2009 Thai New Year, Part II

No Gravatar

Photos by Hui-chen, except where noted

2009 Thai New Year, Part II

There were over 15,000 screaming Thai people at Taoyuan Stadium on April 12, 2009.  Now for the rest of the story….

2009 Thai New Year, Part II

The day at Taoyuan Stadium started out much like last year’s celebration, with the devoted kneeling on a long tarp, with bags of offerings in front of them.

2009 Thai New Year, Part II

2009 Thai New Year, Part II

2009 Thai New Year, Part II

These are objects of veneration to the Thai people.

2009 Thai New Year, Part II

Here we see the monks that are going to walk the procession line shortly.

2009 Thai New Year, Part II

2009 Thai New Year, Part II

It’s not really a procession, but this is a line of monks getting their donations, or “alms” which are offerings from the people, in the form of food usually.  As the monks pass by the people with their bowls, the people place the offerings in it.

2009 Thai New Year, Part II

This shot is funny to me.  Normally, Thai people take their shoes off when entering any structure, including the dentist’s office for example.  Here, people have taken off their shoes to go into the backstage area, which is basically a tent.

2009 Thai New Year, Part II

What the monks did previously was on the playing field of the stadium.  Now the monks gathered on the stage and used the microphones and sound reinforcement system to pray.

2009 Thai New Year, Part II

To me, it sounded just like Saturday’s program.

2009 Thai New Year, Part II

I’m not sure who these people are or why they rated a seat on the stage, but just like yesterday, there were some apparent VIPs who were up close to the monks.

2009 Thai New Year, Part II

2009 Thai New Year, Part II

In the meantime, a lot of people were taking photographs.  That’s Kevin in the black shirt on the lower left, and David Reid behind the guy in the black and white striped shirt.  At times it looked like a press conference on stage.

2009 Thai New Year, Part II

This is a shot of the camera crane on the field.

2009 Thai New Year, Part II

This is a shot of the main console area, where the show was mixed.  The stadium has been painted since last year and it looked a thousand times better this year!

2009 Thai New Year, Part II

The devoted gather at the edge of the stage to hear the monks.

2009 Thai New Year, Part II

This shot was taken around 10:45 and the stadium was still quite empty.

2009 Thai New Year, Part II

2009 Thai New Year, Part II

The first part of the music program began with this guy playing a Thai instrument.

2009 Thai New Year, Part II

He had a couple of other musicians with him and they were playing traditional Thai songs.

2009 Thai New Year, Part II

I was backstage so I couldn’t see what was going on.  Good thing that Hui-chen took these photos or else I wouldn’t have been able to see it.

2009 Thai New Year, Part II

This gentleman is the flute player.  He has 2 of them at once.

2009 Thai New Year, Part II

2009 Thai New Year, Part II

2009 Thai New Year, Part II

There were a couple of dancers doing routines to the traditional songs.

2009 Thai New Year, Part II

The entire show was videotaped.  I’d like to get a copy of that.

2009 Thai New Year, Part II

Whenever some form of live music came on, people pressed forward to be close to the players.

2009 Thai New Year, Part II

The flute player is now holding the smaller flute and playing the bigger flute.

2009 Thai New Year, Part II

From what I could hear, these guys sounded really great.  I like traditional Thai music a lot and these guys played some classic songs.

2009 Thai New Year, Part II

All rather suddenly (as these gigs go) Blue Sky was called to the stage.  Here are a couple of sound techs working with Mr. Oath to get the bass going.

2009 Thai New Year, Part II

This is me, checking things out.  As it turned out, my amp settings were all messed up and I didn’t notice it.

2009 Thai New Year, Part II

Notice the blue cables in the hands of the sound techs.  I had asked them if they had any really long guitar cables and they produced several for me to check out.  I selected one of them and played a few notes very quietly on my Fender Stratocaster.

2009 Thai New Year, Part II

All we had to do was to set foot on the stage and the people started coming forward.  By this time (11:40) the stadium had really filled up.

2009 Thai New Year, Part II

We went off on the first tune.

2009 Thai New Year, Part II

Something wasn’t quite right.  My guitar had a very strange tone to it, and there was a squeal between chords as I was playing.  It appeared that there was a problem with that long cable I had selected.

Before I knew it, it was time for me to take a solo on that first song.  Any guitar player will tell you that one of the most frustrating things about playing is trying to solo when the sound isn’t right.  I have to admit that I did play a very glaring wrong note out of key because I was so thrown off.  I shouldn’t have been but that’s the truth about it.  That song was over quickly, thankfully.  I hate when things throw me off like that!

