Gaga goes gargantuan
Concert organiser Bec-Tero reveals the logistics and costs behind the concert of the year
In just two weeks, Thai fans will finally get to see Lady Gaga in Bangkok as her "Born This Way Ball World Tour" rolls into the City of Smiles. The biggest concert Thailand will ever have seen is being held at Rajamangala Stadium and promises extravagant, bold and mesmerising elements that will take up to eight days to set up at a cost of a staggering Bt140 million.
"This is biggest concert we've ever put together, even bigger than Michael Jackson's concert in 1993," enthuses Neil Thompson, deputy managing director of BEC Tero Entertainment. "It's taking three 747s and 20 sea containers to bring in all the production, staging, lighting, sound and video equipment.
The stadium grounds are already being prepared and enhanced to support the massive, intricate concert set, which features a 5-storey, movable 3D castle, 300 speaker sets, the singer's 150 crew and dancers as well as 50,000 fans.
"Lady Gaga only does shows with people she can trust. She needs to be sure that we can deliver what she needs to do the show. She owns the tour, and she controls every aspect of the shows. We've been working on this production for three years and one year has been spent working seriously on the venue and how we could get the equipment into the stadium," Thompson says. That equipment includes 20 litres of fog fluid, 800 pounds of liquid oxygen to create low line fog, 100 metres of air hose under the stage and 2.4 kilometres of cable. The crew consists of 150 people, including the singer herself.
Apart from the stunning set, fans will be blown away by the singer's out-of-this -world closet that includes 15 costumes designed by Giorgio Armani. The dancers and Gaga will be bringing 40 wardrobe cases and up to 50 pairs of shoes.
"We are currently designing Lady Gaga's dressing room at the venue, and we plan to make it as big as possible with a Thai ambience. She'll have an outrageous dressing room, that's for sure, and she wants here dressing room here to have some Thai elements - Thai silk, imageries, furniture - so she knows which country she is in."
Known for her intimate, close relations with her fans, Gaga often invite concert goers with killer outfits to meet her after the show. So, do invest in a costume if you want to be one of the few lucky ones to meet her in person. And why not? The show is on Friday night, and it is guaranteed that there will be Lady Gaga-inspired parties all over town afterwards.
The Born This Way Ball world tour kicked off its Asia leg with the first Seoul concert on April 27. The tour then travels on to Tokyo, Taipei, Manila, Bangkok, Singapore and Jakarta before heading to Australia and New Zealand and Europe.
"We're lucky that we have the show really fresh yet more or less pretty settled, as there was a lot of tweaking for the Seoul concert. Lady Gaga is very communicative with her tour management and production team, and they constantly send us list of things they need to make the show better. Lady Gaga didn't make a lot of money from her first two tours at all because she spent so much money on the production, to give her fans good shows. Details are very important to her," Thompson says.
So far, 80 per cent of the tickets have been sold, with 30,000 tickets going during the first two hours of release on March 17. Thanks to an adjusted layout, 900 more seats will be available as the sound control booth, originally placed in the middle, is being spilt up and moved to the sides. These seats cost Bt3,500 each and will go up for sale next week.
"After this show, we're negotiating to bring in Rihanna, Katy Perry and Green Day again. More surprise acts will be announced next year to celebrate our 15th anniversary. We've been talking for years to bring U2 and Madonna to Bangkok, but the issue with these big acts is always the freight. Now, with roads and highways being built all over Asia, we hope that in the near future we could truck big shows from country to country, and make the system sustainable. Next year, we plan to bring in Yanni and truck the show in from Singapore," Thompson says
>> Gaga performs at 7.30pm on May 25 at Rajamangala Stadium on Ramkamhaeng Road.
>> Only tickets costing Bt7,000 and Bt4,500 are still available at Thai Ticket Major. Call (02) 262 3456.