The sounds of a musical legend
By Sarah Ryan

The Jordan Times
Monday, September 27, 2004

AMMAN - The clock ticks. Eight-thirty passes. The restless crowd of
3,500 people in seats at the Arena begin clapping, sporadic at first,
then insistent that Fairouz take the stage. Nine-fifteen passes. The
clapping takes on a thunderous note as the international singing
legend takes centre stage.

"She's an angel, I think," said Laila Sabbagh, a 16- year-old who
has seen Fairouz four times. "Her music is the food of my soul,"
added Sabbagh

Fairouz's set-list at the Sept. 25 concert reflected her musical past
as well as her recent influences.

She played many of her standards composed by Assi and Mansour
Rahbani as well as more recent music influenced by her son, Ziad
Rahbani. Some of the big hits she sang included, `My home,' and
`Last days of summer.'

"It's a concert for a new generation," said 25-year-old Samer Nahhas,
who has been listening to Fairouz for the past 10 years.

"It was amazing, literally amazing," he said.

During the song, `I loved you in summer, I loved you in winter,'
Fairouz added a reference to the Jordan River to the cheers of the
crowd. Lighter flames dotted the Arena during the quieter moments of
the concert.

Wafa Jabour travelled all the way from Nazareth to see Fairouz sing
for the second time.

"You feel everything she says. If she speaks about love, you live
it. If she speaks about war, you feel it," said Jabour.

During the entire concert Fairouz stood straight and proud, almost
immobile, in contrast to the orchestra conductor who had the musical
rhythms running through his veins.

Fairouz had no words for the audience, only songs.

Fairouz, who is approaching 70 years of age, sang an average of three
songs in a row, followed by two instrumental and choir songs while
she was backstage.

A 20-minute interval divided the concert into two parts. When
Fairouz walked on-stage after the intermission, she had traded in
her long black sparkling gown for a white dress, which glittered in
the spotlights.

The Lebanese icon came out for two encores to the delight of the entire
arena, displaying their appreciation with deafening roars and whistles.

The first encore had the crowd on their feet with a rendition of the
Lebanese national anthem.

Fairouz has been in Amman for the past five days rehearsing with her
orchestra from Syria, Lebanon and Armenia.

This was Fairouz's fourth concert in Jordan. She sang in the musical
play `Petra' in 1973, the Jerash Festival in 1983 and at the Arena
in 1999.

Fastlink sponsored the event and all proceeds from the concert will
go to the charity "Promise," which gives scholarships to Jordanian
students in financial difficulty.

Monday, September 27, 2004