I ran back to the amp where the tech was and asked him to get me another cable.  It was then that I notice that somehow, during some part of the setup, someone had accidentally changed the settings on virtually every knob on the amp.  I quickly reset the amp.  Here in Taiwan I have no personal road crew to set my equipment up.  That’s been quite an adjustment from playing in the US and Canada.

2009 Thai New Year, Part II

I wasn’t the only one with problems.  The drums needed a bit of tweaking before things were just right.

We started the second song without me as I was changing cables.  Once I got back going again, with a good cable and correct amplifier settings, the second song was about 1/2 way through.

2009 Thai New Year, Part II

Here you can see the audience dancing and appreciating the music, despite the issues.

With the ending of the second song, RA said “that’s all” and ushered us off the stage.  I cannot really say what happened.  Was that our soundcheck?  If so, we never played those 2 opening songs later in the “real” set.  Was that supposed to be just a short teaser for the crowd that was getting thicker by the minute?  I will never know because no one has explained the logic of a 2-song set to me.  All I know is that we played 2 songs and split.

2009 Thai New Year, Part II

Just as suddenly as our 2-song set was over, there began a procession line going around the track.

2009 Thai New Year, Part II

I don’t really know much about what was being carried around so all I can do is present the photographs for you to enjoy, and tell you what little I do know.

2009 Thai New Year, Part II

I can tell you that these are images of the Thai King and Queen.

2009 Thai New Year, Part II

2009 Thai New Year, Part II

These are the same dancers at yesterday’s show in Taipei.

2009 Thai New Year, Part II

Ditto these guys.

2009 Thai New Year, Part II

2009 Thai New Year, Part II

2009 Thai New Year, Part II

2009 Thai New Year, Part II

2009 Thai New Year, Part II

2009 Thai New Year, Part II

2009 Thai New Year, Part II

2009 Thai New Year, Part II

This is some kind of crystal Buddha image.

2009 Thai New Year, Part II

2009 Thai New Year, Part II

I was backstage during nearly all of this going on.  It was all videotaped.

2009 Thai New Year, Part II

This is Taoyan County Commissioner, Chu Li-lun addressing the crowd.

2009 Thai New Year, Part II

This is the crowd’s reaction to a politician speaking Chinese at a Thai celebration.

2009 Thai New Year, Part II

After addressing the crowd, Commissioner Chu was given the honor of turning on the fire hose to spray the crowd.  The photos of the water spraying were taken by me because I didn’t want to risk Hui-chen getting hit with the hose.

2009 Thai New Year, Part II

2009 Thai New Year, Part II

2009 Thai New Year, Part II

2009 Thai New Year, Part II

After the water spraying, there was dancing.  Some of the same groups from yesterday attended today’s celebration.

2009 Thai New Year, Part II

2009 Thai New Year, Part II

This shot was taken at just after 13:00 and shows the stadium field filling up.

2009 Thai New Year, Part II

Finally the dancing was over and it was time to play again!

2009 Thai New Year, Part II

This Thai gentleman came up on stage, and he sang “Shao Wei” in Chinese for the Taiwanese in attendance in the audience.  I don’t know this guy’s name or who he is but he sounded pretty good.

2009 Thai New Year, Part II

When we hit the stage, I threw out a handful of these Blue Sky flags, and the audience loved them.

2009 Thai New Year, Part II

Mr. Oath (playing bass in the background) and RA join in the singing.

2009 Thai New Year, Part II

2009 Thai New Year, Part II

Now the crowd was pumped, and RA whipped them up into almost a frenzy.  He’s a very good front man and he knows how to work a crowd.

2009 Thai New Year, Part II

2009 Thai New Year, Part II

The second set started off with a real bang!

2009 Thai New Year, Part II

On the second set, I (being highly critical) can tell you that the band sounded awesome.

2009 Thai New Year, Part II

Several people had paintings of Thai flags on their faces.

2009 Thai New Year, Part II

The crowd started enthusiastically waving the Blue Sky flags!

2009 Thai New Year, Part II

With the amp settings correct, and no strange noises coming from the guitar, I settled down to really enjoying playing this concert.  By my estimate, there were more than 15,000 people in attendance.  There were significantly more people there than last year.

2009 Thai New Year, Part II

2009 Thai New Year, Part II

2009 Thai New Year, Part II

I had worn one of my Thai silk shirts over the red t-shirt.  It was hot but it looked really good in the sun.  Our agent had decided that red was the color of the day so we wore our red shirts.  There were no political incidents at all.  In fact, there were not incidents of any type whatsoever, despite the fact that many in the audience were drunk.

