Last week I submitted an article to Sweet Mango titled “I Don’t Miss the West” wherein I listed all the reasons I don’t miss the West. I claimed that apart from momentary nostalgia for California wine and the Pacific Coast Highway, there’s nothing about my old life that preoccupies me. This was, however, a lie. There is one advantage to living in the West that Thailand can never match. It’s left a hole in my heart that Thai girls and beaches barely fill. It’s the one pleasure I can say is missing from my life here in paradise, and that one thing is going to live concerts.
Things have gotten better in Bangkok over the last few years. Elton John passed through, Noel Gallagher was just here. Maroon 5. Missed that one on purpose. Rihanna and Lady Gaga each stopped by long enough to insult the country on Twitter. Sam Smith is coming (insert weak sarcastic hooray here). But let’s talk real—that’s not what smart people refer to as good music.
Growing up in Los Angeles, there was no shortage of amazing bands on a constant rotating calendar. Plus, Vegas is just a 4 hour drive away. I remember buying a ticket for Depeche Mode at the Hard Rock on the day of the show, hauling ass out there after work, catching the gig, then driving directly back with 2 hours to spare before going to work the next day. Then there were the epic weeks when a band would play Santa Barbara, L.A. multiple nights, then San Diego, then Vegas. You could potentially see Roxy Music or New Order 5 or 6 times in one summer. I was even lucky enough to see the Police at the Hollywood Bowl and Dodger Stadium at the start of their tour, then again at the O2 in London near the end of the tour. Talk about euphoric.
No such joy in Thailand. It’s too far to lug the equipment for too little return, I get that. I’m not complaining. It’s just…..I miss it. It’s the one thing I miss.
The saddest day of 2016 for me was when the King died. Not just for the obvious reasons, but it also meant that Morrissey—who was scheduled to play Bangkok six days later—had to cancel his show. I used to see Moz at least twice a year, and could barely contain my excitement leading up to the date. I’d even bought 4 tickets—2 in hand and 2 at will-call—even though I was going alone, to ensure I’d get in the door. Then to have the dream crushed just a few days before—it was soul-depleting. I had to wait a year to catch him in L.A. on the annual home-to-visit-mum trip. Speaking of, I’m gearing up to go back to Cali in a few days, planning Central Coast wine tasting around Noel’s high flying birds, Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark, The Psychedelic Furs, and Missing Persons, fingers crossed that it’ll slake my concert thirst for the rest of the year.
What sort of hope does an aging concert-lover have in Thailand? Katy Perry? I’d rather get dental surgery. Imagine Dragons? Imagine me puking. The Killers are rumored to grace us with an appearance in the near future. That would be epic. Maybe Morrissey will consider a second attempt. Or maybe I’ll get a multi-entry and try hitting a few UK festivals over summer. In the meantime, I’ll just have to distract myself with lithe Thai gogo dancers. It’s the cure for whatever ails.