The evening rain failed to dampen the high spirits of the fans at the Buona Vista MRT station who were heading to The Star Theatre to watch Mariah Carey ‘Live in Concert’. I, too, walked out of the station with eagerness and excitement though I was without an umbrella. To my relief, I was able to reach The Star completely dry as it is connected to the MRT station with a sheltered walkway.
The theatre foyer is inviting, with its spacious and sleek design. While the foyer was swarmed with fans of the pop diva, one could navigate through the foyer to the concession stands and merchandise counter with ease.
A glance at the packed 5000-seat auditorium affirmed that the pop star has charmed audiences far beyond those who followed through her music in the 90s; the youth turnout solidified her magnetism and appeal in recent years as well! Seated beside me were a granny and her teenage grandson who persuaded her to bring him to the concert.
Carey, in a stunning shimmering golden outfit, emerged from a sea of blazing flames formed on the majestic widescreen. She kicked off the concert with “Honey” from her album Butterfly (1997), followed by the upbeat “Shake It Off” which set the fans dancing from the spacious seating with ample legroom.
Love and passion were the key themes of the evening with non-stop robust and excellent five-octave singing from the Songbird Supreme. Even the few short intermissions where she went for the costume change was buzzing with animated fervour from her adoring fans.
These interludes were filled by song and acrobatic dance acts of her talented backup singers and dancers who entertained the audience during her absence. There was not a dull moment even when she was off-stage. After each interlude, she appeared with a glitzy and dazzling figure-hugging gown which magnified her unfading glamour.
Among the backup singers was Trey Lorenz who has been a vocal pillar of Carey since her first promotional tour in 1990. He even sang a captivating “One Sweet Day” with Carey which elicited an outburst of cheers from the audience.
Carey’s signature use of melismatic style and whistle register were especially protuberant in familiar hits from the 90s such as “Love Takes Time”, “Emotions” and “My All”, which garnered thunderous applause from the audience. Her recent works that formed the evening repertoire included the ballad “With You” from her new single and the melodic groove “The Distance” from her upcoming fifteenth album Caution.
In addition to the seamless multitude of audio and visual feast by the artists on stage, there were some unexpected playful and fun moments.
One such moment was when an enthusiastic fan was invited from the audience to the stage. He removed his outer shirt to reveal an “M” on his sleeveless top as he sang and danced to “Touch My Body”. Another point of delight was when her seven-year-old twins Moroccan and Monroe dashed onto the stage and joined her in “Always Be My Baby”.
The fans, especially those who were near the stage, tirelessly stood, cheered and danced throughout the 90-minute concert. A medley of nonstop spirited and catchy tunes such as “It’s Like That”, “Love Hangover/Heartbreaker” and “Touch My Body” brought the concert to a high before the final song “We Belong Together”. The stage dimmed off after the final song. However, the darkness was soon taken over by flashes of light from the mobile phones and thunderstorm of claps and screams of “Mariah, Mariah” and “We want more”.
Carey returned to a deafening applause and started to sing to another familiar melody “Hero”. “It’s a long road, when you face the world alone”— this is indeed a long and unbeaten journey for the eternal queen of music, who takes the world as her stage.
“Hero” ended the evening of the remarkable concert with the audience leaving their seats reluctantly.
A lady said to her friend, “She still has it after all these years!”. Indeed, Carey’s immortal magical voice was evidently shown in the evening of an all-hits repertoire.
The incredible and unparalleled vocal intensity continued to ring in my ears as I followed the crowds to exit the auditorium in an orderly manner.
I know that this will not be my last time listening to Mariah Carey live in a concert.
Photo Credits: Dominic Phua