Friday, February 27, 2009


There is an expression in Arabic, 'faqary', which means bringing bad luck. I pondered on it in the early hours of Thursday morning as I watched a diminutive topless Senegalese-American pop singer standing on top of a car threatening to punch members of his own audience.

This is the 3rd mass event I have been to in Cairo which has gone spectacularly wrong. Should I ban myself from attending future events in the interests of Cairo's nightlife?

The diminutive topless individual was Akon, he of 'Smack That' fame. While presumably having a fleeting moment of optimism, I volunteered (!) to cover his concert, thinking that it might be a laugh on some level.

The signs that this was a disastrous decision were all there from the start. When I went to purchase tickets from the Opera House (the incongruous setting for Akon's performance), I was informed that tickets for LE 150, 250, 500, 750 and a whopping 1,000 were available.

Maybe the LE 1,000 tickets offer the chance to be dry-humped by Akon on stage, I thought, silently.

“Will I be able to see anything in the LE 150 area?” I inquired out loud.

“Yes, yes. You'll be able to see...something...” the ticket woman replied, with an unsettling grin.

“Are the LE 150 tickets in the toilets?”

She grinned (knowingly).

I was wrong: the LE 150 area wasn't in the toilets, it was mostly between the toilets. Wady El-Mer7adayn.

Needless to say it was at the very back of the Opera car park which had been converted into the venue for the evening's shenanigans. Screens were vaguely visible if you a. Climbed a tree or b. Were over 6 ft or c. Climbed on top of one of the portable toilet cabins until instructed to get down by toilet staff.

The view was largely obstructed by the strange platform erected for the LE 500 or LE 750 crowd who, being superior beings, had been given SOFAS to sit on. The LE 250 cattle had been herded into an area to the right of this platform, while the LE 150 pariahs stood behind them separated by a barrier reminiscent of the Berlin Wall, guarded by fridge-sized bodyguards one of whom was brandishing a thick wooden stick. He thumped the stick down menacingly on the barrier whenever any of the LE 150s threatened an attempt to escape the colony.

The LE 1,000 section was a distant promised land whispered about but never seen. The only news we received about it came two hours into proceedings, when someone on stage requested the LE 1,000 golden people to “go and get their money back”. How odd, we thought. No explanation was given.

The majority 11-year old LE 150s and their parents milled around the area, the kids in a state of high excitement, the parents looking for anywhere to park themselves (the only option was pavement curbs). Bad boys in tracksuits and baseball hats started impromptu breakdancing sessions while far away on the distant stage an individual called DJ Ahmed Shaker played records and sang forgettable Arabic R n B numbers.

Three and a half hours later, at 11.30 p.m., Akon still hadn't appeared. By this time the LE 150s had got bored of the breakdancing and were milling about the LE 150/LE 250 barrier. The bodyguard with the stick was looking ever more edgier, barking instructions at his colleagues, mountain-sized all.

Suddenly and spontaneously the LE 150s made their move, storming and knocking over the barrier before charging, cheering, into beautiful freedom. The bodyguards were hopelessly outnumbered by pubescent teenagers and a DNE hack, and conceded defeat.

We arrived in the LE 250 area just in time to witness Lebanese chanteuse Melinda start her act. She was wearing gold lame leggings and that is all I have to say on the matter.

There then ensued what felt like years of standing, accompanied to the soundtrack of tunes spun by DJ Feedo. By this time two of the three giant screens had given up the ghost, as if in solidarity with us.

At midnight a man and a woman who I am given to understand are Nile FM DJs appeared on stage. “OK you're not going to believe this...” the woman said. Akon's not coming, I thought, secretly slightly relieved.

“Akon's STUCK IN TRAFFIC!!!” the woman announced, before she and her colleague made witticisms about how it would have better for Akon to get the metro. How we laughed.

“BULLSHIT”, said the crowd.

Just as I was about to throw up from so much standing a gentleman sporting a mohawk and a tartan skirt which wasn't actually a kilt bounded on stage, at about 12.40 a.m.

He went through the motions of warming up the crowd, quite successfully, before roaring, “Akon if you in Cairo lemme hear you say something.”