2009 Thai New Year, Part II

2009 Thai New Year, Part II

2009 Thai New Year, Part II

2009 Thai New Year, Part II

Peter gets into a solo….

2009 Thai New Year, Part II

The guy in the center of the photo has a bottle of powder.  That’s what made the cloud you see.  Thais love their powder for Songkran!

2009 Thai New Year, Part II

RA works the crowd.  Many people beckoned me to come down to the very edge of the stage so they could shake my hand.  All I could do was smile and apologize.  There was no way I was going to risk falling (or being pulled) into the crowd.  This was one of the friendliest and best-behaved crowds I’ve ever had the pleasure of performing before.

2009 Thai New Year, Part II

2009 Thai New Year, Part II

If you look closely just to the left of RA’s waist, you can see water drops frozen in space by the camera’s shutter.  Someone in the audience was spraying him with a water gun.

If you check out this photo by our friend Ashish, you will see drops of water on my guitar too, from the same guy.  I’ll give him credit for trying to miss my guitar at least.

2009 Thai New Year, Part II

RA doing his thing….

2009 Thai New Year, Part II

2009 Thai New Year, Part II

2009 Thai New Year, Part II

It was a beautiful day, a fantastic audience and a successful concert performance.  I wish all of our readers could have been there.  That would have made it perfect.

Thanks for reading.  We’d love your comments.  Feel free to rate this article too!

Articles in series 2009 Thai New Year:

  1. 2009 Thai New Year, Part I
  2. 2009 Thai New Year, Part II
  3. This Week in Food, 0417
(Visited 13 times, 1 visits today)

16 comments

    1. thanks Stefan. unfortunately we don’t play that much – only events intended for the foreign workers, so it’s a couple of times per year.

  1. Hi MJ, that looked like a great day and what a crowd of Thai revellers.

    It was good to hear all were well behaved.

    The Buddha statues in an early picture were for each day of the week. You pick the statue of the day you were born. You make a small donation and then tip water over it while offering a prayer or something along those lines.

    The Thai instruments, the flutes as you called them are;

    The bigger one is called a Kaen and will come in different lenghts. It is really hard to play, I have tried and failed. It will be in 7 or 9 pieces of bamboo.

    The round smaller one is called a Wode and is also hard to play as you put the centre which is usually like rubber on your chin and then turn it as you blow.

    The guitar looking thing with two handles or whatever they are called is a Phin and does make a very interesting tune.

    All these instruments are very popular in Isaan music here in North east Thailand. These are played at any Mor Lum concert you attend here in the far north.

    Thanks for sharing MJ.

    Bruntys last blog post..Songkran Water Festival 2009, Isaan Thailand.

    1. Brunty, thanks for all that information! i like how those traditional instruments sound and i must say that i’ve never had the pleasure of hearing them in Thailand. maybe i can go back to Ubon and hear them. thanks Brunty.

  2. Wow that was quite a scene.

    I am glad you overcame your technical difficulties. It can be hard to comeback sometimes. Being the seasoned veteran of many rock battles. You came back and were victorious.

    Congratulations

  3. Hmmmm… I seem to remember dealing with some minor techincal issues in the past between Maxine and your old Orange amp. Sounds like you had some more problematic technical issues this past weekend.

    Now you said that it looks like the crowd was bigger this year than last year. Now… without going thru all of your blogs to find the stories from last years performance… if I remember right… wasn’t it raining off and on during the performance at Taoyuan Stadium??

    By the way… I love the pics of the guy with what looks like a double-new guitar. Really wild looking headstock on it 🙂

    1. Mike, i solved those technical issues with the Orange and the 1958 Epiphone quite some time ago. the VOX amp is totally different and since it’s a modeling amplifier just a simple mis-setting of one knob will result in a completely different sound. oh well, live and learn i say. thanks Mike.

      last year i didn’t do a blog post like i did this year. i put all the photos up on Flickr though. it wasn’t raining last year and i don’t know why but even though there are less workers in Taiwan this year there were more people at the Songkran festival.

      btw, Brunty has given us some more information on those Thai instruments below.

  4. MJ,

    Great pics and article. It inspired me to get some Thai food. The waitress was shocked that I knew it was Thai New year this week and the water spraying.

    1. i found the same thing in the US, owshawng. i went to a Thai restaurant and ordered a few things in Thai and the shock value was huge. they don’t expect people to know much about Thailand i guess. hope you enjoyed your food! thanks for commenting.

    1. Truett, thanks for your kind comments. we are fortunate to be able to do so many different things. the band doesn’t do blues. this band does cover tunes of popular Thai artists. however, i have been known to do blues myself 😉 hope to hang out with you someday. take care.

Comments are closed.