Dead Can Dance Event Review
Reviewer: Carmina Khairallah - 2012-12-31
This summer 2012 was a very big step forward for Lebanon’s music scene. Many international Artists, from Trance to Rap to pretty much everything else, including some rather big names of the Rock and Metal world, came for a gig to our small Arabian country. I have to say, though, that one particular event came to top it all off right before everyone had to head back to their academic and/or working lives. Yes, it happened, on September 16th at Zouk Roman Amphitheater, Dead Can Dance, the notorious World Fusion Music band, passed by Lebanon in their 2012 coming back tour, attracting people from all over the world to our country. And it was definitely a night to remember.
The event was scheduled to start at 8:30, and that is exactly what happened. Around 8, people were almost filling the integrality of the chairs available at the event location, and at 8:30 sharp, the background Greek music set to keep the crowd patient went silent and the lights went dim to reveal a most unusual opening act: David Kukhermann, internationally renowned percussionist, known for his contributions with many bands including Dead Can Dance themselves, as well as his solo work. It may have been only one man, but for the untrained ear and blind eye it was a whole band of percussionists filling the stage. Mr. Kukhermann alternatively used two instruments: the Swiss “Hang” and the Lebanese “Rak”, playing 3 tracks on the first and 1 on the second. Between each track, he explained the origin of both his instruments as well as the functioning of the first, along with the history of one of the tracks (the second he played), written long ago on a Thai island. The tracks themselves were simply superb, enhanced by some actually very good quality sound. The Artist managed both instruments with dexterity as well as passion, delivering 25 minutes of a very innovative and very delightful experience. There probably couldn’t have been any better way to start the night. Funny detail, Mr. Kukhermann thanked the audience for their applauding with a very Arab “shukran”. Have you ever noticed how international Artists visiting Lebanon use this word to thank their fans as a mark of respect to our culture while we never even use that word amongst ourselves?
It was then time for 35 more minutes of waiting and Greek background music. Some were chattering, others were smoking a cigarette, and others were simply enjoying the mood, while the band’s technicians were making sure everything was perfect. But you could feel the atmosphere tense up at once when, at 9:30, everything was silent and the lights went dim again. There was an immediate excited round of applause as soon as Lisa Gerrard and Brendan Perry came and greeted the audience with a hand wave, followed by their band. Dead Can Dance started their show with the song Children of the Sun, followed by these tracks (in no specific order):
- Lamma Bada
- The HosHost of Seraphim
- Ime Prezakias (Greek Rembetika)
- Now We Are Free
- All in Good Time
- The Ubiquitous Mr Lovegrove
- Dreams Made Flesh
- Song to the Siren
- Return of the She King
- Rising of the Moon
The band’s new album Anastasis having been released in 2012 after a long hiatus, it was natural that they’d play the whole album that night (8 songs), honoring Lebanon as one of the first countries to ever listen to it live. The rest of the tracks, of course, were classics from previous albums.
The atmosphere was, dare I say it, magical. Long white threads of cloth were hung behind the scene, forming a curtain dancing to the fortunate wind and the sound of the music, while being illuminated by lights of colors corresponding respectively to each song, from yellow to blue to red to white dotted gray and many more, depending on the mood of the pieces. Mainly, the tracks were distributed in a way to alternate those sung by Brendan Perry and those sung by Lisa Gerrard, with only a few exceptions, giving a very enjoyable balance to the emotions of the songs, making the audience drift between Brendan’s smooth, enchanting voice and Lisa’s powerful and heartfelt chants. Both vocalists were either singing, playing an instrument (string or percussions), or doing both, during all tracks, delivering their show as well as their all to their audience. One could easily observe the band’s two keyboardists, drummer and percussionist, all taken in a form of trance while playing. Our small part of the Earth was filled with songs from the Heavens that night.
At about 11, the band officially greeted their fans goodbye (after a false alert and a curtain call 2 songs earlier, during which several people actually gave up and left). At that time, I think most attendees’ hearts and minds were completely numbed out, shaken by the musical Armageddon they had just witnessed, as I cannot find anything more equally beautiful and heart wrenching to that concert than what the end of the world will probably look (and sound) like. If only, though, some of those who came completely uninformed of what they were about to witness, had at least observed the laws of respect enough to lower their voices, and let other people enjoy the show. That has to be the only inconvenience that has been witnessed during the whole event. Maybe one additional disappointment was to not have witnessed some of the band’s classics such as “Cantara” or “The Lotus Eaters”, but that might simply be a selfish and irrelevant remark.
In conclusion, we at JorZine would like to thank 2u2c management for organizing this incredible event, and we would also love to thank Dead Can Dance from the bottom of our hearts for granting Lebanon this amazing musical gift. Hopefully, we shall be granted the opportunity to watch you again in the future.