“Konvict [sic] Music,” a weedy voice said from nowhere.

Akon eventually appeared on stage, without providing any explanation as to why he had kept us standing for two hours – as befits an ARSEHOLE superstar, after all.

He and the Kilt man launched into their act with great gusto. The crowd loved it, pogoing and swaying their way through songs only a few of which I recognised. The rest of his material just morphed into some indistinguishable grey-coloured mush.

The fact that Akon was lip-synching appeared not to bother the crowd.

Akon chatted between songs, muttering on about how happy he is to be back in Africa, and how a man in America once told him that to succeed you need “money, power and respect” and that “no-one's better than anyone else just because they have more money than you”.

I looked up at the LE 500s sitting on the sofas and sighed.

One of Akon's more cryptic pronouncements was, “I can stand in Cairo and know that I'm not the only person from the Ghetto.” Whether this was a reference to the 0.1% of Cairo's elite who had been able to afford a ticket or to Cairenes generally remains a mystery.

Akon then took his shirt off (to the delight of the 50 women in the audience) and from this moment on everything went downhill: it was like a secret code for hell's guards to open the gates.

It started with crowd surfing. Akon did it twice, prompting a horrified and frenzied reaction from the bodyguards on stage who scrambled to fish him out of the crowd.

Apparently spurred on by the success of this endeavour, Akon then declared, “today we're one people, one blood, one world” and that he was going to cross from the front of the stage to the back of the crowd, on top of their heads.

He called it his 'bridge of peace', and instructed everyone to put their hands up so that they could carry him. “This won't work unless we all work together!” he screeched while people started working out where the nearest escape exit was.

Off he went, crawling over the hands elevated over people's heads, like a demented crab. I wondered whether he has some kind of Jesus complex, and this is his version of walking on water.

Approximately halfway across Akon – by this time sounding somewhat tense – had started instructing people not to pull him back, and eventually to "get away from him".

It was at this point that the surge of people moving towards Akon caused a lighting rig on which people had been standing to collapse – on top of other crowd members. Akon was unperturbed - “we can just cut it out of the film,” he said while people started fleeing the area. Prick.

True to his word, Akon proceeded all to the way back of the deserted LE 150 area. 'Mr Konvict' Big Stuff by this time could be heard saying “help me, help me” into the mic, like a girl. I went out to find him standing on top of something, surrounded by bodyguards several of which were now armed with sticks, which they were using to keep people away from Scaredy Pants – who by this time had started throwing punches. Smack That indeed.

He was eventually unceremoniously escorted out of the area on bodyguards' shoulders before the concert came to an abrupt end. Akon was ushered out to his waiting Hummer by the bodyguards.

Akon left in his wake two trashed cars, which he had elected to stand on top of. His fans had done the same and this was the result:

I wonder if Akon will be charged with criminal damage.

I subsequently found out that the reason why the LE 1,000s had been instructed to get their money back was that the LE 1,000 had partly collapsed, causing “minor cuts and bruises” according to one employee I spoke to. Another man standing near the light rig told me that people had been injured by its collapse. I saw several people walking around looking stunned and traumatised, and a kid in an ambulance having his arm wrapped in bandages.

The funny thing is that on the way to buy the tickets for this effin cock-up on Monday, I saw builders in the process of erecting the feeble-looking wooden frame which was the stage and had visions of it collapsing.

Perhaps the organisers and Pepsi (sponsors of the events) who beamed their logo onto the Cairo Opera House dome (which is itself wrong somehow) should have invested more money in safety, rather than using the profits of their extortionately-priced tickets on sofas.

If anyone ever sees me at a corporate-sponsored event again, they have the permission to drop-kick me.


Forsoothsayer said...

madness! i see you are rightfully enraged. masa7tee beeh el ard ibn el mitnaka.

Mac said...

Amazing article. Sounds like a massive fuck up hahaha

thingsonmymindgrapes said...

Good on you for sticking it through - if only to write this. What a dick.

Ahmed Said said...

