crowd like a fiddle, crooning poignant ballads "Kai Bu Liao Kou" (Can't say the words), "Qian Li Zi Wai" (Thousands of Miles away) and "Qing Hua Ci" (Blue and White porcelain) to roars of approval from the audience.

The revellers - mainly locals in their 20s and older with many still in their office wear, were clearly nostalgic - swaying to the mellow hip hop beats interspersed with traditional Chinese orchestra elements and singing along to the complicated lyrics without missing a word.

Bad-boy Chou? ..

33-year-old Chou's last major concert here in Singapore was two years ago - and the previously slightly sensitive, reticent Taiwanese star seems to have had a personality make-over since then.

Sporting a muss of bedhead hair and a five o' clock stubble, the new-born bad boy was self-possessed and smiled (or rather smirked) his way through banter with the audience, sending more than a few hearts a-flutter by the sounds of the screams of " MARRY ME! " and "I LOVE YOU!" from the front of the Padang's Fan-zone more often associated with teeny-bopper K-pop concerts.

Jay gets cheeky with Grid Girls (Yahoo! Photos/ Nick Tan)
Jay gets cheeky with Grid Girls (Yahoo! Photos/ Nick Tan)

Chou's roguish new persona was spotted at it's best when he performed "Super Sports Goddess", arriving in a Ferrari Enzo supercar and gyrating with super-sexy grid girls in a tribute to the race.

Throughout the song, his cheeky grin never left his mug, especially during a series of very suggestive solo dances with the "goddesses" in question.

The Mando-pop prince represents with Huo Yan Jia from "Fearless" (Yahoo! Photos/ Nick Tan)
The Mando-pop prince represents with Huo Yan Jia from "Fearless" (Yahoo! Photos/ Nick Tan)

The hour-long concert seemed to end in a flash with a series of high-energy hits like kungfu-inspired "Shuang Jie Gun" (Nunchuks) and  "Huo Yan Jia" from the soundtrack of Jet Li's "Fearless" movie - but end with a bang it did, with the whole field on its feet screaming and jumping along to the catchy chorus.

West...

Adam Levine and Maroon 5 rock it up at the Padang (Getty Images/ Chris McGarth)
Adam Levine and Maroon 5 rock it up at the Padang (Getty Images/ Chris McGarth)

After Chou's spectacular start to the three-day music fest, the crowd to Maroon 5's sell-out second day concert seemed slightly more subdued starting off but was no less entertaining.

Die hard fans were camped out to secure seats at the front of the Fan-zone as early as 6 pm, five hours ahead of the performance, armed with fan-boards and face paint.

Enthusiastic fans jumped to the beats of Maroon 5 (Getty Images/ Chris Mc Garth)
Enthusiastic fans jumped to the beats of Maroon 5 (Getty Images/ Chris Mc Garth)

The audience dynamic was different - younger and more international, but the energy still infectious - the force of Maroon 5's non-stop reign on radio hits was clearly a force to be reckoned with.

Lead singer Adam Levine made the most of the 70-minute gig, cramming in all the band's hit songs, from slower, more intense tunes of "Sunday Morning" and "She Will be Loved", to the more upbeat "Moves like Jagger" and "Payphone", which have been two of the most played summer-time hit songs the past year.

The charismatic singer worked the crowd a charm, making eye contact with fans and zipping to and fro the stage as he crooned his heart out, hitting all the right notes musically and literally.

Adam Levine charms the crowd (Getty Images/ Chris McGrath)
Adam Levine charms the crowd (Getty Images/ Chris McGrath)

A cheeky surprise for those in the field came in a pop-reference to Korean singer PSY's mega-hit Gangnam style -  "Oppa Gangnam Style" boomed out just before the band broke into the catchy whistles of "Moves like Jagger" - earning appreciative laughs from the audience.

Levine's solo guitar riffs also wowed, as well as his accoustic, stripped down rendition of emo hit song "She Will Be Lobed" with guitarist James Valentine.

The band's signature hybrid R&B and rock sound complemented the atmosphere of the arena perfectly - fast enough to keep the thousands of tired fans going and easy to sing along - so much so that when the band left the stage at 12 am, the disappointed chorus of "Come Back" from the fans brought them bouncing back on stage for another precious 15 minutes.

By the end of Sunday night, one thing was clear about this year's Formula One concert performances - 70 minutes was just not enough to pack all that talent and star-power for full enjoyment - we were all left wanting more.

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