I reached Singapore Expo at about 6pm to catch the shuttle bus to Changi Exhibition Centre initially thinking that I was two hours early to the concert, which was slated to begin at 8pm.
With the shuttle bus line snaking the perimeters of one of Expo’s building (which is huge), I opted for an Uber ride instead thinking, “Hey, at least I’ll have time for another pre-show beer.”
Fast forward to an hour later and I’m still in my ride, stuck in traffic and late to the venue.
I reached the show grounds just in time to catch GnR ripping through not their first, but third song, “Welcome To The Jungle”.
While it was somewhat surreal to see the trio of lead singer Axl Rose, top-hat toting lead guitarist Slash and bassist Duff McKagan strut the stage nearly three decades after their debut album “Appetite For Destruction” shot them into super-stardom, the band easily proved they still had the chops to wow a 50,000-strong crowd.
All the big hits were there, from the evergreen singalong “Sweet Child Of Mine” to the tender ballad “Patience”, and right up to much-anticipated “Paradise City” closer.
Slash’s solos on his iconic Les Paul were a fierce counterpoint to rhythm guitarist Richard Fortus’ tightly controlled sweep-picking, while Duff’s growling bass tones lit a fire under the band’s harder tracks. The years may have put a slight damper on Axl’s vocal range but you could hardly tell with all the fans singing and shrieking along.
For a band once known for being the epitome of rock-and-roll excess and DGAF attitude, Axl was almost polite in his interactions with the audience – something which was just as surprising as how good the band sounded despite their time out of the limelight.
Overall, it was a rock show well worthy of the band’s legendary status and one that would put many younger acts to shame. I guess having that gym backstage must have paid off after all.
While LAMC Productions is surely not to be blamed for all of the woes, it does raise the question as to whether such problems are bound to happen with any large-scale show held at a venue as remote as Changi Exhibition Centre.
Better communication between organisers and attendees may be the key to resolving such issues.
It’s my guess that the people most annoyed by the logistical SNAFUs were also the ones who attended the show more out of curiosity than as hardcore fans. If you were there just for the music, I doubt you left disappointed.
As one friend in Pen B said to me after the show, “I overheard this guy next to me asking, ‘Are these guys a new band?'”
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