Thursday, May 05, 2011

Singapore Shuffle

Now that I am firmly planted in the recovery ward, I can, as promised, fill you in on the recent Singapore trip.

As expected, it was really nice to be there for more than six hours.  Many people here have little or no interest in Singapore because it is such an oft visited site.  Since I'd never gotten out of the downtown area, I couldn't really tell you what else was there before. This Singapore rehash will be a two-potentially-three-parter I imagine as I try to keep my posts a reasonable length.

I left for Singa on Friday and made the flight by the skin of my teeth as the taxi driver insisted it was terminal three more persistently than I said it was terminal two.  To which we went to the wrong terminal and then I made him take me, fare free, to the correct terminal.  Luckily, the plane was actually at terminal three so after checking in at terminal two and going through security we all had to bus on over to the plane.  Don't ask me.  The only customs center is at Terminal two but the parking spaces are at terminal three.  Welcome to flying budget airlines in Jakarta.

Upon arrival, I headed to the hostel, had the same conversation three times with three different people about my reservations before I got a key and left my bag to head to the concert.  This concert was the catalyst for the trip.  Erin asked if I would be interested in seeing John Legend and (her favorite) Imogen Heap on Saturday.  After looking at the line up I immediately decided that I must also go for Friday as Bob Dylan and Michael Franti and Spearhead were playing.  I'm not a Dylan fan to be honest, but he's 69 and going to die soon.  Now I can say I saw him.  On the other hand, I am a huge HUGE Michael Franti and Spearhead fan.

The concert was strategically located between the Singapore Flyer (think London Eye/huge Ferris Wheel) and the waterfront, a placed called Marina Promenade.  The show is called Rock and Roots; its in its second year.  Attendance each night was probably 400-600, but I'm lousy at estimating that kind of thing.  Compared to Bumbershoot in Seattle it was small and cozy.
Singapore Flyer lit up right above the stage

Pros:  The venue was small, lots of toilets, sufficient food stall, multiple beer stalls to control lines, easy crowd flow, great stage view from the right side, big video screens, breezes from the ocean.

Cons: Lousy line of sight and acoustics on the left side, large VIP section that was cordoned off, Dylan requesting the video screens be shut off.

Dylan was awful.  One part him, one part poorly adjusted acoustics.  I nearly fell asleep during his show and only endured it to get to the performer after. After Dylan many of the VIP folks left and at Franti's request, they opened the front section up for the real fans.  I spent the nearly two hours of his show at the front bar, jumping around like crazy.  By the end I was drenched in sweat and couldn't wipe the smile off my face.  His positivity and joyful sound are contagious.  He was out in the crowd, walking through and high fiving everyone.  He brought people on to the stage. He brought two other performers from earlier in the night out to play.  It was an AMAZING show. To think, only two years ago I had no idea who they were.  I stumbled upon them at the Bumbershoot Festival of 2009.
Michael Franti and Spearhead were kicking off their world tour here.  This is the logo.
Michael Franti glows from the inside out.
Saturday was fun because my friend Erin, her friend Loni, Loni's friend Kevin and my friend Alysson all joined me for the show.  We divied up a bottle of duty-free vodka in mixers before the show and trouped in.  We weren't especially transfixed by the music the way I'd been the night before. The notable exception was Erin when Imogen Heap was on.  I really enjoyed the music of Trombone Shorty, an up-and-coming artist with energy to spare and a hot body.
Trombone Shorty.  Look at those guns.
Alright dear reader.  I'll leave you there and carry on in the next installment.  If you are interested to see me in the same photo as Michael Franti go to  Go to the gallery and click on April 15, 2001.  Then you'll have to scroll through to a photo of Franti in the crowd.  Look on the right at the tall shirtless guy and see if you can find me between him and Michael.  If anyone can tell me how to steal that photo, I'd be grateful!

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