Marina Bay Sands, Singapore
When the web site stated something along the lines of “Bjorn Again will support Village People, but both acts will play for the same amount of time”, you suspected that either there had been some tense running order discussions or perhaps the promoters had realised that nobody with a credit card wanted to watch a full set of Village People, even on their 40th anniversary.
I’d seen Bjorn Again previously, so knew what to expect: kimonos, peroxide and a lot of cheese: cheesy Swedish accents, cheesy dance moves and cheesy “this half of the hall sing with me” type banter. Ah, who cares, what you also get are tour-perfected selections from one of pop’s best greatest hits catalogues. The Aussies have been doing this for a while now and obviously know at 8pm on a Friday night their audience is going to consist of people who have put their work week beyond them and have already had a couple of Tiger beers. So their slightly truncated set list found room for stompers such as Ring Ring and Honey Honey, but not the reflective Winner Takes it All. During the set it struck me that there a few better catalogues than Abba’s at removing arses from seats. They went down a storm.
Village People never had a chance. But they could have at least tried. In case you’re wondering, three of them were the original line-up (the Native American, the Soldier, and the Cop – and judging by the shape of the last, the San Francisco Police Department needs to revise it’s annual medical screening). During the second song I found myself saying to Mrs Hawkfall “They’re miming. Only the lead singer has his microphone turned on”. These sentiments were also expressed more loudly to the band by a couple of members of the audience a few songs later. This soured things a little bit, though towards the end of the set they managed to get some of the goodwill back (it was noticeable that the younger, non-original members were able to charm the crowd much more effectively than their elders).
A mixture of locals and expats. Mostly over 40 or 50. A lot of dressing up.
It made me think..
It struck me Bjorn Again may actually be the best live band in the world at the moment (and no I wasn’t on the Tigers). Great musicians. Great catalogue. Great show.