Well, Andrea Bocelli appeared at Saphan Hin Park in Phuket, possibly one of his less memorable singing venues, last night to herald the New Year. After an hour of researching all social media this morning, I came across the Instagram account of the President of the Phuket Tourism Association, Bhummikitti Ruktaengam.
Playing, it seems, with the accompaniment of a white grand piano and a local performer. We look forward to posting more photos from the auspicious entertainment event.
This writer lost 500 baht against his Good Morning Thailand co-host Jay.
World-famous Italian tenor and seasoned performer Andrea Bocelli will perform at a free, public and usually noisy New Years Eve event at Saphan Hin in Phuket. Tonight.
One of the best voices of our generation will sing in front of an audience who, for the most part and unfortunately, would never have heard of him. Her son, Matteo, is also supposed to perform. They are a class act!
The whole sorry saga of ‘Andrea Bocelli in Phuket for New Years’ saga started with a TAT announcement that, as part of their efforts to attract tourists to Phuket, they would invite Lisa from K-Pop group BlackPink and famous tenor Andrea Bocelli. OK, two different demographics occurring in what should be two different places. An audience would know little or nothing about the other singer, and vice versa.
This writer happens to be a fan of both performers and genres.
Now, Saphan Hin New Years is an extremely popular night of Thai rejoicing, drinking, dancing, drinking, having fun, eating and drinking. There is plenty to drink. There are usually live Thai pop and country bands. A damn fine traditional Thai piss to welcome the New Year.
Throwing Andrea Bocelli into this mix seems, well, contradictory (to say the least). And it’s free, apparently.
I would like to tell you all about the night … parking details, entry points, show times, support shows, etc, etc. Accept that I really don’t know much about the event. The information was scarce, negligible, well hidden (I try to be polite).
“Organized under the concept of ‘Amazing New Chapter @Phuket’, the countdown will feature Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli and many prominent Thai artists,” said Thapanee Kiatphaiboon, TAT’s deputy director for the domestic market. “There will also be the magnificent ‘Pearl of Andaman’ light show with over 20,000 fireworks that will be set off at midnight to welcome the New Year.”
Well, they’re kind of engaged aren’t they after making a huge poster and posing in front for the obligatory press stunt.
Now, to be clear, the likes of Andrea Bocelli usually don’t make a few well-known songs on a backing track in a public park. He is not the type to recite “Run towards you” and “Live on a prayer” to warm up to an Italian tune.
Usually Bocelli would perform in a stadium, or arena, or large theater or opera house, with incredible acoustics and an audience dressed for such an occasion. And there was usually a full orchestra, pomp, flair, and professional stage and lighting.
I just don’t see any of this happening at Saphan Hin Park in Phuket Town, probably best known in the media for drug trafficking and the occasional crime. Not Italian tenors. Unless he brings his own sound system and audio team, he might also be surprised by the sound level at Thai concerts – either too loud, too soft, distorted or “mai dai”! At least I hope they find a decent and fair piano for Mr. Bocelli.
Maybe in Sanam Luang, in front of a well-lit Grand Palace in Bangkok, with an orchestra, a covered stage, pro sound and lighting and comfortable seats and a 6 month delay. But that’s not the plan …
The case was further muddied today by announcements of Andrea’s 50-minute New Years performance on Maltese TV (Andrea lives in Italy). As it turns out, that performance, which will air tonight, was recorded last month.
“This New Years Eve is going to be special for many reasons, one of which is the fact that Andrea Bocelli will be on TVM for a small concert shot right here in Malta.
The world-renowned tenor will perform a 50-minute production with an ensemble, singing eight songs at two iconic locations on the island – Fort St Elmo and St John’s Co-Cathedral.” Read more HERE.
That a couple of greetings from the TAT and the Ministry of Sports and Tourism may have liked Andrea Bocelli and K-Pop star Lisa (born in Thailand), is not a good reason to announce a “confirmed” event or so. 8 weeks after the date of the performance. As we later found out, neither artist had been approached, nor their direction, before the two artists were announced as attending New Years events in Thailand.
Lisa’s South Korean leadership quickly sent a statement that Lisa would not be attending the New Years event. The Andrea Bocelli mystery was never fully resolved. Her dates in Phuket never appeared on her full website, which includes dates for all of her performances.
At 5:45 p.m. on New Years Eve, this writer is unaware of the time, exact location (Saphan Hin is a large public park), dress code, entry procedures, etc. With the exception of everyone attending the New Years Eve celebrations in Saphan Hin tonight, they were told they had to be vaccinated against Covid, AND either have a recent, doctor-approved ATK test with them, or have a nasal swab test at the entrance (“… welcome to Andrea Bocelli’s concert, please put your head back and relax”).
If the details were posted anywhere, they were well hidden.
We therefore hope that those present at this evening will have a wonderful evening with one of the greatest singers of our time. I am going to organize a recent concert with Andrea Bocelli, Matteo Bocelli and Francesca Battistelli 9 days ago, “The Heart of Christmas” on my big screen TV. From the comfort of my couch, without having to undergo a swab test.
Just looking out the window, hope it isn’t raining too.
Happy New Year Andrea, wherever you are.