Watching Friends Perform Live

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One of the things I love about Thailand is the amount of live music and shows that I get to see. Sometimes it's a band playing at a restaurant, or perhaps it's karaoke at a village festival, or maybe it's a children's troop performing a dance routine. Not all of it is great talent, but it is always performed with zest and fun and huge smiles, so it's easy to forgive the off-key notes and asynchronous dance steps.

I was in Pattaya last night and as we strolled down the infamous Walking Street (think Bourbon Street on steroids) I was amazed at how many bands were performing in the bars. And they were all quite good, whether they were playing Thai love songs or Bob Marley or the Rolling Stones or hip hop cover songs. Even the Thai Elvis wasn't bad.

But live performances are even better when I know the people who are performing. I have always loved watching my friends in band concerts or in stage plays or dance recitals. When I know the person on stage and I know their normal everyday personality, and then I see them become someone else for a few minutes, it sends chills down my spine. Especially when they forget the crowd in front of them and it's just them and their bass or their dance or their script. They tilt their head back a bit and close their eyes and pour their soul into their art. It brings me close to tears every time.

This week I was lucky enough to experience this not once but twice. The reason for being in Pattaya last night was to watch my friend Jay give a singing concert at a fundraiser. (Jay is the "male voice" for the ITS4Thai website, by the way.) We thought it would be a small affair at a piano bar, but in fact it was in the street in front of the bar and hundreds of Thais and farang were in attendance. Jay's performance was great, and the songs he picked (none of which I knew) really highlighted his talent.

And then this evening I went to hear an ex-student of mine named Yossiri play bass in his band at Central World. He said that it was a hard-rock band, but the music they played was surprisingly melodic and downright bouncy at times. Again, I loved being in the crowd and watching someone I know pour his passion out for an appreciative audience.

Yossiri sent me a link to his band's You Tube video from this show. It's not very high quality, but you can still make him out playing bass on the right side of the stage. Feel free to check it out!

2 Comments

It seems like Thais are less afraid of public performance than some cultures (think the US). Quite commong for youths to form bands in school, etc. Glad to hear you had the opportunity to see two friends perform this week.

Chris: Yes, and I think that Thais in general are more supportive of those who are performing. They seem to appreciate the effort more than the technical ability. I have seen very enthusiastic cheering for very mediocre or downright terrible performances. For example, the Academy Fantasia series which take talent-less teens and try to make them stars is very popular for some reason I will never understand :)

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This page contains a single entry by Stuart published on February 27, 2009 9:46 PM.

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