Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Shakira and Amr Diab on Yas Island

I went to Yas Island a few weeks back to see Shakira and Amr Diab in concert. 
I took this video with my old, old sony camera. It's amazing the thing still works! 

Teeny Amr on the video screen, real Amr behind!

Opening for Shakira was Amr Diab, a legend in his own right, at least in the Arab-speaking world. I was introduced to Diab's music in 2001, in Egypt while whizzing along Cairo's dusty boulevards with Omar and Hussein, Amr Diab's music blaring on the stereo.

His part of the concert opened with a comprehensive video montage of all his songs sung by him and covered by others. From Turkey and Bulgaria to the musicals of Bollywood, Amr's songs have been sung in dozens of languages by hundreds of people. Half the songs I knew, but I didn't know they were his!

The crowd went wild when he appeared, sang with him through every song and chanted his name between songs. Amr gave a fantastic concert, sweating it out in the Abu Dhabi heat. Near the end of his set, when he raised the Egyptian flag above his head, the Egyptians in the crowd cheered even louder. Yep, Amr is Egyptian!

Later, Shakira appeared in the crowd wearing a hot-pink wedding(ish) dress. The bad news was she was lip-synching (badly) through most of the songs, the good news was that she did not disappoint in her dancing or performance. The other good news is that I was really close to the stage.

The real Shakira in the middle of the picture and two video images of her on each side. She sang equally in Spanish and English, and threw in a few Arabic words for good will.

 Again you can see a tiny Shakira in front, 
and the huge video image of her on the wall behind.
By the way, Shakira does not sweat. Ever.

The crowd for this concert was really mixed, there were a lot of Arabic speakers there for Amr, but of course Arabs love Shakira since she's half Lebanese and as one concert-goer explained it, "sexy as hell!"  

The nice thing was that being a woman, I was given a nice ring of space around me along with the covered girl next to me. No pushing for space, the Arabic boys (mostly Lebanese and Egyptian), were very courteous and respectful. We could all see and we all had fun together, singing the songs and dancing, they even translated what the crowd was chanting or what Amr was talking about for me. They were strangers, but these boys helped make this a really good experience for me. And then we all danced the Waka-Waka together!

Shakira strutting her stuff!

*Interesting side note: They serve beer at Yas Island concerts.

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