Photos by Hui-chen
I apologize for the late blogging but I am quite sick, what with our heavy travel and performance schedules. I seem to have picked up a flu virus, and I’m trying to recover.
UPDATE: Hui-chen helped me straighten out some of the confusion! Additions are in red type.
Our story begins in Taipei. Here we see a competition dance team preparing themselves. Notice the vertical sign in the background. This is a cultural event for SE Asian workers here in Taiwan.
It was a gorgeous day after starting out cloudy and a bit cold.
This year, the program began with monks doing their thing for some time. They were chanting and the droning tended to lull me to sleep.
More preparation by the Thai team. there was something of a “backstage” area but I never saw it. The area was full of women’s dance teams dressing. Each country represented had 2 teams of dancers.
Notice the makeup on the male dancer. He’ll be on stage later.
In the meantime, the Blue Sky band was relaxing and taking a break. My wife, Hui-chen was the one taking photos on this day, and all of the photos used in this story are her shots. The guys were sitting in the shade drinking (believe it or not) Coors Light (but don’t ask me why!). Today we’re wearing green shirts to avoid any conflict or possible association with Thai politics.
These are the various judges for the dance competition.
This is the Thai team doing their thing.
After some time, the second Thai team consisting of 2 female and 2 male dancers went on stage.
The dance was quite elaborate. I didn’t see much of it as I was behind the stage most of the time. Thank goodness that Hui-chen was on the job with the camera.
This is a ceremony that we’ve seen before. This is a ceremony to honor one’s elders in Thai culture.
The person on the floor bows to their elder and gives them a blessing.
Then the elder person sprinkles water on their head. For more information on this ritual, please see this article.
Finally, we were called to the stage for our first of 2 sets.
RA (as usual) was “on” and he lead the band in a short set of 6 songs. I don’t know why, but these shows are strange. The band is some kind of a “plug-in” that goes between other activities. I’ll talk more about this in the next article.
I haven’t used my Fender Stratocaster guitar in quite some time, so I decided to use it this weekend. I have to admit it sounded pretty darn good with the VOX amp, and honestly, I thought the band sounded hot. I’m rather critical of how we sound, too.
In case you’re wondering, that black object on the headstock is a clip-on tuner.
Only a few people in the crowd were on their feet for the first set.
Next up were the Vietnamese Indonesian dancers.
This is the second a Vietnamese dance team. I have to give this team credit because one dancer’s top broke and came slightly undone. She was wearing an undergarment so nothing was showing, but she was clearly embarassed by it, yet continued to dance without missing a beat.
Now this is where it gets confusing to me. This is yet another Thai team. So I don’t know if what I previously called their second team is in fact, part of the first team. Oh well, just enjoy the photos!
Hui-chen took a shot of this street perform and she said the guy was really great.
As you can see, it was a gorgeous day!
Don’t ask me if this is a dance team or not, because I don’t know! But they were playing Thai music and people got up to dance.
More Indonesian dancing.
This is the Philippine team.
I’m not sure that the girl on the far right is even old enough to dress like that!
OK, now I’m totally confused. There was so much dancing going on that I have no idea who’s on stage now! Some of the dance routines were entertainment only and not part of the competition.
This (I believe) is a Vietnamese dance group. More Thai dancing. No matter who they are, I thought their dance was great.
The entire time that the show was going on, this water truck stood at the ready. Notice the fire hoses on the ground. You’ll see what this water truck is for in a moment.
This woman was playing a saw. Hui-chen said it made a sound like a scary movie.
This is another Philippine dance team.
Now for the prize awards. I wasn’t present to witness the prizes so you’ll just have to look at the photos and figure out who won what.
One team won the top prize of 10,000 NT dollars. Hui-chen told me later that it was Thailand that won the dance competition. Not bad!
The band went back on stage and began set #2. You’ve already seen enough shots of the band so we won’t show you any more. Instead you’ll see what was going on in the crowd while the band was playing. Let me tell you, it was a lot of fun playing on stage and seeing what was going on in front of the stage at the same time.
This man is pouring water on himself. Remember, this is Songkran and this is a Thai water holiday.
So naturally, there was a lot of water throwing.
But the real fun began when the fire hoses were turned on!
This guy jumped up on stage beside me while we were playing. I have no idea who he is! He was barefoot (and bare-assed) and for a few seconds he was hopping on one foot as there was some bottle cap debris on the stage and he stepped on it. It was too funny!
Here, we’re posing with some students who are doing a story on the psychology of bands. They found the Blue Sky band particularly interesting because we’re a Thai band in Taiwan, with a white foreigner on guitar. They don’t speak English and I don’t speak Thai. They wondered how we can communicate well enough to play songs together. I explained to them that music is a universal language that we all have in common.
Thanks for reading! Our next article is one that you don’t want to miss! We’ll show you what it’s like to be onstage in front of 15,000 people!
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