Il Divo released an album late last year, titled Amor y Pasion. The album is a compilation of popular Latin classics and the songs are all sung in Spanish, a deviation from all their other albums which consist of songs in a few different languages. When the tour to promote the album was announced, I was gutted that Singapore wasn’t on the list of cities they would perform in. Then suddenly, Hype Records Singapore announced that Il Divo would perform at the Star Performance Arts Centre on the 4th of April. Yippee!
It all happened so fast because the announcement from Hype Records was made only in late February, and the ticket sales opened about a week or two after the announcement. I had to move fast, to contact those Divas who had attended the previous concerts with me and who I knew wouldn’t mind travelling here to see the guys again. Then I had to rope in my daughter Mel to help get the ticket because I would be in a meeting when ticket sale start!
Even with us getting into the Sistic website to get tickets on the dot at 9am, the best seats in the middle section were either taken or blocked. Me and Vinz finally had to settle with seats in Section C, right side of the stage, in row F. Linda had purchased the same section and row and we managed to be seated together. At this point we were missing the 2 Thai Divotees, Natcha and Nonnie, who couldn’t make it here due to either work or personal reason. However, at the last minute, Natcha changed her mind, all thanks to a video clip of the recent concert in Latin America. The show was too special to give it a miss!
Closer to the date, the youngest Diva of the Thai Divotees, Tae, contacted me via the official forum to say she flying in for the concert. Then Norico texted me to say she would be attending with her family. Ah, the powers of Divas are banding together again after almost 2 years. Yay!
Tae asked if she could bring the LED board for the concert. I had to ask the venue people via email and a man called back to advise that no electronic or LED board is allowed at the venue, only A3 size and smaller cardboards are. I asked about giving flowers during concert but that is also a no-no. Whatever we wanted to give to the guys had to be passed to the ushers at the bag-check area. What a wet-blanket!
Anyway, the day quickly rolled by. I had more to look forward to besides the concert as I had a Genting Highlands trip planned on Wednesday. The concert happened on Monday evening, so I took the whole week off from work. I arranged for an early lunch for divas but unfortunately, only Tae could make it because both Linda and Natcha would only arrive on the day of the concert and Vinz had to work till 2.30pm. I didn’t ask if Norico would join us because she would be attending with her family.
Tae and I met at the Star Vista at around 11am and I took her up to the Box Office to collect her ticket. Even though we were early, we were allowed to stay inside the office where there is air-conditioning, unlike the common areas of the mall where there is not because the mall was built to be eco-friendly and only shops are air-conditioned. I asked the man some questions about the guys’ appearance at the venue and he said the artistes usually have sound check in the afternoon. He couldn’t tell us when the Divos would arrive but gave us as much suggestions as he could.
After collecting the ticket, we went to the stage door area. I knew that place because that was where I got Sebastien’s and Carlos’s autographs after the show during the previous concert. Tae wanted to stake out there but the weather was so hot and humid that I suggested we go up to the food court and find a place where we could sit and see the cars coming into the porch at the stage door. We both got a drink each to cool down and waited. We sat for about an hour or more, until more people came in for lunch from nearby offices, then we left and staked out at the stage door.
It was the longest wait of my life! Tae was so enthusiastic and anxious to meet them while I was feeling doubtful about the idea of waiting and waiting. What if we had already missed them because they had gone up via another entrance or via an elevator from the basement car park? Sebastien arrived in Singapore in the wee hours of the morning the day before (Sunday), and Urs arrived in the afternoon. They perhaps had their rehearsal on Sunday evening and didn’t need to come in early for sound check like the man in the Box Office suggested.
The weather was so warm and humid that I was glad when it rained, or rather, poured. It hadn’t been raining for weeks and suddenly when Il Divo descended on our land, it rained, both on Sunday and Monday. I tweeted to the guys that they brought the rain and thanked them for that.
There is no place to sit near the stage door, except on the divider that separates the porch and the road, or on the stone ledge surround the building, but you will get roasted like a pig on a bbq pit when the sun is out. We sat down now and then and when the rain came, we stood inside the building. The security people inside the stage door lobby area must think we were nuts, and that the woman in red must either be the silliest woman on earth or just a diehard fan because she was there even before most establishments were opened for business.
Linda joined us around 2pm. Tae was very persistent and stayed in the same spot all throughout the wait, while I took short walks inside the mall every now and then, sometimes contemplating giving up the wait because I had been standing around for about 5 hours since arriving at the mall. However seeing the determination on Tae’s face, I just couldn’t leave her alone. After all, she flew in from Thailand just to see the guys, the least I could do was wait with her.
