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Bangkok’s bye bye to Boyzone and hello to BTS | ThaigerBangkok’s bye bye to Boyzone and hello to BTS | Thaiger

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Bangkok’s bye bye to Boyzone and hello to BTS

Thaiger

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by Kitchana Lersakvanitchakul and Tim Newton

In a stark reflection in the massive changes in musical tastes, music business models and the spread of world music in the last 20 years, Bangkok has witnessed the passing of one boyband icon and welcomes the next frenzy, all within 10 days.

In both cases, Irish crooners Boyzone and South Korea’s BTS (Bangtan Seonyeondan) end their Asia tour of their latest concert tour. Boyzone members, in their 40s doing a farewell spin around the globe lapping up some residual love of their popular hits from the 90s. For BTS, the 20-something Koreans are on the rise and breaking records as they completely re-invent the music industry’s tired money-making model.

Boyzone’s farewell concert to Bangkok took to the stage minus one member. It was a slightly sad farewell to Bangkok in their “Thank You & Goodnight Farewell World Tour 2019” – at Thunder Dome. Judging by the number of vacant seats both upstairs and down it wasn’t a commercial success and it lacked one of quartet’s powerful vocals after Keith Duffy fell sick and was rushed to hospital.

Ronan Keating, Mikey Graham and Shane Lynch gamely went ahead with the show as a trio. Boyzone’s lead singer Stephen Gately died in Spain back in 2009.

Bangkok's bye bye to Boyzone and hello to BTS | News by Thaiger

“Sawasdee khrub. Boyzone has been coming here since 1995, I think. You welcome Boyzone with open arms. You make me feel like I’m home. That’s why the band is here tonight to thank you for the last 25 years. Tonight, you’re going to hear songs from the last 25 years, the songs that you want to hear.”

Only Ronan Keating has stepped away from the group with a successful pop career post-Boyzone.

But this weekend BTS are performing two sell-out concerts at the Rajamangala Stadium in Bangkok, seating 50,000.

It’s the last part of their sell-out ‘Love Yourself’ world tour which has broken records as their music, mostly sung in Korean, has broken into western charts and seen the group nominated for two Billboard Music Awards next month – they’ve won two Billboard awards in the past.

The group’s seven members have taken the K-Pop genre, refined it, weaponised social media and broken Spotify, Apple Music and YouTube records along the way. Their concerts sell-out as soon as they’re announced.

So who the hell are BTS? For many music fans over 40 or so the band has snuck under the radar but built an enormous loyal fandom called ‘Army’. They debuted back in 2013 so they’re not an ‘overnight success’. As this video shows, it hasn’t always been easy.

At the American Music Awards last year, whilst there was polite applause and occasional fan screams for Ariana Grande, Dua Lipa, Cardi-B and Camilo Cabello when they entered the arena, the audience went completely crazy when RM, Suga, Jin, J-Hope, V, Jimin and Jungkook walked in. The American music industry bean-counters were wondering what the hell was going on. How could this Korean band have two #1 albums on the top of the Billboard 200 in one year?!? The group even handed out awards at this year’s Grammys.

BTS perform their two final concerts in the ‘Love Yourself’ world tour, tonight and tomorrow night (April 6 and 7) ahead of the launch of their much-awaited ‘Persona – Map of the Soul’ album launched on April 12 and then followed up the next day with a performance on America’s Saturday Night Live program – a maker and breaker of music acts over the past 2 decades.

As of this month, Taylor Swift, Ed Sheeran and BTS each have three videos in the top 40 most-watched YouTube videos – the South Korean band is in good company.

Boyzone closed out their last concert in Bangkok with “Love Me for a Reason”, “No Matter What”, “Life Is A Rollercoaster” and “Picture of You”.

BTS will open tonight’s concert with ‘Idol’ as Bangkok witnesses a changing of the guard in pop music music this weekend.

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Covid UPDATE: Wednesday’s new infections rise to 1,335 people, 36 people in “serious condition”

Tim Newton

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Covid UPDATE: Wednesday’s new infections rise to 1,335 people, 36 people in “serious condition” | Thaiger

Thailand’s CCSA has announced 1,335 new infections today, after a slight dip in the 10 day surge yesterday. 1,326 of those new infections are local, not imported, and mostly from Bangkok. Today’s tally takes the national total to 35,910 since January 2020 when the first case outside China was detected in Thailand on January 13.

The new infections have mostly emerged in Bangkok with 351 cases. Surrounding provinces report an additional 115 infections today. In other provinces, 877 people.

It’s also been reported today that 36 people are currently in a serious condition and 9 people are on ventilators. Here’s the number of cases reported each day since the start of April…

April 1 – 26 infections

April 2 – 58 infections

April 3 – 84 infections

April 4 – 96 infections

April 5 – 194 infections

April 6 – 250 infections

April 7 – 334 infections

April 8 – 405 infections

April 9 – 559 infections

April 10 – 789 infections

April 11 – 967 infections

April 12 – 985 infections

April 13 – 965 infections

April 14 – 1,335 infections

Meanwhile, Prachuap Khiri Khan officials have ordered the closure of “high risk venues” such as pubs, bars, water parks, children’s playgrounds, gyms, cinemas, game shops. The Governor says restaurants can open “but no alcohol can be served”. This includes the seaside town of Hua Hin.

