Singer-songwriter David Tao showed off his bilingual skills and promoted his latest album Opus 69 during his concert, David Tao In Space—The Talk and Rock Show in Singapore last week.
Despite the futuristic-sounding name, the concert was centered around the year he was born. A video montage containing the momentous events of 1969—ranging from the Woodstock Festival to Man landing on the moon—opened the show. Tao then came onto the stage, a retro 1980s living room that was designed to look like his home when he was younger.
Backed by a four-piece band, the singer-songwriter avoided the usual flashy Chinese concert route and stuck to his tried-and-tested unplugged best. He began with a cover of David Bowie’s ‘Space Oddity’ (1969), with the lyrics slightly modified into “Ground control to major Tao.” He then dove into songs from his new album, segueing it with Stevie Wonder’s ‘Superstition.’
While the five-thousand strong crowd enjoyed Tao’s English covers, it was clear that they prefered to listen to his self-written music, particularly songs from his older albums. Often times they were on their feet with light sticks waving when Tao played crowd pleasers such as ‘Ordinary Friends,’ ‘Airport at 10.30,’ ‘Rain’ and ‘Small Town Girl.’
His old songs were also given makeovers with new arrangements, demonstrating Tao’s talent at musical composition. For example, ‘Small Town Girl’ underwent a rock transformation, and ‘A Big Mess’ was backed by the Singapore Young Talents’ Children Choir.
Despite his vocal prowess, Tao shied away from high notes, such as the ones in his popular song ‘Ordinary Friends.’ He was amicable and friendly with the audience and, at one point in singing ‘Find Myself,’ even stood atop the barriers that had been erected in front of the stage to get closer to his audience. He also showed his youthful side when he threw kisses and professed his love to the ladies in the audience.
|PHOTOS: Poh Yang Zheng|
In line with the theme of the concert, he regaled the audience with stories of his childhood in between the songs, such as how he learned to play the guitar when he was about 12, and took the instrument everywhere he went. “I’d even sleep with it and wake up with lines on my face,” he remembers. In another humorous story, he recalls how “painful” it was for his ears to live in a house where “there was Elvis Presley playing in one room, and my mom singing Peking Chinese opera in the other.”
The hardworking singer played a long set of more than two hours. At the end of the concert, Tao thanked Jesus saying “All this would not be possible and I would not be here if not for Jesus Christ my Savior.”
Overall, the concert was an entertaining production put up by a talented singer that was chockful of charm, vocal chops and surprises.