Budak Pantai – The Final Countdown

Local a capella group Budak Pantai on stage. From left to right, Gordon, Michael, Joe, Kah Keh and Danny.

After performing for 20 years, local a capella group Budak Pantai somehow decided to call it quits. Their final concert, aptly titled “The Final Countdown” on 24 May apparently sold out in just 3 days and they had to add a second performance the night before. I’m glad they did so, and this additional performance is the one I attended, along with two friends, David and Clarence.

I first saw Budak Pantai live when they performed during the Singapore Arts Festival 2012 and loved it. Other than original works, the group is also good at creating mashups of songs and injecting their own interpretation and changes, resulting in laughs from the audience.

At their final concert at the Esplanade Concert Hall, the group belted out song after song nearly non-stop, much to the delight of the audience. Also, a very rare occurrence is that photography and videography was allowed. I guess this being their last concert, they’ve requested the management to allow it and I am grateful for that.

After singing their own version of 遇见, the theme song from the Taiwanese movie Turn Left, Turn Right (向左走向右走), local singer Stephanie Sun surprised the crowd by making an appearance, presenting bouquets to Budak Pantai’s singers.

Local singer Stephanie Sun makes an appearance at a capella group Budak Pantai’s “Final Countdown” concert at the Esplanade Concert Hall. On stage with her are (L to R) Gordon, Michael and Joe.

Most of us probably know the Chinese nursery rhyme 客人来, but Budak Pantai’s interpretation is absolutely unique and funny.

They also covered the currently most overplayed Disney song “Let It Go” from Disney’s Frozen, commenting that they didn’t know why it became so popular. I myself was quite sick of it but hearing it sung a capella is something different.

Of course, how can the concert be titled “The Final Countdown” without performing the song of the same name? And so the group did just before the intermission at the end of their first set. This version is a mashup of Europe’s “The Final Countdown” and the Christmas Carol, “O Come Ye All Faithful”. Unfortunately, I accidentally stopped the video recording before the song is complete, resulting in a partial recording.

Gordon, Michael and Joe of the Budak Pantai on stage.
Danny, the vocal percussion and guitar player.

Old favourites such as Pedra Branca (sung to the tune of Una Paloma Blanca), Why Men Have Nipples are also performed, as are mashups of most unlikely of songs – the Hokkien song “酒干倘卖无” and Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance”.

Kah Keh, the bass singer of Budak Pantai on stage.

Good things have to come to an end, and before we knew it, it’s the end of the concert. Budak Pantai generously gave a number of encores, and received a standing ovation from the audience.

The members of Budak Pantai waves goodbye to the audience.
The audience giving Budak Pantai a standing ovation at the end of the concert.

It was a wonderful, wonderful concert which I totally enjoyed. I am not sure what they group is going to do after they go their separate ways, but I wish them all the best. Hopefully some day, they’ll regroup for a comeback concert.


    1. Thank you, Michael and the rest of Budak Pantai for the awesome last concert. I’m glad to have caught it! All the best in your future endeavours.

  1. Congratulations to Michael on a long and successful collaboration with Kah Keh, Gordon, Danny and Joseph. My daughter thinks her uncle is a rock star and we proudly play your CDs to our friends. All the best to each member of Budak Pantai. I am so proud of my big brother Michael.

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