Local rockers hold their own

Local rockers hold their own

Retiree Teo Kay Kee, 67, saw legendary British band The Rolling Stones when they first performed here in 1965 and then again when the rockers returned in 2003.

Last Saturday, he caught them in action yet again. His verdict on the iconic musicians after nearly five decades?

"They were good then and they are still so good now.

"Back when I watched them in 1965, they were very young and quite good-looking. Every time Mick Jagger pulled a move, the girls' screams would be so loud. The St John Ambulance brigade, who were on standby, were quite busy that day because some girls fainted."

But Mr Teo, who was togged out in a fan shirt branded with the iconic Stones' open mouth and tongue symbol, did not have a ticket to the Stones this time around.

He was among the 3,000-strong crowd who thronged The Event Plaza at Marina Bay Sands to catch a free simulcast of the Stones' 14 On Fire concert, which was held indoors at the Grand Ballroom.

Watching the concert on a 14m-wide giant LED screen, many fans got their groove on, dancing and singing along as if the rockers were performing on the stage in front of them.

But the party had started hours earlier when local rock bands, comprising many pub scene veterans, pumped up a growing crowd who were there to see The Rolling Stones.

Mr Teo turned up from the start, at 4pm, to catch the first band A-List with Douglas O. He said: "I'm here for the Stones because I didn't manage to get tickets. But I came earlier because I think we should support our local bands as well."

The four-hour-long concert - it had to be the longest opening act for a concert here, ever - at the Event Plaza featured five bands: A-List with Douglas O., John Molina & Krueger, ZulTania, Heritage and Jive Talkin', each playing for about 45 minutes.

The free concert was part of the integrated resort's open-to-the-public music festival, Marina Bay Sands Rocks Singapore, which was held for the first time.

It got off to a slow start as only a handful of people braved the sweltering heat to listen to the bands play. By the time the third band, ZulTania, came on, a sizeable crowd had gathered.

Marina Bay Sands even provided free water stations so that the audience could keep cool in the blazing weather.

Ms Ruby Tan, 25, a senior associate at a public relations firm, cheered the local acts for their tight sets, despite having to sweat it out on stage.

Ms Tan, who is also a vocalist for an amateur band, The Fairless, said: "It was really hot, but I think the bands were worth catching, even if The Rolling Stones were the important part of the night."

Even for those who did not know much about the bands, the music was good enough to keep them entertained as they waited for the main show.

Student Jordan Susanto, 16, was singing along to some of the rock songs that were being played. "I just came here to hang out before the concert starts. I don't know who these bands are but they're very good vocally."

Even those who had tickets to the Stones' gig came to get entertained beforehand.

Human resource director Grace Burton, 48, came at 6pm just in time to catch Jive Talkin' perform. She said: "This is just the warm-up to the show. I've watched this band many times before when they performed at pubs, so I know they are top-notch. It's a good start for the actual concert."


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