Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Greatest Hits tour proves boy-band fever is still kickin'


By Joy Fang

What: The Greatest Hits Tour: Blue, Jeff Timmons of 98 degrees & A1 Live in Singapore
Venue: Singapore Indoor Stadium
Attendance: 3,000
When: Tuesday, 8.30pm
Artists often complain that it gets lonely while they're on the road.
This was perhaps never more true for Jeff Timmons than during his solo set here on Tuesday. The former 98 Degrees member was in town with fellow boy bands Blue and A1 for their Greatest Hits tour.
At times, Timmons looked as though he wished that his 98 Degrees mates - brothers Nick and Drew Lachey and Justin Jeffre - were onstage with him as one thing after another went wrong during his six-song set. His first song, Emotional High, off his second 2009 solo album, ended with the backing track skipping madly.
It happened again when the 38-year-old could not finish I Do Cherish You properly as the backing track at first refused to start, and then skipped. He gamely belted out the song a capella, which turned out surprisingly heartfelt and pitch perfect.
Timmons was a good sport despite the glitches. He was gracious and all smiles, offering to make up for the boo-boos by singing other tunes a capella.
That is not to say that Timmons, whose wife Amanda and newborn daughter were in the front row, was perfect. Rather, it felt as though he was over-compensating for his former bandmates' absence, as he bounded about the stage too enthusia- stically, and even leapt over the front-row barrier to walk on top of the chairs among the audience.
Still, the three-hour concert was a nostalgic trip back to boy-band land for those in their 20s and 30s. And though the stadium had just 3,000 people, those who had gathered there were in high spirits, cheering and singing along to their favourite hits.
British-Norwegian boy band A1 - comprising Ben Adams, Mark Read and Christian Ingebrigtsen - were the highlight of the night, kicking off their 14-song set with the up-tempo Same Old Brand New You while accompanied by a full live band.
The band, which broke up in 2002 before reuniting in 2009 (minus one member), looked like they hadn't aged a day. Adams' voice remains pristine, his trademark nasal tone in fine form.
And British quartet Blue, who served as the closing act with eight songs, was all swagger with their smooth voices and choreographed dance moves.
The lads - Simon Webbe, Lee Ryan, Duncan James and Antony Costa - got everyone on their feet with the classic All Rise, and were a hoot bantering with each other while onstage.
As I was leaving the stadium, I overheard an audience member lamenting: "Why didn't they sing Guilty and The Hardest Thing?"
I do declare that boy-band fever is far from dead.