In Krabi there is now a total of 11 infections, 6 new ones yesterday.

In Chon Buri, which includes Pattaya, there were 99 new confirmed infections of Covid today … a similar number to the past few days.

Total number of infections being treated in provinces…

• Bangkok: 1,689
• Chiang Mai: 880
• Chonburi: 594
• Samut Prakan: 416
• Narathiwat: 304
• Prachuap Khiri Khan: 265
• Samut Sakhon: 166
• Pathum Thani: 124
• Sa Kaeo 105
Covid UPDATE: Wednesday's new infections rise to 1,335 people, 36 people in 

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Bangkok police tracking down owners of Thong Lor clubs where virus resurfaced

Maya Taylor

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Bangkok police tracking down owners of Thong Lor clubs where virus resurfaced | Thaiger
PHOTO: Facebook / Krystal Club

Police in Bangkok are on the hunt for the owners of 2 nightclubs considered ground zero for a third wave of Covid-19 currently spreading around the country. The Krystal Club and Emerald Thonglor 13, in the capital’s fashionable Thonglor district, are currently closed, with the managers of both sentenced to 2 months’ imprisonment. However, officials are now attempting to track down the real owners of both establishments.

Nation Thailand reports that the authorities are examining ownership and shareholding documentation related to the 2 venues, after police chief Piya Tawichai confirmed a cluster of Covid-19 infections is believed to have spread from the clubs. The managers of both venues have been charged with violating the emergency decree and disease prevention regulations, with the Bangkok Municipal Court sentencing them to 2 months’ imprisonment on April 9.

The head of Metropolitan Police Division 5, Sophon Saraphat, has also transferred 2 Thonglor police officers, including the superintendent of Thonglor police station, while an investigation into the Covid-19 cluster continues.

Sophon says authorities are also examining the operating licences of both clubs, which have been closed for 30 days, while officials determine if they should be shut down for a period of 5 years.

3 nightlife venues in Phuket, thought to be behind a resurgence of Covid-19 in the southern province have been closed as part of a wider temporary shutdown of nightlife on the island. It is not yet known if the owners will face prosecution.

The Illuzion and Shelter nightclubs in Patong, along with the Café del Mar beach club in Kamala each held mass parties during the weekend of April 2- 4, with invited guests travelling from as far as Bangkok. Media reports put attendance at each party at over 3,000.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

UPDATE: Field hospitals being established in Covid hot zones around Thailand

Tim Newton

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UPDATE: Field hospitals being established in Covid hot zones around Thailand | Thaiger

UPDATE: The field hospital in Bangkok’s Bang Bon district, west of the Chao Phraya river, had its first 10 Covid patients today. The director of the medical services office of the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration says that the 10 patients into the makeshift hospital, located at the Chalerm Phra Kiat Stadium, will enable assessment of the performance by the medical team, before more patients arrive – Thai PBS World

ORIGINAL STORY: Despite the confident posture and Songkran going ahead, amid restrictions, there is a lot of background activity which suggest the authorities are getting ready for a surge of new infections at the end of the Songkran break, officially this Thursday (but in reality, next Sunday at the end of the weekend when most people who travelled home will return for a resumption of work).

The Thai lunar new year celebrations – Songkran – are the largest mass movement of Thais each year, a source for a huge leap in road deaths and accidents. And, this year, a potential super-spreader event.

Quietly, at least 3,000 extra beds have been prepared in 10 field hospitals around Bangkok. The government has also confirmed that additional field hospitals are being set up in other potential ‘hot zones’, including Phuket, Chiang Mai, Chonburi and Hua Hin. Some of them were set up last year, and since closed, and now being prepared for new positive infections.

One Thai person who had been in one of the field hospitals put together a check-list of things to take IF you end up as an invited ‘guest’ HERE.

The CCSA say they are looking for additional beds in hotels and previous state quarantine facilities (where repatriating Thais were housed for their free quarantine) to be used if needed.

This year’s Songkran had bad timing, coming just a week after a number of major clusters were identified around some of Bangkok’s popular nightlife areas in 3 key inner city districts. Even before Songkran these isolated clusters had already spread into the provinces. In the weekend before Songkran the government had already listed 37 provinces which had instigated some form of paperwork or restrictions for people who had been in any of the 3 Bangkok districts.

The government also leapt on the source of the new outbreaks – bars, clubs and entertainment venues – and promptly shut them down for at least 2 weeks. At this stage it looks likely that that ban will be extended beyond the 2 weeks and, depending on the extent of new infections following the Songkran holiday, additional restrictions will also be added.

Even today the Civil Aviation Authority published a number of new in-flight restrictions for passengers – another blow to the hard-hit domestic aviation sector.

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