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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 23 October 2018

Singapore F1: Liam Gallagher and The Killers deliver a night of rock thrills 

The two artists headlined the pre and after-race concert as part of the racing festivities

The Killers perform on stage during Day 2 of the Singapore F1 Grand Prix at Marina Bay Street Circuit on September 15, 2018. Rob Loud / Getty Images
The Killers perform on stage during Day 2 of the Singapore F1 Grand Prix at Marina Bay Street Circuit on September 15, 2018. Rob Loud / Getty Images

It was rock ‘n’ roll night at the Singapore Grand Prix on Saturday.

As part of the big race’s entertainment festivities, both The Killers and Liam Gallagher formed a formidable double bill. While Gallagher took the stage for the sunset concert, the American band performed after the Formula One race's qualifying event.

Both groups of artists delivered the goods with strong sets delving heavily into their respective latest albums in addition to some all-time favourite material.

Liam Gallagher keeps it real

When it comes to rock ‘n’ roll, you are either an actor or a believer, and there is no doubt where the Gallagher lies.

Ever since Oasis explosively broke up before a festival show in Paris in 2009, the group’s brash frontman simply picked up his tambourine and shakers and formed the spin-off group Beady Eye. When that group went stale after two albums he went solo and struck gold with the debut effort, last year’s As You Were.

In a sense, there isn’t too much difference between Gallagher’s latest songs and the ones he belted out with Oasis and Beady Eye. Only this time, they sounded more polished with Gallagher’s voice just that bit more soulful.

Hence, this is what made his live shows such a success. The tracks from all his projects seamlessly work together to deliver a strong concert experience. It also serves as a testament to the strength of As You Were that the tracks match up with the classic material from Oasis.

The set list was almost identical to the Gallagher’s rowdy show last November at Party in The Park in Dubai’s Media City.

However, at that time As You Were was only two months old and Gallagher was still getting his head around playing the new material live.

Nearly a year later and with more than a hundred shows under his parka jacket, the songs sound even better with the backing band more free to add their own embellishments to the mix – there is a funkier bass line here and dramatic piano strings there.

In fact, Gallagher’s troupe of young musicians are also responsible for giving the Oasis classics a new lease on life.

Where the original group were getting sloppier live towards the end – the constant bickering of both Liam and his brother Noel off-stage surely did not help matters – Gallagher’s new band have managed to capture the vitality of Oasis from the 90’s period.

The storming Rock ‘n’ Roll Star sounded glorious while Some Might Say sounded more limber than the usual Oasis treatment.

They would have sounded like a strong cover band if it wasn’t for Gallagher’s famous snarl.

While his voice was full of the requisite attitude for the Oasis tracks, it only seemed to falter when tackling the material from As You Were and there is a reason for this.

Some of the new tracks such as the beautiful power ballad For What’s It Worth and the shimmering Universal Gleam demand a more subtle vocal take – something that Gallagher is more than happy to deliver in the studio.

But when it comes to the live show, Gallagher does away with such finesse and simply belts out the tunes with as much as venom as possible.

Perhaps it is a matter of principle for Gallagher. A live show is meant to be big and loud, and Gallagher – ever the believer – delivered it with gusto.

The Killers embrace their flamboyance

The Las Vegas group always knew they are destined for bigger things. That is not arrogance, it’s just that their anthemic brand of synth pop always demanded a larger stage.

Where the flamboyance of early tours promoting their now classic 2004 debut album Hot Fuss seemed rather grating, their arena status allows them to embrace better their love for a rock spectacle.

At the Singapore F1’s large makeshift stage and with over 40,000 people in attendance, the band were in their element.

Well, what’s left of the band. With half of the group, lead and bass guitarists Dave Keuning and Mark Stoermer sitting this world tour out, it was up to front man Brandon Flowers, drummer Ronnie Vannucci Jr and their large backing band to fly the flag.

But the crowd didn’t feel short-changed at all.

With large production values including surreal images and lots of neon lights – the band is from Las Vegas after all – they delivered a colourful show in the best sense.

The super-sized backing band – featuring a pair of powerful singers and players who are also able to also contribute vocally – allowed the new tracks from The Killer’s latest return-to-form album Wonderful Wonderful to sound grand.

The Man had a funk swagger that bordered on the ridiculous if it weren't for Flower’s tongue-in-cheek singing style.

Run for Cover’s delicious pop was given even more pomp courtesy of the backing vocalists and rather garish synth riffs.

Despite their penchant for epic sounds, The Killers also know when to dial it down a notch. This was best exemplified in their taut treatments of their old favourites. Somebody Told Me was lean yet aggressive, and For Reasons Unknown was powered by its utterly propulsive bass lines.

It all went on to form a sparkling 90-minute show that kept moving at all times.

Stay tuned to Arts and Culture for all the latest music action from the Singapore F1.

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