By Kittipong Thavevong
More than 34 years after they last performed in front of an enthusiastic audience, Thailand’s original girl group Sao Sao Sao was back on stage last week for what had to be one of the most-awaited reunions in showbiz.
Saowaluk “Amp” Leelaboot, Patcharida “Mam” Wattana and Orawan “Poom” Yenpoonsuk, whose last concert was in May 1984, packed out the 5,000-seat Royal Paragon Hall for each of the three rounds of the “Sao Sao Sao Concert” from November 23 to 25.
That adds up to a turnout of more than 15,000 fans, noted organisers Atime Showbiz, and indeed all three shows were stamped “sold out” on the Thai Ticket Major website not long after the tickets went on sale.
With most of the audience now as middle-aged as the ladies themselves, Mam was quick to crack a joke. “This is a concert that you have to watch before you die and we have to perform before we die.” And it certainly appeared that the shows were on many bucket lists, as some of the fans had travelled from as far as the US and Australia for the historic reunion.
In their four-hour-long concert on Sunday evening, the pop trio warmed up the fans with their all-time hits “Pratoo Jai” (“Door to the Heart”) and “Rak Kue Fun Pai” (“Love is Like a Dream”).
They followed up with a set of their ballads. Amp, 53, crooned her hit “Yak Luem” (I Want to Forget) while Mam, 51, and Poom, 54, sang in chorus. Poom later mesmerised the audience with her sweet voice on “Duay Rang Hang Rak (“With the Power of Love”). The fans rewarded them with long and loud applause.
The trio also performed three songs composed by Amp for their early albums as well as some hits from their folk and English-language albums.
The backup was provided by Extra Band and a string orchestra along with three chorus singers and more than a dozen dancers from D-Dance Troupe.
A highlight of the night was when the three singers relived their show at the Tokyo Music Festival in 1989 at which they represented Thailand. They performed “Dokmai Khong Namjai” (Flower of Generosity), a Thai version of the Japanese song “Hana” (“Flower”) by singer-songwriter Shinji Tanimura, who is known for his worldwide hit “Subaru”. The trio performed in costumes similar to the ones they wore at the event three decades ago and also sang the original Japanese lyrics.
The latter half of the concert saw the ladies joined by their guests. Siriporn “Tak” Yooyod teamed with Poom and the pair showed off their powerful vocals. Worawech “Dan” Danuwong and Kawi “Beam” Tanwararak helped spice up the night with Mam while Pongsak “Aof” Rattanapong and Chalatit “Ben” Tantiwut joined Amp for a set that wowed the audience.
Together, the trio and their guest singers performed a medley of Sao Sao Sao hits that was so much fun that those middle-aged audience members felt compelled to stand up and start dancing along, turning the entire hall into a big party. There was also a sea of lights as fans turned on their smartphones’ flashlights and waved in unison towards the stage.
Sao Sao Sao closed out the show with another rendition of “Dokmai Khong Namjai”, this time with tears streaming down their faces as they bade farewell to their thousands of faithful followers. It was a perfect sendoff for their fans, who left the hall with full hearts and the sweetest of memories.