SIDON, Lebanon — His success was a dream come true for this tough port city on the Mediterranean coast: a poor kid whose honeyed voice and ballads of love and heartbreak rocketed him to wealth and fame far from the gun-ridden neighborhood where he grew up.
Ahmed al-Jardali, a leader in the Lebanese branch of the Muslim Brotherhood in Sidon, said he tried to persuade Mr. Shaker to focus his piety on spiritual songs.
“Someone like Fadel could send a message much better than someone holding a rifle, so it was important for us to try to put him in the right place,” Mr. Jardali said. “But then the problems started and it was too late for him to choose a different direction.”
Standing in Mr. Shaker’s bedroom upstairs, where springs jutted from a burned mattress and a black chandelier hung overhead, Mr. Sin, the driver, shook his head.
“Even I have no idea what changed him,” he said. “How did he benefit from all of this?”
Before writing this post, I was checking on the last time I wrote about the 80’s night as I’ve been wanting to go forever and indeed it was back in November 2011! The reason it took me so long is that the 80’s night is held on Thursdays so it’s hard to convince working people to party on a weekday and because it’s always overbooked. Believe it or not, Mix FM has been holding this 80’s night for 7 years now and the place is booked every single week!
I got there around 11pm and the place was already full. I haven’t been to B018 in a long while but the place looked exactly the same as I last recall it. We had a small argument with the person in charge as we had reserved a table for 15 people and got one that could barely fit 4 but we finally got a decent table some 20 minutes later. However, the guy who was in charge of our table was very rude and unfriendly throughout the night and he even refused to get us a knife and plates to cut our friend’s birthday cake. I wasn’t the one who reserved so I don’t know why things got messed up but the staff weren’t friendly at all.
Putting this small incident aside, the night was a blast all thanks to one man: DJ Rodge! I am a big fan of the 80’s and he reminded me of some many good songs I had forgotten about, without forgetting the awesome tribute he did to Michael Jackson. I don’t remember having that much fun at a party in a long time, as I was singing and dancing throughout the whole night. I even went behind the DJ’s booth and had a small chat with Rodge, who’s a really cool guy.
Picture from the 80s night at B018 – Tribute to Michael Jackson
We left B018 around 3am but the place was still packed. We ended up paying around 60$ per person. If you are an 80’s fan, you shouldn’t miss out on that party. If you need more info on how to reserve, click [Here].
DJ Rodge gives out free CD copies of the night’s mix after midnight
On Wednesday I went to the Lana Del Rey concert which I thought was pretty boring but last night I went to the Pet Shop Boys one and it was just incredible. First of all just a little backstory, my first cassette tape I ever purchased was for Pet Shop Boys back in the 80s. They’ve always been one of my favorite bands ever even though I really haven’t kept up to date with their recent work.
So anyway last night I got to the concert an hour early since I was hoping I’d be lucky enough to find a spot right in the front (I had the Golden ticket) and to my surprise the place was empty when I got there. I quickly grabbed a spot right in front of where the mic was placed and waited. There wasn’t an opening act for the concert but they were playing some pretty good music to get us moving. Then, the second Pet Shop Boys walked on stage the energy of the place completely changed. Even though the event wasn’t as packed as Lana Del Rey the people who did show up were true fans at least the ones who were standing around me in the golden ticket section. I was standing so close to the stage it was just unreal seeing them perform live and so up close. Neil Tennant was standing right in front of me and I was jumping up and down screaming wanting him to notice me.
They played a mixture of new songs and classic 80s and 90s songs that were remastered so they wouldn’t sound out of date. The changes were very subtle and I actually want to try and find those remixes online. Whenever a classic song came out the crowd just went wild as you can see in the videos I’ve put up here. Sadly the sound in the videos isn’t that great since I was standing right in front of the speakers which overwhelmed the tiny iPhone mic. Also at one point I rant out of battery and space on my phone hence why the West End Girls video ends abruptly.
Pet Shop Boys kicked ass last night and I can’t believe how old they are. I love them, 30 years later and they can still bring so much energy to the stage with their music and their never ending costumes. No exaggeration every two songs they were going backstage and changing into different outfits each one looking wilder than the other. Their two supporting dancers also did a phenomenal job as well. I’m so glad I went to the concert, it completely blew me away. For those of you who missed it you really missed out on a extremely entertaining and visually rich show. Hopefully they’ll come back again one day.
I love how our Foreign Minister has an explanation for every story we get, because he claimed yesterday that he had made calls and was told no Lebanese employees were fired or expelled from Qatar.
Now that we know which company fired them, here’s the explanation Mansour provided:
“The issue is that a number of employees at the Saudi Binladin Group, which is executing a project for the Qatari interior ministry, were summoned by the public relations and administrative director of the company, who is also Lebanese, with the aim of evaluating their performance,” Mansour explained.
“They had employment contracts ranging between one year and two years and as a result of the evaluation, 21 employees were sacked – 15 Lebanese, one Pakistani, one Indian, one Bahraini, one Canadian and two Egyptians – and the company told them that it is willing to grant them the permission to stay in Qatar should they find another sponsor or to leave Qatar and return after finding a new sponsor,” Mansour added. [Link]
Let’s hope it’s as simple as that and that no more Lebanese will get expelled because of what’s happening in Lebanon.
Update: Lana Del Rey will also be performing at the Byblos Festival on July 10th even though it wasn’t officially declared yet. [Source]
For all the Anthony Touma fans, The Voice Tour 2013 is coming to the Jounieh International Festival 2013 on Tuesday July 9 at the Fouad Chehab Stadium as stated by L’Orient LeJour. I didn’t see a mention of the concert on the Jounieh Festival website though.
I for myself am still upset I will be missing Lana del Rey’s performance at the Sky Bar in Beirut on May 30. Speaking of partying, I’ve been to White, Pier7 and Al Mandaloun these past two days and I can assure you the summer has kicked off to a great start!
As I stated in a previous post, I went to meet Sir Richard Branson today and had the chance to ask him few questions. Here’s what I asked and what he told me in brief:
1- What do you think about the Lebanese authorities and the way they condemn and ban music, movies and books? Do you find it justifiable specially that you were among the first few people to sponsor and sign controversial bands?
He told me that the last time he was there, he was aware of the censorship issues in Lebanon and asked us if things had become better? (To which I answered: No it actually got worse). Then he continued saying that “Freedom of speech is extremely important and that it’s a pity that we ban or censor music, cds and videos in Lebanon. Every individual should have the freedom to decide what to listen to or watch or what not to”
2- Do you think Virgin Radio Lebanon should have opened before in Lebanon? isn’t the radio market saturated by now? Should we expect something like the V festival to take place in Lebanon?
He said that Virgin should have indeed opened before but there are a lot of difficulties to initiate such a project and that now he’s found people ready to cooperate with and make it happen. As for the V Festivals, I was told we should be expecting major events with big artists in Lebanon.
Gino asked questions regarding Virgin Galactic that you can check [Here].
I didn’t expect Branson to be such a cool and down to earth guy. It was an honor meeting him and I hope he comes back again to Lebanon. As for now, Virgin Radio Lebanon is now officially on and you can listen to it on 89.5 FM!
Adonis is a Lebanese Band that was formed back in 2010 and has released so far one album and another is on its way. Kermalik is a single from the new album that is expected to be launched in June 2013.
Their songs are fun to listen to. You can check them out [Here].