The devil is in the details. You can prepare until the cows come home but ultimately there will always be something that you will have forgotten.
No, I’m not talking about taking A Levels, but prepping for our first concert Boys Like Girls at our Compass Ballroom in the Resorts World Sentosa Convention Centre.
Technically, this was not our concert as we only provided the venue to the organizer, Hype Records and Show Company, but this was our first real test on production set-up, staging and traffic flow for a concert. Sure we rocked; Boys Like Girls rocked; and girls fainted. But it was a madhouse all the way to the finish line.
photographed by Dominic Khoo
I wake up from a sleepless night, imagining the set-up, the rehearsals and then the event. All these kept running over and over in my mind like a broken record…or a scratched CD in year 2010. Will production be set-up in time for sound checks? Will there be enough tickets sold? Will fans get lost in the RWS parking lot or wander to other parts of the Resort? Will the artists and artist management have any special requests? And the list goes on and on and then repeats itself.
I arrive at the Compass Ballroom to find three little girls who have been waiting in line since 6am to enter the premises. Now that’s hardcore! (I wonder if their parents know? Flashback to when I was 14; Grace is in bed, snug as a bug dreaming away.) Whether it was kiasuism (local vernacular: a state of being afraid to lose), or just pure obsession, they intended to claim the first spot in line and hence, get the best spots for the concert, no doubt for optimal eye-contact with the young band members.
One hour later, and the queue has grown to seven. I politely ask them to leave as a VVVIP guest and his entourage are taking a guided tour of the RWS premises. And it just wouldn’t do to have a group of sleepy-eyed fan girls camped out at our Ballroom foyer. After much negotiation and promising that they could ‘chope’ (local vernacular: to reserve) their original places in line, they agreed to vacate the premises… for the moment.
50 kids are patiently sitting on the floor. Where did they come from? Isn’t today a school day?
As it is the norm in Singapore, the queue is very orderly and well-behaved. There were iPods and earphones buzzing—one might think you were at the library. I’m running around like a mad chicken sorting out ticketing for our own guests, talking with promoters that have come to see the venue and finalizing contracts for future shows. My stomach is growling and I can’t remember if I had even gone to the washroom.
The energy in the foyer has been consistently building up to fever pitch as the fan base can sense the clock ticking down to show time. It’s becoming infectious. The few tweens chaperoned by parents and 20-somethings in the crowd are no match for the waves of excited teenage girls chattering away. “Oh my god, I can’t wait to see Paul. He’s soooo cute.” In a chorus: “Girl don’t you say you love meeee, when you’re out the door…woahhh yeahhh!!!” Cue dizzy giggles.
The merchandise booth is doing a brisk business selling the band’s T-shirts to fans who immediately changed into them to show their love. Suddenly, the doors open and the crowd erupts into a collective shrill scream that still gives me goose bumps whenever I think back about it. Ah, Youth… The girl-mob quickly makes its way towards the stage plunking itself down in strategic spots along the way.
The excitement in the hall has reached such a level it is almost tangible. Hardcore fans have been screaming for the last hour and releasing enough energy to power Sentosa. Then, the band comes on to even more screams from their ardent fans, which now numbers in the thousands filling the ballroom nicely.
photographed by Dominic Khoo
“Top down in the summer sun. The day we met was like hit and run…” With the LED screens blazing behind them, the boys rock it and literally make young girls cry, gasp, faint and wake up, repeating the cycle over again.
And so this day of madness ends on a euphoric note.
There is a brief respite for the team, till the next big concert (hint: it’s gonna feature one of Singapore’s most beloved songstresses, who will be playing on Feb 16 to usher in the New Year) comes our way.
In the meantime, here’s wishing you a Happy Lunar New Year!