Monday, May 01, 2017

Bee Gees National Theatre '72 @ $3 Michael Bangar

1st of May, 2017 Dedicated To The Bee Gees:

I wanted to put up Michael Bangar's Part 2 article about local music but here he is with another gem as he describes the Bee Gees Concert in Singapore and the tiket daun area. I thought this story just had to come out first.

Michael, let's dedicate this posting to Barry Gibb, the last of the Bee Gees, who now goes on stage alone to sing their songs. 

So Mr Gibb, if you're out there somewhere, reading this piece, it's dedicated to you and your brothers, Maurice and Robin, not forgetting Andy.

Again, thank you Mr Michael Bangar (right):

Hi Bro' Andy,

I just read your write up on The Bee Gees, 1st of May. I would like to mention that they did perform here in Singapore in 1972 in the now defunct National Theatre at Fort Canning Hill. 

And they did the show here with their original five piece line-up - the three Gibb Brothers plus lead guitarist Vince Melouney and drummer Colin Peterson. Guest band for both shows was Singapore's very own Western Union Band (image: b/w below).
It was the 24th of March, 1972. They performed two shows side by side that evening. I watched both shows with a then girl friend. We were mesmerised by their performance, i.e. their vocal harmonies and how they duplicated their recorded sound live on stage. Great shows - both. I remember paying three dollars for each ticket. How cheap it used to be!

(In the early 1970's the long hair ban in Singapore was already in place. There was a barber shop at the airport to trim the long hair of anyone entering the country. Despite the ban, the authorities allowed the Bee Gees to perform with that evening but they had to leave the island immediately after the show.)

I don't know how many of you remember the set up at the old National Theatre. I am sure some of you can recall that you could watch all the shows from the back of the Theatre's fencing up on the hill slope.
Some music fans would even climb up the trees that were there to watch the performances.  The area was filled up by those who could not afford to buy tickets. The Malay music fans labelled that area, tiket daun (leaf tickets). As I bought tickets for only the first show, we watched the second show at the tiket daun area.

This period was the Bee Gees at their pre-Saturday Night Fever period when their popularity was sliding. After the block buster film, Saturday Night Fever in 1977, they became global mega stars. So during their next tour of the Far East, they by-passed Singapore because of the long-hair ban. 
The group had also become a three piece group backed by session musicians. They did it, I think,  to follow the trend at the time of the Techno Pop Era when bands were two-piece or three-piece.

For the record, we all have fond memories of the old National Theatre. Acoustics were good. For just a few dollars we got to see the popular bands of the day - The Hollies, Middle of The Road, Christie and even Cliff Richard.
Also concerts by the Singapore bands from the 70's: The October Cherries, X'periment, Fried Ice, The X'quisites, Sweet Charity (image above), The Straydogs, Pest Infested, etc.  The theatre also featured shows by artistes of our multi-national country. 

Apparently, feed back was that there were complaints about the tiket daun situation as quite a lot of people were watching all these shows from behind the back fence. It could be one of the reasons why they shut the place down. But this is just a personal opinion.

Original article by: Michael Bangar Copyrights Reserved.
Images: Google.



Yup. Remember this. Too young to attend. Dayum.


I was there up in the hill top watching it!!!! 😄😄👍


Wahhhhh!!! :D




they really should've kept this building


Is there any significant landmark from your childhood that still stands?


Yup. Read that the structure was not sound but I felt they could have renovated it and kept it.

CEDRIC TAN said...

Yea my mum went to watch the Bee Gees that evening. She still proudly keeps a picture that she took with Barry Gibbs.


Hi Andy, Just some humour about the show. Barry came and when he saw the huge horn speaker of the then National Theatre he remarked "No way am I going to sing through that". We then had to hunt for suitable replacement. What we got were 24 Marshall 4x12" speaker cabinets. 12 on each side of stage. If I remember correctly they each sang through 3 Shure SM85 microphones - one for the TV, one for recording and one for the live sound. Cheerio.


I watched The Bee Gees at the National Theatre in the 60s.I can still remember Robin Gibbs putting one hand on his ear while singing Massachusetts and other hits.I think they were in their 20s then.I enjoyed the concert very much.

DAVID LIM said...

Yes Andy Young we were at that BG concert!


Hi Andy - Here is a little titbit - The Fortunes once play there in I think 1972 too. During the rehearsal the lead singer when singing "Starry starry night" noticed a loving couple on the slopes of Fort Canning hill. He changed the words and sang out to the couple instead and I think the couple waved back in appreciation. Cheerio.

