Concert in Lumpini Park

A few Sundays ago, Jason and Ben invited me to join them for the second to the last concert in the Bangkok Symphony Orchestra’s annual winter Concert in the Park series.  While you would never think that the weather here, even in winter, is cool enough to enjoy an outdoor concert, it was actually the perfect event.


Located in Lumpini Park, the closest thing we have to a central park, the full symphony orchestra performed to a crowd of more than 1,000 picnickers.  Spread out on rental mats, lawn chairs, and blankets, the audience enjoyed the pleasant after-sunset breezes and moderate temperatures of about 80 F / 28 C.  Not too bad.

Jason and Ben own a little cafe called Kiosk and borrowed the beanbags and ice chest from the cafe, packing quite a spread.  Prosciutto and melon, cheese and crackers, fruits and salami, nuts and spreads – we were well satisfied.


Ever stylish, Ben and Jason (and their friend Zenya – in red pants) artfully arranged our spread.  The one drawback of the event, one we worked around, is that the Bangkok Metropolitan Authority prohibits the consumption of alcohol inside city parks.  Now, I can understand not wanting winos wandering around drunk but a nice bottle of bubbly goes so well with al fresco music.

Security guards were keeping an eagle eye out for violators, confiscating any alcohol (which they no doubt later consumed for themselves).  We got around it by keeping the bottles in the cooler and discreetly pouring the glasses inside the cooler, too.  Nothing could ever be seen outside the cooler except our paper cups of “apple juice” and “white grape juice”.  Ha ha…

Thank you to Ben and Jason for their invitation and lovely hosting.


Harry Swings in New Orleans… er, Bangkok

Monday evening, St. Patrick’s Day, we enjoyed a huge treat.  Harry Connick, Jr. and his big band came to the City of Angels to perform in support of his “My New Orleans” tour. 


There were twelve of us in attendance and we preceded the concert with dinner at the Zen Food Loft.  Tawn’s friend Fuyuko joined us – a too-rare pleasure, above – and in Ken’s absence we celebrated Chai’s birthday which is on Wednesday.  I brought a candle and a lighter in my bag and then we put it in a slice of cake and sang “happy birthday” for him, below.


As for Mr. Connick, the 41-year old singer, pianist, and actor was making his first visit to Khrungthep and brought two of his three daughters with him.  At one point near the end of the show, he called them onstage and did an impromptu interview, asking them  about their impressions of the city.  Both said it was their favorite place on the tour.

Harry Connick Mr Connick’s band is straight out of the Big Easy and many of the numbers they performed were classic jazz with a Dixieland flavor.  Lots of brass, lots of improvisation, and everyone in the band was having a good time.

To top it off, in addition to being a talented musician and vocalist, Mr. Connick is a true entertainer.  He interspersed songs with lots of self-depracating banter, knew a little bit about the local culture – the band even performed one of the popular jazz songs His Majesty the King had composed, and generally clowned around. 

Early in the evening, his right contact lens came out and he proceeded to use the lens of one of the cameras as a mirror while putting it back in.  Of course, that camera’s view was the one showing on the big screens so we saw a closeup of all this.

Afterwards, he joked that he had used the same hand to put in the contact lens, as he had used just before the show to pick the hot peppers out of his pad thai noodles.  For several minutes there was an ongoing joke about him crying from only his right eye because he was only half sad.

It was a very fun time and the audience, seated in the Bangkok Convention Centre at Central World Plaza in a layout that was more appropriate for a business meeting than a jazz concert, warmed up appreciably as the night went on.  By the finale of the concert, people were literally dancing in the aisles.

Even thought security checked for cameras, as usual they didn’t look very hard.  Here are two short clips – 1:08 and 0:36, respectively – from the encore, just to give you a flavor of the concert.

Hope you enjoyed the show!