I am proud to be one of the thousands of fans attended Iraqi legendary singer, Kadim Al Saher concert in Belgium last Saturday. This is the first time ever that this European city host a concert for the Iraqi legendary singer.
This is another reason I am proud to be on that show.
There were fans of all ages; families, young and old, from different countries, such as Lebanon, Syria, Morocco, Palestinians, and from western countries too. Like me, I came all the way from Amsterdam, there were people who travelled from Germany, Sweden, France, and other European countries. Many were already very early arrived at the Paleis des Beaux-Art (Center for Fine Arts). While smoking at the main entrance of the center I watched people in their cars trying to find parking space with the stereo loud playing the latest album by Kadim Al Saher, Drawing with Words.
The hall was nice, but before I was skeptical of what kind of acoustics it can produce from a performance like Al Saher's? I was right, and sad, not only because the design of that hall was not up to the altitude and the size of the music played, but the person sitting on the soundboard, in my opinion, was someone who is obviously lacks the least of experience related to control a band playing oriental instruments in such a concert hall.
I wondered if the band did some sound check in the first place!
What made things worse was the technical failures. During the first song, for example, and after less than 5 minutes of Kadim Al Saher singing, his microphone went off. That didn't ruin the moment, the public continued that part of the song with the backing vocals, while another technician brought another mic for Kadim Al Saher.
Through the whole concert, almost two hours I didn't hear neither the Nai or the Oud sound.
Musicians in Al Saher band were the victims, especially that anyone can see their perfect musicianship throughout the show; one time the keyboardist (whom playing and the sound of his keyboard remained the entire show hardly heard) another time one of the violin players, a third time one of the percussionists, and even the drummer, all were making signs to the sound engineers every now and then to fix the sound of their instruments.
That sound engineer should be sentenced to life in prison
Yet...enough talking negative
That concert was not doomed, such things happen. Belgium concert was a great success. It was not a music performance or a band show only, it was the chance for thousands of people to show their feelings; joy, pride (of their country), happiness, honesty interacted between perfect musicians and the public towards their idol, Kadim Al Saher.
It was a night a night to remember, forever.
I said that about Dream Theater's concert last month
By the way, this is one of the very little concerts I went to where I hear people cheering with the presence of their beloved singer and his band to the level that you can't hear the music. Chanting, singing loud along with the music, and the singer, shouting Kadim's name with a tone with full of love in their voices, there was laughter, joy, anticipation to the giant who was standing before them on stage. That was the situation on that show. It was not quiet at all, but not chaotic either. Even the singer was surprised when he began singing the first verse of the song "Layla", all was quiet, listening, Kadim Al Saher paused and with a beautiful smile addressed the public in Iraqi dialect "... this is the first time... you become soooo quiet just like that..."
The public exploded with laughter followed by big applause.
The public stood for Kadim Al Saher when he arrived on stage with the biggest welcome anyone can see for an artist accompanied by deafening applause. The flashes from the camera's did not stop, in spite of the early warning by the organizers of the show that taking pictures of filming is only allowed in the first 5 to 10 minutes. During the show there were people who struggled with the bodyguards to get to Al Saher closer just to have a simple handshake or an autograph, not to mention those who brought presents for him. There was a young women who tried to approach Kadim Al Saher on a number of times between and during songs, but did not succeed. At the end of the show and while he was walking towards the exit she ran towards him and ... almost there, one foot distance from him, but the body guards were faster and stopped her. I thought she collapsed afterwards and have been dragged away.
I was disappointed with one thing, that no single song from the new album played. Kadim Al Saher asked the audience what they like to hear. I thought that was one time, but I realized that the legendary singer meant to please his audience by asking them what they like to hear. On one occasion and after the end of one of the songs, a group on one side of the hall started singing "hatha al loon..." (this color on you...), immediately he turned to his band and asked to play the song... I was happy to see live Qusay, the main violinist in Al Saher band, playing his solo part like I used to hear on tape years ago.
I can't remember all the songs played, but below are some played:
- Hel Indeky Shak (Do you have any doubt)
- Mustebbida (despot)
- Hatha al loon... (this color on you...)
- Ahibeeny (Love Me)
Kadim Al Saher talked about the agony of the Iraqi people, taking the members of his band as an example of the Iraqi people who have been in a lot of trouble traveling across the world, and wish that the agony, the suffering of the Iraqi people, all Iraqi people will end one day, and that his message to the world is of peace and love, two things as the ultimate wish for Iraq and its people.
I realize that whatever the words, the sentence I can put in this post, it won't be up to the standard describing how great this singer is. The lesson I learned after all: Kadim Al Saher is not only a genies, Kadim Al Saher, he is extraordinary person, with musical wit. His musical conduct, composition, and technique while singing, in addition to his attitude on stage and during interviews has put him side by side with Arab music stars such as Abdel Wahab and Abdel Haleem Hafidh.