Green Day Live in Bangkok
Sunday morning coffee concerts at the Wigmore Hall in London are a staid affair. Quite possibly they could be enlivened by ear-splitting amplification, pyrotechnics, spraying water over the audience and stage-diving. Such entertainment was certainly prevalent at last night’s performance by Green Day at Impact Arena on the northern outskirts of Bangkok. And if the staid way that the audience at the Wigmore Hall were replaced by a vast throng of people jumping up and down on the spot, waving their hands in the air, clapping and shouting, well, why not? Of course, I was left with stiff shoulders, aching hands and a hoarse voice, but they say that pain is character-building. I am left wondering, though, why I spent a small fortune for a seat which I didn’t find much occasion to use. It was far more fun being on my feet with everybody else.
The audience at the Wigmore Hall dresses most conservatively. The late-middle aged and elderly turn up in their droves dressed in shirt, tie and jacket or ever-so-tasteful skirt, blouse and knitted cardigan. Here the dress code was equally conservative: black T-shirt and jeans.
Of course, the coffee concerts at the Wigmore Hall conclude with a civilised glass of sherry (or, for the abstemious, a cup of coffee). Here the only refreshment was Singha beer (which you had to pay for) – from one of the sponsors of the concert – not that I imbibed. Sitting for two and a half hours with a full bladder is far from my idea of fun.
As far as I recall, the Wigmore Hall doesn’t explicitly inform its audience that glass bottles, chains, weapons and illegal drugs are banned. Nor does it tell them that cameras are banned “for your safety”. Of course, almost every mobile ‘phone has a built-in camera these days, so at times in front of me I saw a sea of mobile ‘phone screens help up better to capture the artistic moment for posterity in a grainy picture.
As a prelude to the performance a performer dressed in a pink rabbit suit staggered drunkenly across stage clutching a bottle of beer in each hand. I couldn’t tell whether it was Singha, but it certainly demonstrated the perils of the demon drink. It was actually quite funny. Then Green Day took to the stage…
The performance was both everything I had expected and everything I had hoped for. They performed a full range of their greatest hits, from the early days to the latest album. There were also a couple of songs I didn’t know. Many of the Thai fans knew all the lyrics, and at one point a young man was hauled out of the audience to sign the opening verse of one of the songs. He did amazingly well – and I’m sure it’s an experience he’ll remember for life. It’s not every day you get to perform before a packed arena.
The concert ended with Billie Joe doing a couple of solo numbers with him accompanying himself on acoustic guitar. His voice was a little hoarse after a two and a half hour performance, and the songs were a little bitter-sweet (“Wake Me Up When September Ends”, which is about the death of his father, and “Good Riddance (Time of your Life)”). All in all, for me, a great way to spend an evening.