The New Paper
28 July 2016
The leather crop top and high-waisted pants were there.
And so were the hits.
But if there was going to be any complaints about Selena Gomez's first concert in Singapore, it would be that she was dishing out pretty much Same Old Love, to borrow her song title.
The US singer-actress got her fans, who were mostly female and young and of whom there were nearly 7,000, jumping and screaming at the top of their lungs when she appeared on stage and kicked off the Singapore leg of her Revival Tour at the Singapore Indoor Stadium at 8.45 last night.
The 24-year-old opened with a high-octane rendition of the tour's titular track, then launched into several of her hit songs.
For a while, everything looked promising.
Mr Azman Mahmud, 26, who works in the health industry, said: "It felt surreal (when she sang Same Old Love) hearing it live, compared to just playing it on my iPhone.
"I think she knew that it was a local favourite and she milked every moment of it. You could really tell from the energy she put into that song."
But alas, Gomez didn't quite Kill Em With Kindness and the excitement did not last.
Accompanied by her six-piece band and nine back-up dancers, she zipped through 19 tracks from her current and previous albums, barely stopping and hardly pausing to speak to the crowd.
She ended her gig in 75 minutes flat, leaving some fans gasping for more.
"When you're ready, come and get it, na na na na, na na na na" she sang, but she should have heeded her own advice: Her fans were perhaps not ready for so many songs, so fast.
Perhaps she was tired. Or a little "unconnected" to herself and her music, as she confessed to being right after her Jakarta gig. (See report below.)
Student Carmen Huang, 16, a Selenator (that's what Gomez's fans are known around the world), described the concert as "amazing" and said she "enjoyed every minute of it", especially when the star performed Who Says, which she released back in 2011 with her band The Scene.
"That song really took me back to when I was about 11 years old. I remember singing that song over and over again when it first came out back then," she said.
But the student from St. Joseph's Institution confessed she was "really sad when the concert ended".
"I wish she had sung more of her older songs, but I guess she didn't want to spend too much time on it or maybe it just didn't suit the crowd, I'm not sure," she said.
Carmen was not the only fan expecting more.
Nur Deanna Ismael, 13, who watched her first pop concert last night, said: "I've seen short clips of Beyoncé's tour before today, but this doesn't come close to being as extravagant as that.
"I expected it to be more interesting, but it felt like she was saying stuff just for the sake of saying it.
"There wasn't much interaction with the audience either."
Mr Nicholas Tay, 30, who was at the gig with his girlfriend, also felt Gomez could have done better.
"I felt she was going through the motions as she sang one song after another," he said. "It seemed like she wanted to get it over and done with."
Still, fans being fans, most were willing to forgive and were happy just to see the star perform live.
Nur Deanna said: "I enjoyed myself and it was still a memorable experience for me."
She had read Selena Gomez's Instagram post, and was concerned about the star's frame of mind.
Miss Titan Tyra, 21, who was first in the meet-and-greet queue at the Singapore Indoor Stadium yesterday, was anxious to find out if the US singer was okay.
She told The New Paper: "I told her that I didn't know what she was dealing with (referring to the Instagram post) but reassured her that we, her fans, would stand by her through her ups and downs."
Without revealing what she was bothered about, Gomez smiled at Miss Tyra and replied: "That's so sweet. Thank you for that."
Perhaps Miss Tyra needn't worry. Dressed casually in hoodie and jeans, Gomez was all smiles and laughter when she met the 20 fans at about 7pm yesterday.
Fifteen of the fans had won Cornetto contests, two won Universal Music contests and three were given passes by Gomez's management as part of the Make A Wish Foundation.
The star had left fans worried after her Jakarta concert, posting on Instagram that she felt "extremely unauthentic and unconnected to herself and her music".
The post, which has since been deleted, came after calls by Malaysia's Parti Islam SeMalaysia's (PAS) youth wing to cancel her Kuala Lumpur concert.
Gomez herself cancelled a Singapore concert in 2014 to get treated for lupus.
Student Ernice Soo, 14, was relieved to see her idol in Singapore. She screamed the moment Gomez was in sight.
Ernice said: "I couldn't control myself. The moment I hugged her, I started to cry."
"She told me not to cry, but it made me cry even harder."
The Secondary 2 student from Juying Secondary School said she rushed from her school in Jurong West to the Singapore Indoor Stadium at 4pm and "went straight to the star's merchandise store".
She spent about $150 getting two T-shirts, a hat and posters.
Ernice said: "I'm such a huge fan. My room is covered with Selena posters and I check her social media every day without fail.
"I cannot believe this actually happened. This is such a dream come true."
See photos related to the article in the gallery below.