The Sam Willows went all out in their first ever concert
The night continued its glum drizzle but no one took notice — and why should they? The nation's most-treasured homegrown act, The Sam Willows, was seizing their inaugural stage with poppy dance moves and an 18-track set to a cheering crowd of teenybopper millennials. Opened by light-hearted vocals of Sam Rui and The Overtunes trio, the audience was duly prepped by the time the Topshop-bedecked foursome hit Hard Rock's The Coliseum stage. Largely carrying out tracks from their sanguine debut record Take Heart, the band kickstarted their performance with the album's energy-bursting first number, Rest of Your Life, before gyrating with the album's final one, Glasshouse, of which they recorded with multi-Grammy winning producer Steve Lillywhite back in 2013.
The show took a turn for the emotional when the social media-favourite Benjamin Kheng executed a youth-empowering poem under a solo spotlight. A sea of readily held up phones immortalised the wise question of "What's a thousand likes worth if you don't like yourself?" from the mouth of someone who clearly knew it best. Narelle Kheng then joined her sibling on stage and they sung an old melancholy written in memory of their late cancer-battling mother, Nightlight, of which broke the songstress in tears halfway. The pink-maned crooner swiftly recomposed when it was time for her to reenact her impeccable deadpans in debut single Some They Lie's music video. The rest of the concert saw glossed up tunes in flawless multi-part harmonies from all four members in upbeat originals the likes of All Time High and Not the Only One. And as the band was honoured to be British girl group Little Mix's opening act last May, a Secret Love song cover was frankly inevitable and got fans singing along in unison — while a surprise appearance of rapper-slash-friend-of-Buro, Shigga Shay, sent them in a wild cheer. It was another pleasant shock when a hair-whipping Sandra Riley Tang pulled off a rendition of Christina Aguilera's Ain't No Other Man, letting the cat out of the bag: The girl's got moves. Twirling in sync with the glow-in-the-dark back up dancers and attempting a crowd-surf on Jonathan Chua's behalf, the feel-good lead single Take Heart seemingly ended the set on a high note — but as concertgoers chanted for encore, the dimmed lights flared back on for more. The Sam Willows dropped a second Little Mix cover, Wings, and after each member thanked everyone, a following encore ensued in the sing-along chorus of For Love. Finally ending the night, the four huddled in a teary-eyed group hug and gave a final bow to a frontline of bawling devotees. And as a giddy tween put it reverberating in the middle of the now-silent space: "That was awesome!" The Sam Willows performed at The Coliseum, Hard Rock Hotel Resorts World Sentosa on 22 July.