Sunday night fever as seniors boogie to oldies

Left: Madam Anna Sharp, 61, playing the "air guitar" while dancing to Blame It On The Boogie at the Esplanade Outdoor Theatre, performed as part of the four-day A Date With Friends festival. Far left: Veteran singer Joe Chandran singing Danny Boy as
Madam Anna Sharp, 61, playing the "air guitar" while dancing to Blame It On The Boogie at the Esplanade Outdoor Theatre, performed as part of the four-day A Date With Friends festival. ST PHOTOS: DON WONG
Left: Madam Anna Sharp, 61, playing the "air guitar" while dancing to Blame It On The Boogie at the Esplanade Outdoor Theatre, performed as part of the four-day A Date With Friends festival. Far left: Veteran singer Joe Chandran singing Danny Boy as
Veteran singer Joe Chandran singing Danny Boy as Ms Mary Chiam (left), 68, and Mdm Rina Tay, 58, dance around him.ST PHOTOS: DON WONG

Vintage tunes from Singapore's golden age of rock and pop - the 1960s and 70s - reverberated through the Esplanade last night as over a hundred people shook off their inhibitions and danced to the music.

The crowd clapped and waved while some jumped to their feet as former frontman of the The X-periments Joe Chandran, now known as Joseph Aaron after becoming a Christian, and local band Dimension 5 powered through hit songs from that era, including I'm Your Boogie Man and Kung Fu Fighting.

The 69-year-old came ready to go all out in his performance, taking the stage in running shoes.

His performance and that by Dimension 5 at the Esplanade Outdoor Theatre last night, which drew a crowd of over a thousand, rounded off the four-day A Date With Friends festival, and what was a full year of preparation by Esplanade staff.

"The night was created for seniors," said the festival's lead programmer Christopher Rodrigo.

He said the festival not only allows former rock stars to showcase their talents again, but also inspires seniors in the audience to not let age define them. "Let's not forget about the seniors who contributed to nation-building and the music scene," he said.

A Date With Friends was started in 2004 as a festival for seniors, by seniors. It brought back veteran local singers popular in the 1960s to 80s, who in turn brought the audience on a trip down memory lane as they belted out hits from yesteryear.

Its popularity has grown, with the crowd - most of them seniors - hitting 30,000 in recent years.

Mr Aaron, who now lives in Melbourne, Australia, and does only weekend gigs when he is on holiday here, said it is exciting being able to revive songs from the past.

"Seeing the audience dance and clap makes me feel I've still got it," he said with a laugh.

The last few days also saw performances by getai stars and the Moulmein-Cairnhill ukulele interest group.

Ms Grace Wada, 65, who brought a group of 44 seniors from Thong Kheng seniors activity centre in Queenstown to attend the show, was among those on the dance floor.

"Memories from the old days always come rushing back when I listen to the oldies, especially when they are being sung by singers from those days," she said.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 07, 2016, with the headline 'Sunday night fever as seniors boogie to oldies'. Print Edition | Subscribe