From The Straits Times    |

About 2,000 fans flocked to see Singapore superstar JJ Lin in concert on Saturday (Nov 27) at the Sands Theatre at Marina Bay Sands (MBS), and they did not have to sit 1m apart.

The sell-out concert was Lin’s first in-person concert in two years.

The show, titled JJ Lin “After The Rain” A Charity Live Special, is among the pilot events with new protocols in place.

The vaccination-differentiated safe management measures allow for greater flexibility for activities involving those who are less vulnerable and fully vaccinated, subject to the additional requirement of pre-event testing.

One concertgoer, lawyer Samuel Kwek, 30, took his pre-event test (PET) at a Quick Test Centre in Hougang, where he lives, on Saturday morning.

The antigen rapid test (ART) cost him $15.

“The last in-person concert I attended was JJ Lin’s Sanctuary World Tour 2.0 concert at the National Stadium in December 2019.

“Since the pandemic began, I have only watched online concerts. So I am elated to finally see an in-person concert, and that I succeeded in balloting for the tickets.

“I booked the VIP tickets at $688 per pair.”

Under new protocols, all attendees must be fully vaccinated and have a valid negative PET – either a polymerase chain reaction test or ART. The PET result is valid for 24 hours, meaning concertgoers for the JJ Lin event had to take their test any time from 10pm on Friday.

Concertgoers taking their pre-event test at the Sands Expo & Convention Centre at Marina Bay Sands on Nov 27, 2021.
Credit: Marina Bay Sands

The PET can be done at any of the Ministry of Health-approved Covid-19 test providers, and at MBS’ PET facility located at the Sands Expo & Convention Centre.

Each PET at MBS cost $40 for a ticket holder.

Among the guests at the concert was Health Minister Ong Ye Kung.

Lin took to the stage at 7.45pm dressed in a black-and-white outfit, opening the show with the song Like You Do, from his 14th album Drifter • Like You Do (2020).

In a shout-out to the fans, the 40-year-old said: “Wow… I can’t believe this is really happening. Finally we get to see each other face to face, in close proximity… Not too close, but close enough.”

The singer-songwriter also performed the numbers You N Me, Those Were The Days, If Only, as well as a jazz version of Practice Love.

One highlight of the show was when Singaporean singer-songwriter Gentle Bones joined Lin on stage to perform the song At Least I Had You, which was released on Nov 19 this year.

Fans had to be fully masked at all times while observing prevailing safe management measures. No food and beverages were allowed.

Tickets to the show were priced from $288 for a pair, and proceeds will be donated to Community Chest, a key beneficiary of MBS’ corporate social responsibility programme, Sands Cares. Lin will perform another show on Sunday, and his concert will also be streamed over his official YouTube, Weibo and Douyin channels at 7.30pm on Sunday.

Previous events with such protocols include the Milken Institute Asia Summit at MBS (Nov 15 to 16) and the Bloomberg New Economy Forum at Sentosa’s Capella hotel (Nov 16 to 19).

An assessment of these pilots will be made before deciding how to expand the protocol to more events and settings, as part of broader plans to allow safe resumption of further activities.

This article was first published in The Straits Times.