I was there... And to be honest I'm the guy who initiated the whole attack from the 150 section to the 250 section lol... You forgot to add the part that he fell while crowd surfing. I jumped on the guy to hug him when he did hahahaha! The concert was VERYYY fun though and I can't wait for his next concert. And that comment about there being a little bit of women... Hahahaha... that is so wrong! There were almost as many women as men. And to be honest the whole help me part... You can't blame him... If you had thousands of fans charging at you you would be a little worried as well.... Oh and btw... She's called MELISSA NOT MELINDA!!!! The fact that you would call the singer by a different name makes me laugh.... You need some practice on this whole wannabe journalism thing... You forgot to mention the part where there was a fight in the crowd so Akon said "No fight is going to get more attention than me!" then jumped ontop of em... I found that to be funny as hell. But in my opinion the FUNNIEST part was when people began jumping on stage to hug him... One of his bodyguards violently pushed one of the fans off the stage which caused Akon to yell at the guard saying "BE EASY ON MY PEOPLE MAN!!!" Even after that event people STILL jumped up on stage but this time the guards were A LOT nicer hahaha. I'm telling you... It was one of the craziest night ever!

Ahmed Said said...

Oh I forgot to add something... That whole thing where you said he yelled help me and punched people... A BIG LIE. Akon DID NOT punch anyone. In fact he yelled at his bodyguards for pushing his fans... Please stop making stuff up to make him look bad... Thank You...

Scarr said...

Ahmed - I'm not making anything up. I also have a video of his bodyguards using huge wooden sticks to keep people away from him. So please don't talk to me about Akon's love for his fans.

The fact that he continued with the concert after people were injured shows that he seems not to give a damn about "his people".

The concert was a disaster. You're the only person who seems to disagree with this consensus - please save your energy and don't bore us any further with your attempts to prove otherwise.

Anonymous said...

I was there too, one of the lucky ones who didn't get hurt in this scary fucked-up lame excuse for a concert.
the whole 4 hours waiting for 20 minutes of singing then watching a wannabe celebrity jumping on the crowds for attintion was really one of the worst nights of my life ..

Mr.Akon punshed people in the face and in the arms, I saw it on the Video while the Cameraman was following his stupid ass around the place.

the photographer is a friend of mine, and he promised me the photos, if I got my hands on them, I'm going to post them and send copies to magazines and

this guy needs to pay back for our money, our right of a nice night and for the fact that he didn't give a shit how many people were injuried in his lame attempt of pridge of pease ..

Ahmed Said said...

So let me get this straight.... You think that because part of a stage fell before he even arrived anywhere near the opera house the concert was supposed to be canceled? That makes no sense at all. The man probably didn't even know about the incident anyway... I mean by the time he arrived everything was fine and everyone was normal. Just so you know I was one of the people standing right in Akon's face during the time you all say he punched someone... I'm telling you.. HE DID NOT PUNCH ANYONE. If he did then he would have punched me when I hugged him when he fell on the floor at the parking lot. He did nothing except say "thank you" when I praised him. Not a single punch by Akon was thrown. And just so you know when Akon saw one of his bodyguards push someone he yelled at him.. as I said before. It's not even the man's fault that he was late... It's the people who organized the thing. They are the ones who should take the blame for that. He wasn't even drunk.... People please get your facts straight...

Ahmed Said said...

By the way... Security wasn't that great either... I mean I was able to knock down the railing and push through the guards to get from the 150 area to the 250 area without being stopped... And other than that people were smoking hashish by the bathrooms... Weird crap was going on... It was still the greatest concert ever to take place in Cairo.

PimpPharaoh said...

first of all
it is obvious you are not much of an akon fan cuz of
1)no akon fan would write such an article
2)you didnt know most of the songs played
3)you are too blind to see that it was all live

from what i read i can see that you went alone, and had nothing better to do, which i believe you never do, since you keep bitching but stayed throughout the whole thing

this was an awesome concert, an unforgettable night. yes the 150 seats sucked, but that didnt stop the real fans from having fun.

and if u werent blinded enough by ur stubborn head u'd notice that most of the antendees were female.

so once again
stop being a hater
and this was an awesome concert, it did have some backdraws, but hey ur in egypt, shit happens

Nariman said...