ABEL TAN said...

Edmundo Ros n band, rhumba n cha cha cha 1965/6, Aneke Gronloh Chinese Indon-burung kakak tua 1963/4

ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

Thank you Michael and Abel for the information support. I didn't know Fortunes were in Singapore too. Michael you still remember.

Wow! And Abel I did see Xavier Cugat and Abbe Lane at the Happy World stadium. Anneke Gronloh and The Blue Diamonds were from the Indonesian and Dutch connection. They have appeared in Singapore too.

80 LIKES for this posting. And three people who shared this post, Theresa, Joseph and Patrick. Thanks so much for support and thank you Michael Bangar for writing the story.

And all those who wrote in, thank you; please be patient, more comments still coming in.


...I was involved with Europa when they brought in Lulu and Andy Gibb at the Atlantis Club opposite Marco Polo.


I too, am guilty of being a Tiket Daun. Why? I'm not too sure. It could be, after our performances from the back stage, we would go out and climb up the slope to the back where the 'tiket daun' people sit.

Not sure if people know there are graves up there in Fort Canning.


Just following up on Michael Bangar's write up. Thunderbirds have been on stage at the National Theatre too and it had a revolving stage which ichael failed to mention, let alone mention that the Thunderbirds and Bee Gees were backed by the RTM Orchestra after their concert in KL and they were brought to Singapore by event company Quill Organisation with key men Watson Tay and the late Jimmy Lee who was with The Troupadors a Perth Showband.


ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

The revolving stage has already been mentioned a few times on my blog Freddie. I think it is common knowledge with bandboys, maybe not the public.

I leave to blog writers what they wish to divulge from memory.

Thanks for comment, Fred.


Yes thank you Michael for bringing back memories. I sat in the first row right in front. Being a young teen, I remember being entranced by their performance.

Jap Chong and Walter ... brought them in.

I did quite a fair bit of shows there when I was with White Cloud Record Company. All shows I kow of were held at the National Theatre. Can't remember how much singers were paid but at that young age whenever your record company tells you to, you perform!

DAVID LIM said...

Freddy & The Dreamers performed here and so was Pat Boone, Theresa Deng, Sheena Eastern. We were fortunate to see them all!

ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

Thank you David. Appreciate the names of performers you mentioned. Many Singaporeans don't realise the number of pop stars that have invaded our shores with instruments of various sorts: steel guitars, drum sticks, amplifiers, saxophones and huge pianos. We were entertained.

Many thanks for the numerous comments and LIKES received for Michael Bangar's post. He wishes to thank everyone for the support and promises to write more stories.

In fact, he has just written a tribute to Aubrey Miles, his teacher, who had just passed away two days ago. You can check it out in an earlier write-up.

ABEL TAN said...

My salary then was One Hundred Ninety Dollars
Bus-fare rate 5, 10, 15, 20, 25 cents
Char Kuay Teow with egg forty cents
Kopi-O ten cents
Cut Fruits ten cents
Yee Cha Kuay - 3 pieces ten cts (half-size the current ones).


Jimmy Appudurai-chua
Cedric Tan
Wong Sing Yeong
Davis K. K. Lee
Cyril Ng
Joe Kidd
Joe Ng
Daniel Loo
Bobby Dread Insan Cemerlang
Donald Tan
Roch Ong 王志浩
Kenneth Lim
Janson Sim
Redmund Law
Muhd Fairuz
Edwin Yip
Sylvester Sebastian
Famie Singapura
Malcolm Tan
Alexius Cai
Brian Hong
Kah Chieh Collin Chen
Samuel Nai
Andy Yang
Kevin Woo
Lincoln Lim
Claire Lim
Andrew Loh
Terry Xu
Kelvin Ang
Mike Seet
Sharm Subramaniyan
Su Pao Shu Donald
Tan In In
Eric Wong
Alfredo Seow
Pauline Tan
Amir Kadir
Alvin Tan
Marjorie Van Der Straaten
Dave KL Chia
Dean Aziz
Yuni Hadi
Elaine Chong
Khairil Khairil
Jeremiah Seah
Michael Ng
Kenny Chan
C.j. Ng
Phillip Lim


The Shadows performed at the National Theatre without Cliff Richard. A lot of British singers and group played here, like Matt Monroe with Shirley Bassy, Herman Hermits, The Hollies, Dave Clark 5, etc. Perez Prado ,The James Last Band, Eartha Kitt and Johnny Mathis also performed and many others.


