BigBang to start new year

The 25,000-strong crowd at the Float @ Marina Bay was in awe as fireworks illuminated the night sky to welcome 2015, the New Year which also marks Singapore's Jubilee year of independence.

But fans at MediaCorp's Celebrate SG50 countdown party soon started chanting for Korean pop sensation BigBang to appear. People started moving towards the front in anticipation of the quintet's arrival on stage. Many stood on the seats, screaming in excitement.

The band came on at about 12.30am, after a medley that included performances by Malaysian singer Siti Nurhaliza, local acts Shigga Shay and Tay Kewei, who, among others, sang songs such as Katy Perry's Firework, OneRepublic's Counting Stars and Coldplay's A Sky Full Of Stars.

But it was BigBang which stole the show with an hour-long set. They pumped up the crowd with high-energy hits such as Fantastic Baby and Gara Gara Go.

In the lead-up to the countdown, home-grown Mandopop artist Stefanie Sun belted out her top numbers dressed in a dazzling tunic with sequins; as did the duo of Kit Chan and Dick Lee, singing the popular National Day theme song, Home.

Among the revellers were President Tony Tan Keng Yam and Minister of Education Heng Swee Keat.

The six-hour-long party had a great start with performances by musical theatre favourites Dim Sum Dollies, who delivered an abridged tongue-in-cheek history of Singapore; and The Noose cast, which warmed up the crowd with jokes, a parody of foreign accents and 1970s bell-bottom pants.

Paying tribute to Singapore's comic characters, Alaric Tay donned yellow rubber boots, a wig and a mole to become contractor Phua Chu Kang; Chua Enlai sported a ponytail, sunglasses and bejewelled T-shirt to play stand-up comic Kumar; and Suhaimi Yusof put on spectacles, a shirt and tie, and his best fatherly voice to portray Tan Ah Teck from the defunct sitcom Under One Roof.

The acts were complemented by mesmerising psychedelic light installations, as the audience clapped and swayed along to tunes such as The Young Ones by The Quests, performed by Vernon Cornelius and The Pinholes; Jackson 5's ABC and The Bee Gees' Stayin' Alive, sung by singers Gareth Fernandez, Dru Chen, Nathan Hartono and Miguel Antonio.

While most of the audience were in their late teens and mid-20s, there were also families with young children.

Mrs Chen Liying, 43, a housewife who attended the event with her husband and two children aged 10 and 14, said: "We couldn't have wished for a better way to spend New Year's Eve. Our family sang along to the National Day theme song, Home. The fireworks were spectacular."

For K-pop fans such as students Alexis Lim and Min Ong, both 19, ringing in 2015 with BigBang was a novelty. Ms Lim said: "Not only did we get to see and hear Stefanie Sun, but we also danced to our favourite K-pop songs by BigBang. We'll be high from the excitement of seeing these stars up close for days to come."

Follow Rebecca Lynne Tan on Twitter @STrebeccatan

This article was first published on January 2, 2015.
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