umm Scarr? I made this account just cause I felt the need to say something... Ahmed Said, thank you for saying the truth and not being a hater. Scarr, are you TRYING to have no other singers come to Cairo again? Seriously its this kinda attitude that makes artist's just not wana come back. It was a CONCERT, of course shit's gona happen what the hell do you expect! I think Akon was by far Amazing, Unbelievable, EXRAORDINARY EVEN!!! Firstly, you're very factually incorrect. You really should check your information before you write it down. The woman's name was Melissa not Melinda, the 500 L.E people were no seated on sofa's they were standing in front of the stage, Akon did not punch a single person and neither did he yell at people to get away from him. Those are just a few of several things I can't be bothered to list. JUST TO MAKE THINGS CLEAR.. he wasnt lipsynching! We were literally steps away from him and he wasn't so stop trying to make shit up.

Secondly, ask anyone who actually likes Akon, they'll tell you it was one of the best night ever. Judging by what you wrote, it's pretty obvious you're not Akon's number 1 fan, which brings me to the question if you don't like him why go in the first place? You're bound to be prejudiced. The fact that he crowd surfed several times shows that he trusts and loves his fans and was just trying to have fun and give us a night to remember. The fact that he risked and wanted to emphasize unity and went all the way to the 150's to have them see him shows how courageous he is!! he DIDNT punch anyone cuz i had friends in the 150. and I can tell you THE THOUSANDS OF WOMEN WHO ATENDED WOULD GIVE ANYTHING TO SEE HIM STRIP AGAIN!HE'S AWESOME!

"The fact that he continued with the concert after people were injured shows that he seems not to give a damn about "his people"
Seriously? I don't get it, Akon was supposed to cancel the concert and not sing, is that what you're implying? Pffffft. It's your fault you bought 150 LE tickets everyone knew you weren't gona see much.

Yes, I'm not saying the organizing was amazing because it wasn't and there were lots of problems. But Akon himself was beyond amazing. His performance was AWESOME. And the majority of the people who attended the concert would agree with that; in fact, you're one of the few people who seem to think the concert was a disaster. I assume it's simply because you're one of those people who just don’t know how to have fun.


Daniel said...

I'm sorry, what's being AKON number one fan have to do with the shit that happened ?! I'm a Chris Brown fan, but that doesn't mean I agree or like what he did to Rihanna for example, hitting her and shit!!
you're all talking like AKON is a God of some sort, and to keep artists coming to Egypt we should simply forget about his mistakes and show the good side ..
which good side again ?! there're none :
1 - 4 Hours meaningless waiting for him to show up at 12.40 am ..
when MADONNA (QUEEN OF POP) was 40 minutes late in O2 Arena in LONDON people sued and got thier ticket money back "AFTER" they went to the consert!!
when the same night she finished her show an hour late, the O2 people sued because she broke the agreemant they have with the city Mayor about finishing time.

2 - a Show that started at 12.40 and finished at 1.10 ?!!
he actually showed up on stage at 12.50, beyond drunk, beyond high, he was totally wasted!
lip-syncing all the time, notice that when he fall off the stage the first time (or jump, God knows) his voice didn't stop for a second! the bodygurds were fishing him from the people and he didn't stop singing and didn't lose the music ?! where did you say you were again ?!
3 - Crashing cars and hiting people and screaming scared shithless-ly "HELP ME" on the mic ?!
4 - 2 light stages that broke down on people and all the injuries ..
I can write a list, do you have all night ?!!

that wasn't a concert, that was a shame!
by the way, I'm half Syrian half Lebanese, having fun is part of who I'm, and that night wasn't fun, wasn't fun at all, it was a night full of shit, and if you actually enjoyed it, I really have a very interesting opionion about you mental health ..

Danny (Ahmed Ramadan)
the Entertainment Senior Editor in GoodNews4Media - Egypt

Lasto adri *Blue* said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lasto adri *Blue* said...

Excuse me Scarr, I want to reply to Nariman

"Scarr, are you TRYING to have no other singers come to Cairo again?"..

Sorry Nariman, but I believe that its better not to have other singers come to Cairo again as long as they are not well behaving themselves, and as long as we don't have proper organizing for concerts!.

