With expectations set aside, the previous night had left everyone curious and returning for more. Ground area where green grass once populated, was now buried in layers of mud carved out by an abundance of footprints, which served a charming reminder of what transpired the day before.
The weather favored everyone this time around. Raincoats and ponchos were tucked away in relief knowing nothing was to come between the audience and the live music experience they’d long awaited.
As the Parliament-Funkadelic began setting up onstage, people flocked to the Fort Green Stage. Participating in a sound-check with his back turned to the audience was DeWayne “Blackbyrd” McKnight, who stood tall with a guitar in hand.
Fans exchanged whispers in anticipation. They could wait no longer to be in the presence of their hero, the Godfather of Funk, George Clinton.
It was within the first few seconds of their electrifying set, people knew that the next hour was going to be a party with George Clinton and The Parliament-Funkadelic taking the lead.
Clinton had with him onstage, an entire circus of talent — his grandchildren included. Collectively, the bottomless energy and infectious rhythm in their performance kept everyone dancing on their feet.
From time to time, the legend had his hand cupped against his ear and encouraged the crowd to sing along; they enthusiastically joined in during “Flashlight.”
R&B Singer-songwriter and producer Dev Hynes, the man behind Blood Orange, astonished viewers with his natural sense of groove. Besides the sincerity in his vocal performance, Hynes emptied a pocketful of dance moves for his viewers.
A refined talent indeed, with immense soul in his movement and his sound, the impact Blood Orange made with his performance had left people wanting more.
On the other side of Fort Canning were math-rock artists 65daysofstatic. People traversed the park and arrived at the Fort Gate Stage to witness their generous play of odd time signatures; the break from the ordinary danceable rhythm provided the audience a sense of chasing a beat.
Yuna was graceful as she made her way across the stage. Her sweet voice glided soothingly over the music, as she showcased the versatility she had with styles ranging from folk-rock to R&B. Her charisma shone through as she teased the crowd mid-set, “This will be the last song,” prompting sighs of disappointment to which she pleasantly responded, “Just kidding!”
Swedish singer-songwriter Jose Gonzales with his classical guitar, stood amongst clouds of fog as he serenaded fans with his contemplative lyrics. His performance was simple but moving without being dependent on any flashy display of showmanship. Gonzales smiled coyly when a fan cried aloud “Jose! You’re the best!” He then created an atmosphere shift with his knack for inserting tasteful drone-style elements in his music.
Simply put, Sigur Rós was ethereal: the Icelandic ambient trio, had full command of the entire park, as majority of the listeners stationed themselves, in one place throughout the entire set. Stage props resembling lava lamps introduced the aura of stillness that lasted through the rest of the night.
Each song was one controlled breath characterized by smooth bowing on the electric guitar and Jónsi’s angelic singing voice. Without needing to speak a single word, the three artists managed to earn full attention from the viewers; and with a simple thank you, a wave of applause filled the park.
One final toast was made to close the night. The hypnotic effect of the Sigur Ros’ music was sustained post-set and in silence, everyone calmly preceded in one direction towards the exit. Music serves a variety of purposes; being an interactive roller coaster of music-driven energy and emotion, with shifts in the way audiences and artists respond to one another, Neon Lights 2016 showed us exactly that.