While waiting, we saw crew members, security people and musicians entering and leaving the stage door area. I finally caught one lady and asked if she was with Il Divo. Nope, she wasn’t. Then I caught another and she said they hadn’t arrived yet. So the wait continued. Natcha finally turned up around 5pm and we begun to see some activity like 3 men dressed in black tees putting on their ear-piece and putting on another black tee with the word ‘Security’ printed at the back. The guys were coming! These men looked at us surreptitiously, probably sizing us up to make sure that they could handle us when the moment came.
A mini van finally arrived around 5.30pm. We walked forward and the security guys immediately formed a barricade. Urs was the first to alight from the van and I shouted his name as I moved forward again, stopping only when I was blocked by one of the security guys. Urs turned and shouted ‘Hello girls!’ and then strutted off. I plucked up my courage and shouted ‘Can we have a picture taken with you?’ but he kept going with a lady who came off the van with him. I managed to snap a picture of him strutting off. Oh well, there were still 3 more Divos so I turned my attention to them. Never mind that the security guys were probably either smirking at me or feeling sorry for me.
Urs showing me his royal butt…
Sebastien was the next to alight, then Carlos and David. Our group was too quiet so I called out to each of the guys. Sebastien was the one who approached us while David and Carlos hung back, smiling and saying hello to us. They probably figured since they had Sebastien holding the fort, they were ok to go. Sweet Sebby stayed and chatted with Tae who handled him the Thai boxing shorts she bought for each of them.
I was busy snapping pictures and when I saw Tae handing the stuff to Seb, I remembered the cards I had prepared for them. I walked up to him and told him I have a card for each of them and asked if he could help hand them to the other guys. He said of course and thanked us all with words and smiles. I think I fell in love with him at this point!!! Don’t get me wrong, although I am an Uber (or should I say ‘was’?), I always have a soft spot for Seb. Well, who doesn’t?
(Seb holding on to the cards and gifts that Tae and I presented to him)
After Seb left, we went to have dinner and talked about our encounter with the Divos. I was still smarting from the way Urs just strutted off even as I called after him for a photo, so I tweeted his butt picture and told him that I was disappointed because after 7 hours of waiting, that was all I got of him. Yes, I am outspoken at times.
The concert started late. There was no sale of merchandises like previous concerts which was a disappointment. Linda, Vinz and I sat on the right section (Section C) of the hall, row 4. Natcha was sat a few rows behind us. Tae was in Section A and could be seen standing and clapping most of the time. It was a shame that she forgot to bring the banner she had made for the concert or the guys would definitely notice her and acknowledge her. We met Norico and her family outside the concert hall before the show and she was seated in Section A, the same area where she and her family sat during the previous concert.
Before the show started, ushers went round the hall flashing boards with No Photography and No Videography signs at the audience. Then the musicians took to the stage, all very young, except for the maestro, the musical director (the drummer, can’t remember his name) and guitarists (I think…). Cue intro…
Then it began. The guys appeared at the top of the stage set (you know how their stage setting always has raised platform and stairs) to applause. It seems that the middle section, Section B, was filled with VIPs in front. Quite a few audience further back in that section was shouting and whooping away throughout the show, seemingly to be fans of Il Divo as well, although they were mostly male voices.
Vinz and I tried to make as much noise as we could but we were only two. Linda is more demure and sat quietly most of the time just enjoying the whole show although she did stand up for standing ovation when I suggested that we should do so for each of the guys’ solo. As with previous concerts, I felt like a crazy fan girl fighting a lone war with the generally quiet crowd, whooping and shouting the Divos’ names whenever I could. What was worse this time was that I wore a red dress, bright orangey red, so I probably made quite an impression on many in the audience. But then again, this time I had Vinz to join me in making noise to let the guys know that they are loved. Previous concert we weren’t seated together.
Seb did say we were so quiet that they didn’t know if they were doing the right things (not exactly the same words but you get my drift!). I felt so sorry for that because I know they receive their energy from a highly charged audience and we weren’t highly charged at all. We were too civil, too calm and collected. The whooping and wooing from the audience here just couldn’t compare with what the Divos were accustomed to in Latin America or even other Asian countries like South Korea and Japan.
What was worse was that the ushers were everywhere and beside you in an instant if you did something that was prohibited, like took pictures with your smart phone or tried to hand a bouquet to the Divos. One Japanese lady was prevented from passing her bouquet to the Divos on stage even though she almost made it to the stage. What a bummer! These ushers really followed the guidelines to the tee. Ugh!
Even though I was still upset with Urs for showing me his royal butt at the stage door, I still appreciated his solo piece because it was perfectly executed. I’m a sucker for the lyric tenor voice and he reminds me of Fritz Wunderlich, the late lyric tenor who inspired Urs in his opera career. Apart from Tae who stood up almost throughout the whole show, I was the first to give him a standing ovation (he was the first to do solo). Vinz and Linda both joined me and we did that for the other Divos as well.
