Concert in the Dark 2013

SINGAPORE - Imagine attending a live show enveloped in total darkness. No eye candy, no glitzy costumes, no dazzling pyrotechnics.

It is a daunting prospect, not just for gig-goers, but also musicians.

Ahead of this weekend's Concert In The Dark - Singapore's first ticketed public concert where visuals are thrown out of the equation - LOUD finds out if indie folk pop duo The Freshman, part of the line-up alongside fellow acoustic pair Jack & Rai and visually impaired Mandopop singer Kelvin Tan Weilian, are having a case of the nerves.

The sold-out event is spearheaded by Dialogue in the Dark, a social enterprise which provides jobs for the visually-impaired in Singapore.

The guides at the concert will also be visually impaired.

Dialogue in the Dark also organised the permanent exhibition at Ngee Ann Polytechnic that replicates the experience of being sight-impaired. We find out more from local reality TV singing series Project SuperStar II alumni Diya Tan (DT), 27, and Carrie Yeo (CY), 30, who make up The Freshman.

This isn't the first time you have collaborated with Dialogue in the Dark. Was your maiden experience at the exhibition a harrowing one?

DT: When we launched our EP The Dazy Eyes, last June we completed the walking tour (referring to Dialogue in the Dark) with some UFM 100.3 listeners and wrapped up the session by playing a couple of tracks from our album.

CY: Personally, I didn't expect the exhibition to be totally dark, so it was rather shocking. Although we were forewarned, I kept thinking, "Oh, I'm sure we'd still be able to see our shadows and the shapes of our hands". That was certainly not the case.

DT: It was unnerving at first, but once you get accustomed to the surroundings, you won't freak out.

CY: I remember a part of the tour where we had to cross the road. Of course the vehicle sounds were simulated, but it was pretty scary all the same. I could sense my own fear. Overall, it was a great experience, as we learnt to put ourselves in the shoes of the visually impaired.


So who sang better in the dark?

DT: Definitely Carrie! I'm the sort who loves to feed off energy from the crowd, so not being able to see our audience weakened my performance a little.

CY: I'm the opposite. Usually, I have stage fright. At the exhibition, I couldn't see anyone, so I just sang and indulged myself. It was really enjoyable! I'm sure you are looking forward to Concert In The Dark.

CY: Yes! For once, we can save on hair and make-up. (Laughs) Just joking. After the curtain call, we'll be taking pictures with fans.

DT: I'm toying with the idea of turning up as Shrek (referring to DreamWorks Animations' famous ogre movie character). Imagine singing a really emotional song in that costume and people will still be moved. It's an interesting juxtaposition.

CY: You should go as one of the Despicable Me 2 minions.

DT: Seriously, I think there will be a role reversal on the day of the concert itself. We, the performers, will be the impaired ones, while our (visually impaired) guides will be the ones who can "see" and help us out.

CY: It'll be fun backstage too, as we are friends with the other acts like Kelvin, Jack and Rai.

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