American rock band The Strokes played a second packed show in Singapore on Aug. 4 to a large contingent of fans who had travelled from Malaysia.
The band had been due to play in Kuala Lumpur during the now infamous Good Vibes Festival, where they were due to headline the final day of the festival on Jul. 23.
But when the festival was cancelled, the band first expressed disappointment, then moved on to do something about it.
The band quickly announced a second concert date in Singapore, meant to provide an opportunity for Malaysian fans to come to Singapore to catch the band live.
When they performed on Thursday night, just before the closing song, lead singer Julian Casablancas asked the crowd if anyone had managed to make it down from KL.
This elicited a loud, sustained roar from the crowd, which seemed to take Casablancas aback.
“Jesus,” he said in surprise, “that’s crazy.”
A video posted on TikTok by user @cowbear22, showed a large portion of the crowd waving in response, seeming to indicate that a large portion of the crowd was Malaysians.
@cowbear22 From his speech to LAST NIGHT!! #TheStrokes ♬ original sound – Geram&Menyampah
Speechless for a moment, he simply said, “Thanks for coming, we’ll definitely try to make it up there sometime.”
Paying tribute to the fans who were in the room, he added, “But the real ones came down.”
The band’s bassist Nikolai Fraiture also seemed lost for words, but he thanked and praised the energy of fans at both concerts.
Amazing nights! But can someone please transcribe what @N_Fraiture said in full? All I can hear is ‘We thought last night was pretty fcking crazy but tonight you guys are crazy!’ 🤘 pic.twitter.com/pcqw77HifH
— saw @thestrokes again and again (@zarasufian) August 5, 2023
It does appear that there was a very proud Malaysian fan base that had gone through the trouble of crossing the border, although the CIQ might want to check the pillar for a missing banner.
Thats The Strokes official photographer for Singapore, sad our national flag was upside down! Grrr TERIMA KASIH ❤️🩹🇲🇾 pic.twitter.com/qNO4Gre2AW
— sofiologi (@sofsofi_) August 5, 2023
The Strokes had been meant to headline the final day of the Good Vibes festival held in Sepang Malaysia between Jul. 21 and Jul. 23.
But the music festival was cancelled after Matt Healy, frontman of band The 1975, called the Malaysian government a “bunch of f***ing r****ds” for its anti-LGBTQ+ policies and kissed his bandmate on stage on the first night.
The concert, and then the festival, was cancelled by Malaysia’s communications and digital minister Fahmi Fadzil.
The move also led to a significant amount of criticism from fans and local activists, as well as local artists due to perform, one of whom called the band “reckless”.
The 1975 left Malaysia before any action could be taken against them and have now been blacklisted.
Some international artists who were due to perform took action to try to mitigate the situation, with Australian act Kid Laroi singing in his hotel’s bar for fans.
The Strokes responded by adding a second date in Singapore, before apologising that due to concert logistics they were unable to offer discounts for Malaysian Good Vibes ticket holders.
While they had initially offered discount on merchandise at the shows, Says said that the Instagram post related to that promise has been taken down.
The band is offering free shipping to Malaysia for its screen printed posters.
Two amazing nights in Singapore. Thank you to everyone who came out & anyone who travelled from Malaysia. We’ve added screen printed posters from the show to the site, shipping worldwide (+ free shipping to Malaysia 🇲🇾)https://t.co/GTGdWiCVAU
— The Strokes (@thestrokes) August 3, 2023
Singapore has emerged this year as a concert hub for international acts, with acts such as Coldplay and Taylor Swift playing multiple concert dates in the country.
The Strokes adding a concert date was likely more due to geographical convenience as much as anything, but the speed at which it was able to do so lends credence to former Malaysian minister Syed Saddiq’s narrative of ‘lost opportunity’ for Malaysia.
During a recent interview, Saddiq had praised the Singaporean government for enticing international acts to perform in Singapore.
@thetakeawaytable now we know why it’s so hard for our faves to perform here 😮💨😮💨 #syedsaddiq #concerts #malaysia ♬ original sound – The Takeaway Table