Hi Andy -
How to forget. Anneke Gronloh - Burong Kakak Tua at the Singapore Badminton Hall. The Blue Diamonds - Ramona and Always.

I think Anneke Gronloh's famous song was Bengawan Solo.


Anneke and the Blue Diamonds only performed in early 60s a the SBH and In 1994 at the Reunion Concert..


The first time I entered the National Theatre was an experience I never forget.It was awesome to see the revolving stage dramatically delivering 2 bands on stage - one making a grand entrance and the other exiting. All under a deafening and rousing crowd.

More breathtaking was the 'open' concept design of the theatre with its almost column less roofing structure. It was first of its kind, and an engineering feat in those days. I saw many shows and remember the performances of The Shadows and Glen Campbell.

It was a sad day when the curtain came down. Why then, nobody talks about preservation ? If public safety was the concern, the entire roofing could be ripped apart and redesign. But thats my 2 cents worth of opinion.

ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

Cedric still got a picture of your mum and BGs?

CEDRIC TAN said...

Yes but she's stashed it somewhere in her home. Hey so nice to connect with you. :)

My mum clarified that while she was there (BG's Concert) and took pictures, she did not take a picture with Barry Gibb because she ran out of film by then (12 films in a roll. That was in the 60s yea).

She wasn't expecting to be let backstage and had used up the film by then. But she did see Barry Gibb about to take off his pants. I think it would have been a very different experience had she stepped in a second later. Lulu was also there in the room. ;)

I think my memory failed me regarding the photograph she took with a celebrity. She told me I must have remembered the photo she took with Samuel Hui, and not Barry Gibb. Hey, they all had the same hair and bell bottomed jeans!

And Andy, my mum remembers The Silver Strings. :) She also dropped another name, Naomi and the Boys.

My mum, dad, uncle and aunt used to play in a band too. They were called Teens and Twenties, I think. But they were not professional, just played at gigs for fun. My mum was the drummer and my dad was the bass guitarist. From personal observations when I used to play in bands in school, the male bass guitarist always joins a band to court the female drummer. It was the same case for my parents. Lol.

My mum used to tell me about The Quest too. SBC 5's Rollin' Good Times helped me know that era better. :)

One day, I actually came across Vernon Cornelius at Telok Blangah while he was walking his dog. I didn't recognize him at that point. My wife and I even chatted with him and we played with his dog for a bit. Only after I went up to my grandparent's place and was speaking with my mum, did I realize whom I bumped into. I ran back downstairs but he has left.


Ann Rowena Lim
Joe Peters
Daniel Hong
Philip Chew
Robert Suriya
Richard Danker
Raymond Cho
Leslie Wilson Joseph
Kwandy Yao
Mustapha Al-Johary
Steve Johnson
Penny Koh
Eddie Ng
Charlie Yap Locomotion
David Lim
Joseph Goh
Kong Kim Pah
Serene Chew
Mohammed Ali
Jalani Mohamed
Denise Fletcher
Davychandavy Chan
Irene Yap
Ivor Lesslar
Albert Wong Ong Cheng
Malvin Chua
James Seah
Tony Ng
Rose Khoo
John Cher
Patrick Chng
Ping Ong
Khuan Chiew Tan
Semaj Gnoel
Michael Phua
Brendon Perera
Richard Yew
Michael Ho


According to Wiki: In the early 1980s, the theatre was labelled structurally unsafe due to defects discovered in its cantilever roof. Also, with the proximity of the proposed Central Expressway underground tunnel to the theatre coupled with its declining use due to the lack of air-conditioning, led to a government decision to demolish the National Theatre.


Anneke Gronloh who is known for Burong Kaka Tua and Asmara also performed with The Dutch String College Band at SBH and Solo there .She also sang at a nightclub and the National Museum with Tan K S the MP.

henri gann said...

Congratulations Andy ! You finally inspired your readers to write. I am very impressed especially for Singapore where the hot humid weather and chili crab encourages one to read and sleep rather than write.
I have just returned from a trip to Vancouver to celebrate Mrs Tan ( of TMA ) birthday, visit the garden and eat in the places Mr Tan like and even to meet his best guitarist friend James Lau for the first time whose collection of guitars of Cliff Richard and David Gates will leave you wanting to play the guitar again.
Back to LA !

ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

Thanks Henry,

These readers are mostly from FB. They find it difficult to write from Blogspot. I appreciate what they are doing.

Vancouver and Mrs Tan? That must have been a good meeting.

What do you mean by, "collection of guitars of Cliff Richard and David Gates". Did James Lau buy them over? Ask him to write an article for blog. :-)