Concert Review: Deftones Live in Singapore

It didn’t sound like it would get off to a good start. First came the announcement just days before that their show would be moved to the (smaller) Fort Gate part of Fort Canning Park because the turf on the original Green needed repairs (after the very wet, very muddy Laneway Festival there just two weeks before, we’re not surprised). How would this affect set up? The sound? What is the space like? Questions, questions.
Then, “DEFTONES have arrived in Singapore!” shouts organizer LAMC Productions on their Facebook page, just six hours before their gig at Fort Canning Park. We’re guessing the schedule would be airport-hotel-concert venue. That’s just a few hours’ prep time. How is that enough? How on-form are they going to be? We were doubtful.
Form-wise, we needn’t have worried. They were into it right from the get-go, and their energy stayed amped from start to finish. Pretty much everyone in the crowd was here for frontman Chino Moreno, and the man really delivered. He may be 37-years-old, and he may have done this for over two decades, but on stage, he’s like a 15-year-old boy performing to a crowd for the very first time and loving every f***ing moment of it. You can see that in the energy of his movements around the stage, in the way he grooves when he’s singing, in that boyish smile on his face when he looks into the audience and does that bop to get the crowd going, and in how he gives every front section of the audience his attention up close. We were lucky enough to have him in our face during “You’ve Seen the Butcher” (see video below).

Transitioning seamlessly between songs, pausing only to tune or switch instruments (and even then still engaging with the crowd), it was a very well-planned set with no screw-ups. They kicked off with a couple of lesser-known numbers from their debut 1995 album Adrenaline, followed by old favorites from Around the Fur (1997),White Pony (2000) and Deftones (2003)—in that order. This being a tour in support of their latest album, they made Diamond Eyes the meat in the sandwich, playing most of the songs from the album before laying tracks from Saturday Night Wrist and saving the best for last. We’ll put it this way: The bloke next to us had his camera aimed at the band for most of the show, but put it down to fully soak in the beauty of “Change (In the House of Flies).” We were of the same mind. Then the crowd went WILD (old-schoolers—get it?) for “Back to School (Mini Maggit),” “Passenger” and finally, “7 Words.”
Deftones certainly knew what to do to please the old-school (who made up most of the audience)—playing all the songs from all their albums that we wanted to hear.
Sound-wise, it was a little disappointing. Chino’s vocals didn’t come clearly through the speakers, and neither did his lead-guitar bits. On the whole, we thought sound clarity was lacking. But the crowd didn’t seem to care. We still sang along to every song played, and the charged performance delivered by the band compensated for the foggy sound.
Comedian Rob Schneider was at the gig too. Wonder what he thought of it.