By Kittipong Thavevong
Asanee and Wasan Chotikul return to the stage to mark 30 years of showbiz
THEY’VE BEEN absent from the concert stage for four years but last weekend brothers Asanee “Pom” and Wasan “Toh” Chotikul were back and in fine form as they marked three decades of success with a blow out show at Impact Arena Muang Thong Thani.
The back-to-back rounds of “Asanee-Wasan 30 Years Sawasdee Krup” on Saturday and Sunday nights drew a combined audience of more than 20,000 people, organisers GMM Grammy later announced. And that was despite the inclement weather!
On Saturday night, a rainstorm left the roads around the concert venue heavily flooded and many people were stranded for hours after leaving the concert. The situation was much better on Sunday night, with the floodwaters almost completely drained before the concert began and only light showers in the area.
The 12,000-seat venue was almost full on Sunday night, when Asanee and Wasan performed more than 30 songs from their 10 albums together, ranging from their 1966 release “Ba Hop Fang” to 2007’s “Pak Ron”. And in an unusual move, the list of songs performed on Sunday was slightly different from the previous round.
Asanee on lead guitar and Wasan on rhythm were backed by a four-man band featuring a guitarist, bassist, keyboardist and drummer, as well as three chorus singers. The brothers, both playing the guitar unplugged, started their concert with an acoustic version of their hit “Kor Koey Sanya” (“It Was Your Promise”), which they would play again with a full band in the finale.
They jammed on “Loei Tam Loei” (“Let It Go”) with Wasan using his guitar to mimick the traditional Northeastern instrument phin in a nod to their home province of Loei. Asanee later joined him on a variety of brief melodies, including “Happy Birthday”.
One of the brothers’ best-known songs is “Krungthep Maha Nakhon”, the lyrics of which give Bangkok its full ceremonial name – and it was greeted with loud cheers as was “Jao Sao Thi Klua Fon” (“The Bride Who Fears the Rain”) in memory the late Rewat “Ter” Buddhinan.
The Chotikul brothers also played “Sai Lor Fah” (“Lightning Rod”), with energetic drummer Kittisak Koatkam taking over as the last notes died for an impressive percussion solo.
Audience members, many of them now middle aged, sang and danced along to many of the numbers and it was gratifying to see so many 30-somethings among the crowd.
Asanee-Wasan’s fast-paced concert lasted a little over two-and-a-half hours – shorter than an average Thai concert that often far exceeds three hours. Perhaps that was because the brothers focused on playing music rather than talking to the audience. A large part of the concert involved four medleys of between four to six songs.
Moreover, unlike other concerts, Asanee and Wasan did not rely on “surprise” guest singers or funny performers, only taking time out occasionally to joke with the audience.
After introducing band members and thanking the sponsors in the latter part, Asanee invited the audience to act as his guest singers. And the fans cooperated, singing along to a series of hit numbers including “Yinyom”, “Nueng Mit Chit Klai”, “Dai Yang Sia Yang”, and “Hai Ther”.
Asanee and Wasan wrapped up the night with a five-song encore that included their everlasting hit “Rak Ther Samer” (“I Always Love You”) in which the audience enthusiastically joined.
Sadly though, the crowd had thinned out considerably by then, with a large part of the audience opting to leave early to avoid traffic and a threat of more heavy rain.