Gangnam Style Flash-mob Event, Siam Paragon: Even though I may not be the biggest fan of Korean star PSY, I wasn’t going to pass the opportunity to grab one of “500 Free Tickets to Gangnam Style Thailand Extra Live” (courtesy of Coca Cola). Advertised as “Biggest Gangnam flash-mob ever”, all we had to do to get free tickets was dance, or should I say straddle along, to Psy’s mega youtube hit at Siam Paragon.
Well, even before I got off the bus at Central World just down the road from the event, it bucketed down of rain, Thailand-style. But certainly not cool season style; it isn’t supposed to rain that bad in late November. Disappointment: Number One. Arriving at Siam Paragon, later than planned and in soggy socks, I wasn’t surprised that the activities had been postponed. I did, however, have no problems signing up for free tickets as everyone else had obviously got stuck in the rain along the way….
Now, this event was advertised as a ‘flash-mob’ – but according to my Internet definition, a flash-mob is supposed to be an unofficial/kinda illegal dance. One similar I imagined to thousands of yellow-shirts bopping away to some concert during their storming of Bangkok International Airport a few years ago. Of course, this was none of the sort, instead there were more than a hundred plain-clothed dancers rehearsing, an hour or so, before they appeared again at the event in either hot Coke outfit, sexy-nurse outfit or strange looking janitor outfits… Very luckily the sun come out… thank Godness ; and the crowds, of which many were university students who were jumping afternoon lectures, began to appear. And so did hundreds of crates of free Coke for all the participants and on-lookers.
Even though the turn-out was disappointingly low due to the damp weather, Coke did nonetheless manage make a television commercial out of the event. And to add a bit of flavor, they nicely mixed in a bout of Loy Krathong dancers… Because of my awesome Gangnam moves, Coke even gave me a leading dance part in the television commercial…. about 2 seconds worth! Unfortunately, none of were paid for dancing Gangnam-style for 15 or so minutes….. but were instead all given a free ticket to PSY’s concert at SCG Stadium (Muangthong Thani Football Club) on the 28 November. Richard Barrow also managed to scoop a free ticket, even though the closet he got to dancing was waltzing around the spectators trying to get the best pics….. as seen in this blog.
PSY Gangnam Concert, SCG Stadium: On the morning of the concert, all of us in Bangkok wake up to the freakiest cool season rain of the year. It had literally poured down all night, so much so, that our roof was leaking and our unclosed rubbish bin was overflowing with stench! Disappointment: Number 2. By this time I had a spare free ticket for the open-air concert, and even though it was free, I couldn’t find a single friend who wanted go. By lunch, due to the continuous rain, I had Richard Barrow ‘tweet’ the ticket to anyone who wanted to go; fortunately within an hour I was on my say to SCG Stadium with a new Russian buddie. Which, in fact, isn’t far from Bangkok Immigration, yes that place most folk go to extend their tourist/non-immigration visas. But, Bangkok Immigration, isn’t actually in Bangkok itself, it’s in Nonthaburi province.
The concert itself was to start at 7:30pm, but all the sponsors had promised “Fun and exciting activities starting at 3pm!”Instead, at 4pm at SCG with the rain still drizzling, the only fun thing we saw worth enjoying the sight of were AIR ASIA promo girls stood at the gates in wet-shirts! Apart from that, all the afternoon activities had been delayed. Disappointment: Number 3. Not wanting to get any more wet, we headed to Muang Thong Thani’s huge food court for a couple of bevvies before having a super cheap steak at Easy Steak restaurant nearby; two big steaks for 200 Baht ain’t easy to find these days.
Hooray! After 18 hours of continuous rain, it disappeared as quickly as it arrived. And before the crowds could arrive at the gates, the ticket touts had already secured their place. With wads of tickets in their hands, the touts were selling ‘FREE’ concert tickets for 500Baht! Just for a laugh I haggled the price down, and sure enough, within 10 seconds the real going rate was 200 Baht a ticket. It was totally pointless to buy a ticket from these touts as sponsors as AIR ASIA were handing out Free tickets left, right and center inside the gates. All one had to do to get a ticket was dance a bit of Gangnam-style with an Air Asia girl for the sponsor’s photograph – as easy as pie! Then, as the the AIR ASIA presenter girls were even better-looking than most of their air-hostesses’, I soon had so many free tickets in my hand that I just returned them!
As my ticket was ‘standing’ (personally, much preferred) I had no problem getting right to the front of the stage, right in front of the projector cameraman actually. For my front row efforts my mug-shot face was on the big screen for the 20,000 audience for the rest of the night! Not surprisingly, I was surrounded by screaming girls who just loved the imported Korean DJ and singer (before PSY came out). Being surrounded by junior high school girls bopping about, I pictured myself alongside Jimmy Saville on Top of the Pops!
Nearing 10pm, the concert had already been running for more than two hours – PSY finally appeared (after another 20 minute floor-mopping session in between!) PSY tried to cheer the lower-than-expected audience in attendance with plenty of banter. He also knew quite a bit of Thai language to my, and everyone else’s surprise. He put on a good show though, even though it was quite short; about half an hour. Climaxing his performance of course with the one-and-only, Gangnam-style. Altogether, however, it was an enjoyable day out