Christian pop duo for KING & COUNTRY performed for the first time in Singapore on February 11 2019, and it was nothing short of a spectacle! Held at the Gateway Theatre, brothers Joel and Luke Smallbone’s concert in Singapore was part of their ‘Burn The Ships’ World Tour – titled after their latest release. The concert – organized by The Assembly – garnered fans both young and old.
Prior to the live performance, VIP ticket holders had the opportunity to meet the Smallbone brothers, along with a photo and autograph session. Die-hard fans brought along vinyl, magazine cut-outs and other merchandise from home to get them signed, but most of the VIP ticket holders were hoping to purchase some goods at the merchandise booth prior to the photo and autograph session.
Unfortunately, the merchandise booth was only available inside the concert hall, leaving fans with no choice but to get their ticket stubs autographed instead (It still makes for a great memento though). Nonetheless, fans left the room gleefully, perhaps because they also had the chance to chat with Joel and Luke, albeit a really short one.
Local singer-songwriter Annette Lee opened the night with three numbers to build the hype among the audience, which was well-received by the crowd. Not long after, for KING & Country took to the stage with their signature opening – Luke’s solo on the snare. The set started with Fix My Eyes, which got the youngsters in the theatre on their feet and singing along with the Smallbone brothers.
As it was the duo’s first performance in Singapore, I have only ever seen their live performances on-screen online. I have heard about the band’s visual appeal and theatrics, but it was nothing like watching the spectacle unfold live! Right from the get-go everyone on stage have been performing with such enthusiasm and showmanship I could barely take my eyes off the stage.
As for theatrics, they know no limits. One of the cellists even casually threw his cello over to the stage crew who was standing near the side curtain before making his way to play another instrument – and this was just during the first song! Perhaps it was because the band of just eight members, including Joel and Luke Smallbone, switch around and play a total of about 46 instruments throughout the show.
The band went on to play more songs from their previous albums, including ‘Fine Fine Life’ and ‘Busted Heart (Hold on to Me)’ from their first album, ‘Crave’. Joel then started to share more about the song ‘Priceless’ – a song celebrating a woman’s worth – and how it was inspired by a human-trafficking themed movie of the same name that starred Joel himself. Joel’s wife Moriah Peters joined in on stage to sing alongside Joel and Luke after the first chorus of Priceless, which got the crowd in a frenzy and squealing in delight.
Joel and Luke continued to wow the audience throughout the night, performing hit songs like ‘Never Give Up’, ‘Run Wild’ and ‘God Only Knows’. Before performing Burn The Ships, Luke shared on the story behind the song. The lyrics behind Burn The Ships was inspired from Luke’s wife’s addiction to painkillers during her pregnancy. Eventually, Luke’s wife Courtney Smallbone recovered after outpatient treatment, but Courtney felt ashamed over her addiction that she flushed out all of the remaining pills as a sign of moving on in her life. This reminded Luke of a 15th century Spanish explorer who boldly landed his ships on enemy shores without any knowledge of what awaited his arrival; and ordered his men to burn the ships to ensure they were committed to their mission.
Joel and Luke ended the set with their Grammy-nominated single, ‘joy.’, which got both the young and old on their feet and jumping to the chorus. The Smallbone brothers and the band later came out during the encore to play their cover of ‘Little Drummer Boy’. While it was well past Christmas, the band started their Burn The Ships Tour at the start of the year, hence the song choice.
After the concert ended and the band left the stage, R3HAB’s remix of ‘joy.’ played in the background while fans decked to the front, taking photos with the stage as a backdrop.
All in all, it was a great performance by Joel, Luke and the band, but unfortunately the audience was not on par with the band’s energy levels. Compared to for KING & COUNTRY’s concerts in other countries, the audience in Singapore simply weren’t as hyped. Perhaps it was because the theatre consisted of more adults who just wanted to sit and enjoy the performance in a less chaotic manner. The audience on the balcony – which seemed to be mostly filled with youth – seemed to be more enthusiastic throughout the night, which brought up the overall energy level of the crowd.
for King & Country Burn The Ships Tour – Live in Singapore Concert Setlist
1. Fix My Eyes
2. Fine Fine Life
3. Messengers (Lecrae cover)
4. To the Dreamers
5. It’s Not Over Yet
6. Busted Heart (Hold on to Me)
7. Priceless (with Moriah Peters)
8. Fight On, Fighter
9. Never Give Up
10. Run Wild
13. God Only Knows
14. The Proof of Your Love
15. Burn the Ships
17. Little Drummer Boy
18. joy. (R3HAB Remix)
Visuals courtesy of Smallbone Management and The Assembly Asia.