A Year That Was 2019. Hello 2020

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By Anthony Dylan

2019 has been an interesting year for me. Interestingly, it is also the last year of the Chinese Zodiac Calendar which would give way to the start of the Year of the Rat this coming Chinese New Year.

The beginning half of 2019 ended with having to finally open the project I had been working on since 2014.  A massive shopping centre straddling the border of Klang and Shah Alam. The opening of the Central I City Shopping Centre twice with the soft opening on 23 March 2019 and the Grand Opening on 15 June 2019. The latter was officiated by DYMM Sultan Selangor.

The second half of the year, I managed to attend the first concert by U2 in South East Asia and also go up to Genting Highlands after 25 years. I also managed a visit to Shanghai, China which totally blew my mind away with the technology available and the disciplined population there.

Of all these, I believe the U2 concert was the highlight of the year. I have been growing up with the beautiful music of U2’s Joshua Tree Album when they released it on 9 March 1987. This Irish band started in a kitchen of Larry Mullen Jr. in 1976. U2 consist of Bono (Paul David Henson), the Edge (David Howell Evans), Adam Clayton and Larry Mullen Jr.

The morning I heard that U2 was coming to Singapore, it was like a dream come true. I could not make the same mistake of not going to South Korea or Japan to at least watch any match of the World Cup 2002. This time I was determined. When the news came out, the concert was for 30 November 2019. You would need to log in and wait your turn and buy as fast as you can. The allocation is automated. I did for the first and did not get any and luckily at the end they announced a second show on 1 December 2019 and to raft for the next session. This time I got two tickets.

It was also the first time that I ever attended a rock concert since Alanis Morisette on 29 November 1996. Then again, U2 is something really different. The Joshua Tree album is over 31 years old. This was also their first concert in this region showcasing this album. This was legendary.

The cassette tape was the only medium I had in 1987.  The many gestures of playing air guitar mimicking their riffs made us wannabe rock stars. It is funny when we think about it now, especially the clothing we chose then.

Fast forward and the U2 concert at the National Stadium of Singapore was a great venue. Much so when you also have a train line at its doorstep. We flew in on concert day from KLIA 2 via Jetstar. Again another first as I never flew them before. In short it was pleasant as it landed in Terminal 1, Changi Airport. This was just adjacent to the Jewel Shopping Centre. After a bite to eat, we checked into the V hotel Lavender.

The sky changed to one so gloomy when we made our way to the venue. After queuing for close to 1.5 hours for the merchandise at a well organised merchandising area, we managed to get to our seats at about 810pm.

The familiar guitar riffs and beats punctuated the night sky. The amazing visual display shoots out digital images and words of wisdom via the 61 meter wide and 41 meter high screen. The gasps became cheers and the crowd within the stadium became deafening upon entry.

The concert set list began with “Sunday Bloody Sunday” and in total we had 25 songs between 830pm and 10.40pm. A solid nonstop 2 hour plus show of music, inspiration and visual parade. Familiar tunes like “Pride”, “Where the streets have no name”, “I haven’t found what I am looking for” , “With or without you”, “Desire” eventually made the best follow chorus by the crowd. Newer tunes like “Elevation”, “Even better than the real thing”, “Vertigo”, “Beautiful Day” and “Ultra Violet” added to the masterpieces. The concert ended after one encore with the inspirational “One”. The final visual depicted Singapore’s Merlion and the Singapore flag.

It cost one SGD292 per seating ticket. A bit less for standing ones. But this has ticked off my to do list of experience.  The guitar play of the Edge has not lost its potency as with Adam Clapton’s bass play. The same could be said of the ever sporting Larry Mullen Jr as he donned a Singapore T shirt as the camera panned the image onto the massive screen. Bono was in his element. Do note that these guys are now near 60 years old and still had the energy.

2020 would be a year of searching for more unique experiences and a time to try new things. I think it is always good to keep oneself on the move as life is just too short. Life is what you make it out to be.

Let us pray for a better year in 2020. Hello there 2020 and I wish everyone a Happy New Year!