John Legend – One night in Singapore

[Update: This post has been Tomorrowed! Thanks DSng.]
It was John Legend‘s first time in Singapore and we gave him a rousing welcome. Actually, we couldn’t seem to stop welcoming him, even when we got to the end of the show.
The concert began choppily, though. The opening act, Tanya MichelleTara Michel, tried hard but at some points sang out of tune. Also, she didn’t dance around much – probably because of all the equipment on stage. She kept on shouting out “Singapore” and something to do with it being 2007 and how we felt so multi-cultural, “just like New York”. After she reminded us a few more times that it was 2007, I was quite primed and ready for John Legend to appear, so in a way she did a good job. Anyway, since TanyaTara shouted out her web address a couple of times and also mentioned she was on Myspace, I should give her some credit for trying to work the crowd – as well as her web link.
However, it took a while, with moments of light and darkness and false alarms, before the man appeared. I was starting to wonder how much longer we had to wait. Then the Legend appeared and all was forgiven. He was wearing black pants, sneakers, a plain cotton T-shirt and a black jacket. Just like how you’d see him on his album cover.
The crowd was up and dancing from his very first number. We had never seen such an enthusiastic crowd at the Esplanade. However, I think many of those in the front rows were expatriate. Having said that, we also spotted one lady in a tudung, happily dancing and clapping away. One hardcore group never even sat down, throughout the show! There was one lady in white who seemed like a major John Legend fan. She looked like she was ready to do anything for him, with him, etc, you get the idea. Well, maybe standing up is good, because it helps us … Save Room.
The prior announcement not to use any recording devices or take photographs etc was ignored as many handheld devices lit up, and cameras flashed blatantly, sometimes every other second, while Legend and his band were playing. Legend took it in his stride. I guess perhaps it’s our form of PDA (Public Display of Affection – one of my favourite songs). Looking around, the rest of the audience seemed to comprise people mostly people our age – late twenties and thirties. Interesting demographics.
Legend showed he could vary his style. The suave and sophisticated ‘Maxine’ had its characteristic Latin elements while another song took on a more reggae groove.
But I felt John Legend’s distinctive sounds can be found primarily in his ballads. They capture poignant moments, mainly focusing on couplehood, staying together, and being… Ordinary People. By the time he reached that song, he had us all singing the chorus, “Take it slow, take it slow…” And for a moment it was like we all had some personal bond with the man as he sat on his own at the piano. Then the band merged in, the song ended, Legend walked off the stage but we knew he was coming back for the encore because the crowd was raring for more.
And return he did – having changed into a white singlet! Mmm. His voice is so rich that even just talking sounded sexy. The Legend performed two more upbeat numbers, then left the stage for his band to finish the musical fireworks.
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  1. hq

    I think I was one of those hardcores who never set down throughout the show, haha!
    Anyway just a lil point – John’s backup vocalist is Tara Michel, and her web link is

  2. jl

    Vanessa, I think you’re just envy of the hardcores which never sat down through out the show. I’d do the same to if I get the front row like them. I would feel really awkward to stand up if seated elsewhere. You might not like Mr. Legend as much as them, you have no right to label them, and so don’t be a sour grape. Ms. Tara Michel happens to be a very talented backup singer, she did Lauryn Hill and many other famous artists. She’s even releasing her own album soon. By the way, she was promoting her new album “the rising 2007” and not reminding you that it is already 2007. What is wrong with wearing tudung? She just wants to have fun just like you and the lady in white might have the biggest crush on Mr. Legend which is normal. I’m sure she was not ready to do anything for him, with him, etc. so stop jumping into conclusion dear. Standing up or sitting down doesn’t save any room for you in Esplanade since, it doesn’t make any difference. Blogging is good but being judgmental in your blog is not. Don’t be a sour grape and stop being a typical “kiasu” Singaporean.

  3. vantan

    Dear jl,
    You may have misunderstood me on several points.
    1) I’ve never seen the Esplanade crowd get so excited over any other performer before… be they expatriate or locals. I’m highlighting that people from all walks of life were having the time of their lives. If there was a woman in a sari or cheong sam, I’d say the same thing too 😛
    2) I was making a pun. ‘Save Room’ is the title of a John Legend song.
    3) BTW, everyone at the back rows were standing up and giving him multiple standing ovations too! 🙂
    I hope this clarifies everything. Peace.

  4. lina

    I don’t know you personally, but I just wanted to say your description of John Legend’s concert was spot-on (and I don’t belong to that age demographic you were talking about… I’m 16-going-on-17). He’s a consummate performer with a magnetic stage presence! The acoustics in the concert hall were wonderful – I felt the music swirling all around me. And it was fantastic when he let rip on Ordinary People 😀
    However, I was a little disappointed that he didn’t perform Coming Home. I love that song, and it has a really different feel from all his other work. I’m ready to be pleasantly surprised by his next album, whatever direction he’s planning to steer it towards.
    By the way, everyone on the top floor gave him standing ovations too. And when on my way out, I heard someone saying, “I never knew anyone could be THAT good live!” (:

  5. Natalie

    I would love to know if anyone remembered the songs Tara Michel performed. I have followd her since performing with Lauryn Hill I love her voice and woundered if anyone posted her performance from this show. Great Blog

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