Detours to Paradise, Part I

Photos by MJ Klein and Hui-chen  This article contains FOOD PHOTOS

A new movie premiered in northern Taiwan this weekend.  Also, a new band premiered as well.  This is part one of the story and there is a lot to tell – so let’s get started!

Shot entirely in Taiwan, Detours to Paradise is a brand new movie with premiers in Taoyuan, Taipei, Taichung and Kaohsiung.

Taoyuan Premier

Detours to Paradise, Part I

This is Oath (left, of Fong Band fame) and Ah-A (from the Blue Sky band) waiting outside the club downstairs.

We began the day by viewing the movie Detours to Paraside in a local theater next to the Thai club where we were going to perform that night.  After the movie we went over to the club but found that it wasn’t open yet.

Detours to Paradise, Part I

We milled around for bit, and then finally the club opened and we all went upstairs.  We had been waiting for some time.

Detours to Paradise, Part I

This is the name of the club in Thai.  It’s located at #60 Jhong Jhen Road, about 100 meters from the Taoyuan Train Station.  This article is geotagged with the location of the club.

Detours to Paradise, Part I

When we finally got inside the club, we found it a beehive of activity.  The club had shut down for two days to undergo a massive rebuild.  Workers were everywhere, busily finishing up tasks that needed to be completed before the patrons arrive later.  Someone told me that they had been working for 48 hours straight with no sleep.

Detours to Paradise, Part I

This is a side shot of the stage where we would be performing later.

Detours to Paradise, Part I

This shot shows some of the creative lighting that had been installed in the club.  The colors rotate through the spectrum.

Detours to Paradise, Part I

We began setting up the drum equipment.  The stage equipment would arrive later on.

Detours to Paradise, Part I

2 guys from the band are setting up the drums, making adjustments to the angle of the toms.

Detours to Paradise, Part I

In the meantime, wires were being laid out.  Notice the JBL sound reinforcement system.  During the construction, the sound “engineers” were testing the equipment and it was extremely loud – dangerously loud in fact. I had to wear earplugs because I felt that my hearing was being damaged by the high pressure levels.  Night after night, drunken patrons are exposed to these high pressure sound levels and they are all losing their hearing – even if they don’t realize it.  Generally speaking, everything in Taiwan is loud! Too loud if you ask me.

Detours to Paradise, Part I

The wires were then strung over the grid.  The club very cleverly had an overhead grid system that allows virtually anything to be hung from it (such as lights) and also wires run overhead.

Detours to Paradise, Part I

In short order, the drums were all ready.  You can see my VOX amp just to the right of the photo.  I always use my own equipment but most bands like to use the “house” amplifiers that are provided by the sound company.  The sound company wouldn’t be arriving until much later on.  We couldn’t do our sound check until the other gear arrived.

At some point I should explain something about the band, so it might as well be now.

As many readers may recall, I play with the Fong Band which is a Thai band living in Taiwan.  If you search this website for “Fond Band” you will find several articles about us.  Several of the members of the Fong Band have returned to Thailand, leaving only 2 members on Taiwan: Mr. Oath and myself.

Now, as you might recall from this article in 2007, I played a Southeast Asian music festival, where I saw a band called Blue Sky for the first time.  Later that evening I went to a restaurant of the same name.  Several of the members of Blue Sky have also left Taiwan.  So, when our booking agent called, looking for a Thai band to play several upcoming shows, we combined parts of three different bands into one new band, and we used the most recognized name.  So, now we are the all new Blue Sky Band. This was our premier gig.

Detours to Paradise, Part I

We decided to go out and get something to eat because there wasn’t anything else for us to do until the equipment arrived later.  We walked past the Taoyuan train station to the area behind the station where the Thai restaurants are.

Detours to Paradise, Part I

Notice the menu book with photographs.  Smart!  We ordered food from this Isaan style Thai restaurant.

Detours to Paradise, Part I

I always learn new words in Thai when I hear people speaking it.

Detours to Paradise, Part I

Ah-A (left) and our booking agent, Mr. Fang, check out some photos from earlier in the day.

Finally, the food arrived!

Detours to Paradise, Part I

Som tam, or papaya salad.

Detours to Paradise, Part I

A Vietnamese style of Pad Thai.

Detours to Paradise, Part I

Really great Tom Yum spicy Thai soup.  Just look at those dried roasted peppers!

Detours to Paradise, Part I

Pad Thai.

Detours to Paradise, Part I

Egg salad, Thai style.

Detours to Paradise, Part I

We destroyed most of the dishes.  This was a fantastic meal – nice and leisurely.

Detours to Paradise, Part I

We returned to the club.  With nothing to do except wait for the equipment to arrive, we had the club waiter bring out a table and some Sang Som rum to pass the time.

Detours to Paradise, Part I

We had the front area all to ourselves.  It was pretty boring just waiting for the equipment to arrive.  In the meantime, the club had opened for business and patrons were arriving by the minute.  I hate doing sound checks with patrons present but we had no choice in the matter.

Detours to Paradise, Part I

Finally, the equipment arrived along with 2 techs who began setting everything up.

Detours to Paradise, Part I

Here I am warming up my amp and guitar, waiting for the go-ahead for sound check.  My litte VOX AD-30VTXL was running approximately 75% power.  It’s really loud for 30 watts.

