In their first-ever concert in Thailand last Saturday night, K-pop's seven-member girl group T-ARA proved a firm favorite with Thai followers with lively dancing and great singing.
Indeed, it is fortunate that the Thai fans like the girls so much, as there was a considerable distance between the stage and the two stands housing those with the 800 baht (US$25) tickets - the cheapest for this show at Bangkok International Trade and Exhibition Center (Bitec) Bang Na.
Little surprise then that the crowds in this section scurried to the front catwalk where the seven girls performed their three-hit medley during the finale when they saw that some fans had left the hall before the end of the concert.
However, this arrangement of the stands was the only real blimp in the "T-ARA 1st Lovey Dovey Roly Poly Live in Bangkok". This would probably have been better staged in a space not as narrow as Hall EH-106, which necessitated the cheapest ticket holders being putting at the back of the room on stands that were not quite high enough while the 3,000 and 4,000 baht ($94 to $125) ticket holders found themselves further away from the stage than at most other venues.
The two-hour concert featured 14 songs including T-ARA's three superhits "Roly Poly", "Bo Peep Bo Peep" and "Lovey Dovey" and two Thai songs, Nuengthida Sophon's "Only You" performed by Soyeon, and Pop Angels' "Rak Yoo Hon Dai" sung by all seven. Production and lighting could also have benefited from some improvement, with some untidy exposures to the stage when the lights were off.
The three screens showed pretty enough computer graphics but I, for one, would have appreciated more useful information like the songs’ titles.
The crowd sang along loudly to "Roly Poly", "Bo Peep Bo Peep" and "Lovey Dovey" and the girls appeared less choreographed during the finale, when they got up close and cozy with the audience on the front catwalk. They donned funny eyeglasses and even the head antennae thrown at them by the fans.
Formed by Core Contents Media in 2009, the group's name is based on the word "tiara" and comes from the idea that they will become the "crowned queens of the music industry". The seven incumbents are Boram, Qri, Soyeon, Eunjung, Hyomin, Hwayoung, Jiyeon and Dani. Two past members Jiae and Jiwon now perform under other names.
There were video presentations of many Korean bands including perennial favorites 2PM and UKiss, during a break giving a warm welcome and kind words for T-ARA for their first ever concert in Thailand.
And in a nice touch, seven lucky fans who had attended the previous day's fan event at Siam Discovery Plaza were invited up on stage to receive signed t-shirts and share some personal moments with T-ARA members.