(my camera seemed to be unforgiving cos I couldn’t take a clear picture of his Royal Highness!)
It didn’t take long for us to forget about the no photography rule because once the guy sitting beside Vinz whipped out his smart phone to snap pictures, we took out ours as well and snapped until the usher came around to show us the signboard. This happened a few times until the usher decided that she should park herself longer at our row with the signboard. The photos I took weren’t very clear because there was no time to focus or adjust the angle, I could only point and shoot and then keep the phone.
Since Singapore was the first Asian stop of the Amor y Pasion world tour, it was the first time the Divos’ script was spoken in English. Prior to this show, I only saw a few Latin America concert videos and they spoke in Spanish so I had no idea what to expect from them this time. It was thus very funny when Carlos made his speech about sex and marriage. He said sex after marriage is like Coke. At first it is Regular, then it’s Lite and finally, it’s Zero. That’s why he prefers to remain single! I thought whoever wrote this was brilliant. Or perhaps it was a well-known joke that I hadn’t heard of before?
The stage was small and hence looked cluttered when the musicians, singers and dancers were all on stage together, but somehow they managed not to trip on each other. I do find that the dancers are a distraction because I found myself staring at them instead of the guys. But that’s not to say that it’s a bad thing because they lend some colours to the show, otherwise it would just be any other Il Divo concert. I find this concert very refreshing because you get to see the guys in a different light.
There were the usual banters involving Carlos’s age, and after one of the songs where they danced and moved their hips, the other 3 Divos were looking at him and asking him if he was ok and Seb referred to his hips and said something like ‘after all that hip movement’. Carlos’s indignant retort was ‘If my hips could talk…’ The audience laughed.
As I was frequently trying to take pictures of the guys, I had missed out some bits here and there, but I didn’t miss Urs flirting with his dance partner who is also his new girlfriend. And also that Seb playfully tried to kiss a girl but she brushed him off and floated away. He almost went after her but Carlos brought him back to reality.
Then there was a moment after the singing and dancing, when the dancers left the stage, the Divos were supposed to stay and applaud them but David and Carlos, who were on the same side of the stage, just walked away with the dancers. Seb and Urs, on the opposite side, tried to signal them back but they were too far away to notice.
Some of you who had read my previous concert review would have remembered that I mentioned despite being so supportive and loud, none of the guys seemed to notice me even though I was seated in the first few rows (4th row in middle section) and was sometimes standing up to give standing ovation. They never glanced my way even when I hollered and waved at them. Well, this time David did acknowledge me, Vinz and Linda when we stood up after his rendition of Nessun Dorma. Bless you, David!
Before the show started, we came to know of a diehard fan from Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia), who sat at the other end of our row. She said she would take a 6hr ride on a coach back to KL after the concert. During intermission, we met Sree (or Sriyidya), a forum Diva who lives and works in Singapore. It was like we were long lost friends who just found each other again and we chatted until the 2nd half of the show started.
If you have heard Urs’s interview about performing in Singapore, you might remember that he said there always seemed to be more expatriates than local in the shows here. Well, I think he’s right. Seated right behind us were at least 2 expat couples, and there were more especially in the middle section, I think.
It was amazing to see the hall almost filled up (there were still cheaper seats available) when there didn’t seem to be much promotion going on at all for the show. I heard a radio station promoting it occasionally, and the tv had short announcement about the concert, and I read one article about it in a local paper prior to the show. Then there were the Facebook posts on Hype Records Sg (the organisers) and tweets from them. We didn’t learn about the concert until barely 2 months before the date. Il Divo.com didn’t even announce it until sometime in March. How did they expect the hall to fill with such sloppy promotion? It was like a last minute add-on. My Canadian Diva pal bought her tickets for Nov 16 last year. I’m not asking for such a long lead time, just that the marketing people, Sony, the event organisers, etc, do a proper promotion for the guys. It seems like the guys are doing their own promos and that’s no way to treat an international group like them. *Rant over*
After the show, we showed Sree to the stage door so she could get a glimpse of the guys. Tae was already there with her friend and so were a dozen or more other people. Too bad Natcha, Vinz, Linda and I couldn’t wait at the stage door for the guys to appear because we had to catch the last train back home or to the hotel. Urs atoned for his earlier umm…misbehaviour?…by staying to have pictures taken with Tae, and she also got some wefie shots with the other guys too. That made her 7-hour wait worthwhile and I tweet to Urs about it.
Overall, the show had been a great experience and very refreshing. It would have been better if the venue hadn’t been so strict because it’s a show that should get the audience up and dancing, not just sit down like wooden blocks. I was told that it was the event organisers who have a say in how the show should be handled. Well, let’s hope we have a different event organiser AND venue next time if the guys do get their sexy, swaying butts over here again!