How I set up a show for Backstreet Boys in Bangkok
In 2013, the American band Backstreet Boys started their world tour “A World Like This” with around 30 gigs just in Asia. Impressively massive ! Those 30 gigs were spread on a 2 years period. First leg start in May 2013 and the final one end in May 2015. 13 shows in China, 10 in Japan and the rest scattered among the following countries in the Philippines, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore and Taiwan.
Early 2014, I was still working as promoter in Bangkok for Lullaby/VijiCorp
and we started discussing about the possibility of having a show in Bangkok for Backstreet Boys. Demand was there. At that time, we were busy preparing shows for Mogwai and also Sergio Mendes. While we were very comfortable to organise show with a capacity of up to 3000/4000, BSB was a complete different game. We knew if we wanted to have them, we had to place them at Impact Arena in Bangkok which has a cap of 8000/9000 people and have a top notch organisation in place.
Starting the process:
It took me a while to convince their booking agent and provide them some guarantee that we will be able to set up their show according their requirements, but at some points and several back and forth emails thread and phone calls, they agreed to put their trust on us.
At that time, i could not believe that we will set a show for the Backstreet Boys. it’s not I’m a fan of their music (I come from an Indie music world), however seeing this epic challenge coming, I was really pumped.
We agreed that BSB will be playing at Impact Arena on the 6th of May 2015, we were at the end of 2014, so we had a little less than 6 month to set and promote the show. 6 months can be a long period of time but believe me, it was a tight deadline. We had to put in place a marketing/promotion plan, reviewed their complete backline and other technical request, meet various sponsors who wanted to join us, verification of security protocols was also an important aspect, find the right accommodation and caterer for the band took us some time as well. Time was just flying but so far, I can’t recall we faced any serious obstacles.
Clock is ticking:
A month before the show, tickets were selling well but we were not yet sold out while other countries such as The Philippines, Malaysia, Singapore had their sold out shows already. We were a bit anxious as we wanted also to make sure we will be able to get a full house, so we keep promoting the shows as best as possible (story said that we didn’t reach a sold out, but we were very closed).
About a week before their arrival, I flew to Bangkok and started to review every aspects of the plan and make sure once the band step a foot in Bangkok Airport and until their departure, we are running our operations smoothly and most importantly that the band and crew have a great time in Bangkok (knowing that their schedule is very hectic and therefore they had very limited time in Bangkok before jumping to their next show).
No turning back:
Day before the show, they arrived, our team welcomed them at airport, some fans were waiting as well at airport (I’m still wondering how they got the info though). We welcome the band, crew and management and brought them immediately at their hotel where they could get some rest.
Backstreet Boys Show time:
D-Day: I remember being at their hotel around 7 or 8 AM, time was ticking super fast. Backstreet Boys Crew went first at the venue mid morning to finalise the stage, visual and sound. Security were checked as well. I could see big billboards across the city announcing the show. On an agreed time, in the late afternoon, the band went to their dedicated vehicles. I was slightly worried that time as their time of departure for the venue correspond to possible traffic jam on the road (business hour). I was hoping also no rain will come as it would make traffic even worst. Luckily it went smoothly.
At their arrival in the Impact Arena, I heard the Backstreet Boys crew were very happy by the quality of the production and the level of attention from the production team. Big relief :). Soundcheck was done without any major incident.
It’s already early evening and I started to see audience arriving by batches. The band was resting in their backstage waiting for the green light to go on stage.
By 8pm, the Impact Arena is nearly full, amazing feeling to see 9000 people present at the show. Just before the show, I had the opportunity to discuss with two members of Backstreet Boys (Nick Carter, and Kevin Richardson) very casually. They were extremely relax and enthusiast to perform in Bangkok.
Around 9PM, the band went on stage, audience was getting crazy. About 2 hours later, the show was over, the fans were exhausted but extremely happy. BSB was very satisfied by the welcome from their Thai audience. We need to wait a while for the audience to leave the venue before to start to evacuate the band and the crew. We reached their hotel around midnight, time to get some rest because their have an early morning flight the next day !
Post Backstreet Boys show relief:
Needless to say after that show, we were completely exhausted but extremely satisfied that the entire organisation delivered extremely well and we didn’t have any flaws that could have impacted the show or even Backstreet Boys band and crew. Of course we spotted some minors issues encountered during the entire process, but luckily it had no impacts.
The next day, we got a call from their booking agent who thanks us for the organisation and expressed their satisfaction that the show went extremely well. Mission Accomplished.
If you have some questions about this post, don’t hesitate to contact me