50,000 Happy fans thanks to Pharrell
For fans, six years was too long a time for US singer-producer Pharrell Williams to return to our shores.
He was last here in 2009 with his American funk/hip-hop group N.E.R.D. performing at the F1 Rocks Singapore With LG and Mosaic Music Festival that year.
The 42-year-old Grammy-winning artist proved that the wait was worth it on Friday night (Sept 18) when he performed a solo set at the 2015 Formula 1 Singapore Airlines Singapore Grand Prix, dishing out both new and classic hits for the 50,000 fans present.
We look at some of the highlights from his electrifying show.
In essence, a Pharrell Williams gig is a spellbinding, multi-genre tribute to himself.
On Friday, fans who only thought of him as “that guy” behind Happy, Blurred Lines or Get Lucky got an introductory course to just how prolific he is as both a solo artist and a producer for others.
Not only did he perform songs from his second solo album Girl like Marilyn Monroe, Happy and Come Get It Bae, he also treated N.E.R.D. fans to old gems like Lapdance, Rock Star, Spaz and She Wants To Move.
The hits he co-wrote or produced got some of the biggest cheers - these included anything from Gwen Stefani’s Hollaback Girl and Nelly’s Hot In Herre to Kendrick Lamar’s Alright, Daft Punk’s Get Lucky and Snoop Dogg’s Drop It Like It’s Hot.
It’s no wonder he’s earned himself 10 Grammy Awards in his lifetime — seven in the last two years alone.
During the show, it was often hard to tear our eyes off Williams’ troop of beautiful and talented dancers and back-up singers.
No one was complaining when The Baes — an affectionate name for the wolf pack which stands for Best Attitude Ever — had time to shine in the spotlight and individually show off their best moves.
Describing them as “unapologetic for their talents and with great minds, dreams, ambitions and best attitudes ever”, Williams then introduced each member of the team but not before stumbling over the name of the newest of the lot Jaylene Mendoza.
To teasing jeers from the audience, a collected Williams said: “Let me explain to you. Jaylene is the newest member of the team and I didn’t want to mess up her name.”
Oh, what a bae (did I use it right?).
What we would have given to be among the fans on stage dancing with Williams at different points in his set.
The men yelled enthusiastically or mumbled uncertainly to N.E.R.D.’s Spaz and Rock Star.
The women pulled out their slinkiest moves for She Wants To Move, also by N.E.R.D.
And later, the children clapped along to infectious hit Happy, a song off the soundtrack of the animated comedy Despicable Me 2 (2013).
Apparently Jamaican ska and reggae artist and fellow Singapore Grand Prix performer that night Jimmy Cliff sent someone to the Williams crew to ask the singer if they could meet.
Williams also caught up with F1 racing driver Lewis Hamilton before the second race practice session that day.
Formula One driver Lewis Hamilton (left) with singer Pharrell Williams. PHOTO: REUTERS