Detours to Paradise, Part I

Detours to Paradise, Part I

Detours to Paradise, Part I

The club was starting to fill up.  If the equipment had arrived earlier we could have done a sound check without onlookers….

Detours to Paradise, Part I

Almost ready…..

Detours to Paradise, Part I

We began our soundcheck and the patrons got up and danced to the one song we played.  I wanted to hide behind the JBL speaker cabinets.

Detours to Paradise, Part I

After sound check we went outside the club and back to our table.  We stared at this scene for several more hours until it was time to play.  The tables are covered with promotional materials and mobile phone card items.

Detours to Paradise, Part I

After pushing our starting time back 3 times, finally the hosts went on the stage to introduce the evening’s activities.  If you ask me, they talked entirely too long, but that seems to be how it’s done in Taiwan.

Detours to Paradise, Part I

We hit the stage!

Detours to Paradise, Part I

This shot shows a happy patron giving Ah-A a one hundred NT dollar note.

Detours to Paradise, Part I

By the way, Ah-A is also one of the stars in the movie.  He is in several scenes with speaking parts.  Some people in the crowd recognized him from the movie.

Detours to Paradise, Part I

Now Ah-A is getting some flowers from a fan.

Detours to Paradise, Part I

Thai audiences love to interact with performers on a scale way higher than I had ever seen in the US or Canada.  Often this interaction can be disruptive as people will stand in front of you holding drinks that they expect you to take from them – and drink immediately.  Giving gifts of flowers and money as also disruptive.  I like audience interaction but I cannot stop playing to take stuff from fans in the audience.  Ah-A had a pile of flowers on the stage in the first 10 minutes, plus a couple hundred NT in his pocket.  Ah-A is an excellent front man and a good singer.  He really worked the audience very well.

Detours to Paradise, Part I

Believe it or not, I’ve lost weight.  Even though I still look heavy I can tell from these photographs that I’ve slimmed down a bit.  I need to keep going though!

Detours to Paradise, Part I

The main stage lighting was green and thus the green hue to all the photos!  This is how the scene really looked though.

Detours to Paradise, Part I

Detours to Paradise, Part I

Here I am taking a solo.  The crowd loves solos….

Detours to Paradise, Part I

Detours to Paradise, Part I

Detours to Paradise, Part I

That’s Oath on the left, playing bass.

Detours to Paradise, Part I

I really like this shot of Ah-A.

Detours to Paradise, Part I

We played a short set to open the premier and then the actors went onstage.  This is me with the 2 main stars of the movie, plus the director Rich Lee, in the center.

Detours to Paradise, Part I

Rich Lee went up on stage.

Detours to Paradise, Part I

Next, the actors went up on stage.

Detours to Paradise, Part I

Detours to Paradise, Part I

Next, we went onstage with the movie actors and did a couple of songs together.  This was really fun as everyone took their turn singing a very famous Thai song.

Detours to Paradise, Part I

Detours to Paradise, Part I

We finished up our set with the actors onstage with us.

It was a lot of fun being back on stage, playing those great Thai songs with the guys.  The Thai audience is very accepting of having a non-Thai person on stage with the band, which is very cool.

This concludes Part I, the Taoyuan premeir.  In Part II, I will show you the Taipei premeir that took place at the Taipei Main Station.  It was an outdoor, afternoon show.

Thanks for reading!  Be sure to leave a rating for this article.

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13 comments

    1. Dennis, that hasn’t happened yet. as soon as i get the date i will post it on our Events page. i do have the Taichung premier listed though, as i do have the date for that one.

  1. Looking forward to seeing the 2nd installment. Nice work. Those green lights would have annoyed me if I were there – I’d have been breaking out the gels.

    1. Craig, think of how annoying it was being on stage having those things pointed at you. what a silly color scheme! i wish the club had spent more on lighting the stage!

  2. MJ excellent pictures and posting. It looked like a great time. I am happy to hear you have also lost weight my friend, have you been riding your new bike?

    I too like Craig would have needed some good shades for those green lights. I am happy to hear that the two bands have merged. Is Fong likely to get back together?

    Here in Thailand nearly every place you go the music is just so loud, over the top. Even at what I would call top restaurants the music is usually too loud for dinner music. Maybe this is an Asian thing.

    Thanks to Hui-chen for the pictures, it had to have been her behind the camera, right.

    Looking forward to part 2.

    Bruntys last blog post..Thai High School Graduation Day, Isaan Thailand.

    1. Brunty, yes it is Hui-chen behind the camera when i’m in front of it. Fong is reduced to being a recording project now. i’m still working with their writer, Oath. hopefully we’ll be finished with the recording in a couple of months.

      i don’t know what it is about people here but they certainly do not understand “too” anything: too loud, too much, too big, etc. etc. everything is over the top. my ears are still ringing and i was wearing earplugs!

      i’m riding the new trike as much as weather permits these days. thanks.

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  4. Ditto about the excruciating loud sounds and music we are exposed here in Taiwan! I especially hate it at weddings and other similar dinner parties where they’ve got singing non-stop. You have to shout just to be to speak the person right next you!

    andress last blog post..bam-bam olivia

    1. Andres, i am with you on that! what i can’t stand is that there is always one person who insists on having a conversation under those circumstances. i have a lot of trouble hearing, let alone trying to understand a conversation in another language. it’s really annoying!

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