Photos by MJ Klein & Hui-chen (with FOOD PHOTOS)
The Blue Sky band was invited to play at the Bitan Music Fest on Sunday, March 15, 2009. But, the story of the weekend begins with our friend Andres….
The next section is probably NSFW, so be sure you can view discreetly before continuing onto the rest of the article.
We went up to Taipei Saturday evening and met up with Andres, Olivia and Karen (right to left) for some “hot pot” fare, since the temperature dropped considerably that evening. Olivia is really cute!
This is a shot of Hui-chen’s pot, featuring goat (not my favorite by any means). I had some dental work done so I was only drinking beef soup with nothing in it. But the soup was delicious. Andres suggested this place and it was really good.
After dinner Hui-chen and I went over to Andres’ home and had a few drinks while talking with his father. After watching an hour of Tremors 3 on TV, Andres suggested that we check out a bar in the area.
We walked about 5 minutes to a little dive that was full of cigarette smoke (I thought indoor smoking was banned in Taiwan recently)? After we sat down the waitress informed us of an NT600 minimum order because there was going to be a “show” in a few minutes.
The show consisted of a female in a scanty costume doing some semi-lewd stuff with a male escort, before going on to doing other semi-lewd stuff with customers in the audience.
She literally climbed this guy after making him take off his shirt. I think this is more than “semi-lewd” after all.
Then, in style worthy of a spread in The Real Taiwan, she went onto other customers and their friends. Notice that she has a microphone. She was asking compromising questions and so forth.
Yes, she came over to me of course. I don’t blend.
She stuck the microphone in my face and I informed her that my wife was sitting across from me:
This is Hui-chen (seated, of course!) with the showgirl, who is striking a pose for the camera. We all had a good laugh watching the show and we didn’t mind the minimum charge, really. Not shown: Andres, off to the far right outside of the photo, laughing his ass off.
After that we went to our hotel. The next morning, we had a rehearsal scheduled for 09:00 at The Blue Sky restaurant.
Remember, this is a new band and we’ve only had a couple of rehearsals. I learned all these new songs (Thai songs) and we needed to polish some of them up a bit. Only, these 2 guys were more than 2 hours late to the rehearsal because they decided to get cocked the night before. This is Manoon (left) the drummer and Peter the other guitar player, as we prepared to depart to Bitan for the festival. I think that Manoon is from the Mexican part of Thailand….
We arrived in Bitan about an hour before the show was supposed to begin.
A sizable crowd had formed, although I suspect it was more just to get out of the sun than to wait for the show to begin.
One thing that I liked is that they actually had a backstage area for the musicians. Many shows I’ve done in Taiwan has no area like this. Notice the newspapers on the table:
No one was more surprised that I was to find my photo on the cover of this Thai-language music newspaper! This photo was taken at the movie premier we played a few weeks ago. RA and I signed a bunch of these covers.
While we did a sound check and prepared for the show, Hui-chen took a walk around with the camera and shot some of the sights at Bitan. It’s a nice outdoor area with a lot of families taking in the wonderful sunshine. It was such a beautiful day and quite a contrast from the evening before.
You can rent these little paddle boats and go out on the river.
In the meantime, what do you think we were doing after sound check? Drinking Sang Som of course!
I was originally told that Blue Sky would be starting at 16:00. 5 minutes before 15:00 I was informed that we would be performing in 5 minutes at 15:00 due to some scheduling issues that I don’t understand, since the schedule was published. What I found interesting is that even the very songs we were going to play were published in a hand out program! Anyway, the hosts hit the stage and did what they always do in Taiwan – talk too much.
Finally we hit the stage and lit up the first song.
Once again, I used the VOX amp and the Brian May guitar. I had made some neck adjustments and also on the action, and it still didn’t seem quite right for some reason. But it got me through the show and stayed in tune well.
I’m just going to show you the photos and add some comments on some of them.
Our friends Craig Ferguson and Selina (far left corner) were in attendance and taking photographs.
It really was a perfect day for an outdoor concert.
Look carefully at the “waist” of my guitar, at the 2 small white patches (view the large photo here). I had printed out the 12-song set list and taped it to an inconspicuous spot on the guitar. Since these songs are Thai songs and I cannot read Thai, I couldn’t just write the names of the songs in Thai and read them later. Also I didn’t have any translations of what the names were, except for one song. So, based on how the songs sounded, the names of the artists, etc., I made nicknames for the songs and used those. The promoter of the show is fascinated by the fact that I am able to perform with a Thai band in the first place. But I explained that music is music and that is a universal language that we all understand.
Peter handled most of the solos as I tend to not copy guitar solos and prefer to play my own. Many Thai songs have “theme” solos and he knows most of them so it only made sense for him to play them. I did mostly free-style soloing.
The afternoon sun was going down and at some point it was burning my left arm pretty well! You can see my left arm is in the sun!
Unlike other crowds, this one was rather subdued. They did wave flags and a few people danced though.
This is the other band that played that day. I didn’t catch their name but they were supposed to open the show. I thought they were pretty good.
This is the line for the free drinks.
After the second band played, we got back up on stage for 5 more songs. By now, the sun was pretty far down.
In the meantime, all those little boats were out on the river.
Finally the show is over….
Believe it or not, my gut is about 1/2 the size it was a few months ago. Man, it’s photos like this that keep me working out and eating less!
Here is Superbaby Olivia, with her father Andres.
Olivia is getting around quite well these days! Here she is trying to make the “V” Sign of Asian Photo Taking. It’s going to take a little while longer before she’s a pro at it.
This is the last shot of the story. Hui-chen, with RA (Ah-A) and Mr. Oath on the right. We adjourned to the Blue Sky club for dinner (food photos in a later story) and had a really excellent conversation on Thai and Chinese grammar. I learned a couple new Thai phrases for the next time I go back to Thailand. It was the end of a good, long day.
Blue Sky is performing at Taoyuan Stadium on April 12th for the Thai New Year Festival.
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