And by the way, what is the importance of Akon, or singers as such, visiting Egypt if you think that we should go blind and not confront ourselves with the truth?! ha? to tell them its pinky pinky, while it is not?
are we fooling the rest of the world or fooling ourselves?

What happened is a shame.. and if we are having a proper respectable system, such silliness would have never happened.

Instead of asking Scarr -or any similar voice- not to speak, please go to the silent majority and ask them to demand immediate reform for the country.
This is not just a-one-concert-problem, if you know.

Nariman said...

Being an Akon fan has everything to do with it because if you go to a concert when you don’t like the artist performing, you're bound to regret. Why do something that stupid anyway?

And I feel like I'm repeating myself here, but Akon was not drunk neither was he high. Wow you make it seem like you have results of a blood test he underwent, the way ur so sure. Fuckin hell, calm down.

Oh and if you haven't noticed, we're not in London we're in Egypt. Name one concert you've been to in Egypt that started on time. Lol. The shitty organization wasn't akon's fault it was the country's fault so stop hating on the man! Oh and one more thing, technically, he wasn't four hours late because it's not like we stood waiting in complete silence for him to arrive. Other people performed which was what we knew would happen. Yes, he was late, but when you think about it it was probably not more than hour.

And once again, what do you expect? WE'RE IN EGYPT.

For the last time he WASN'T lisynching!!!! WE WERE SINGING WITH HIM COMPLETING HIS VERSES! HOW the HELL can he lipsynch!!!! I said I was right UNDER HIM and I saw! unless you were that close like I was, you don't have the right to say anything.

And I really don’t understand how you can say it started 12:40finished at 1.10? That is SUCH a lie! he STARTED 12:15 and I left at 2.30 and Akon was still singing. Seriously, get a life and stop spreading nasty rumours.

I'm not talking about him like he's some kind of 'god', as you so elegantly put it, I'm just being fair to the guy. He Wasn't drunk or high he performed SO well and was well spoken!

Okay, and the light problems, which by the way didn't exist lol, but I'm just humouring you, weren't his fault. Neither was the platform collapsing. Once again, it was the organizers fault. Seriously, you make it sound like Akon went and somehow broke the platform and injured all those people himself. The guy hadn’t even arrived yet.

Wow, you both mentioned 'we shouldn’t forget his mistakes'… what mistakes? No, seriously, what mistakes? I'm actually laughing right now. All the guy did was give an amazing performance. None of the problems that took place were his fault.

How can you even compare it with what Chris Brown did? I'm a fan of Chris Brown too, and I'm not liking what he did to Rihanna but that's a completely different story. Unless I'm mistaken (which I'm not) I don’t remember seeing Akon beat up any girls that night? I don't remember seeing him beat up ANYONE.

I agree with blue or whatever ur name is that we should ask for the reform of our country, okay, but all that shit against Akon is lame.

You're probably going to read this and remove it, but that just proves to me how pathetic you are.

I didn't want to get personal and I was not attacking you in my first post, I was just pointing out how wrong you were. Then you had to start about my mental health…

Please. Grow up.

Unknown said...

Sarah would you just post the videos? And that mate who had the pictures should put links here. So we just end this my-word-vs-your-word shitty type of argument.

I personally see that Sarah is a reputable voice in journalism and I don't she has personal issues with Akon to say what she said. And when Sarah post her "graphical evidence", offenders here will need to shut the fuck up and stop BSing around.

You say organisers? If you REALLY want to enjoy western singers and you really have the money, then why don't you build a hundred thousand spectators stage and get the fucking Opera out of this whole matter? The Opera is definitely NOT for this Akon-Type-Of-Style so-called-art. And apart from everything, you are a real example of how civilized Akon fans are, heh.

Unknown said...

THANK YOU! I was already content with my decision to leave at 11 when the 'word' was that AKON would arrive in another 40 minutes. Now I’m BEAMING! Entertain us, don't trash us. A'con' is how I’m gonna remember this white-trash-reject. Cheers!

Daniel said...

as promised, please find photos of that unforgettable night on my blog ...

Scarr said...

Class, watch this:

Now discuss.

Unknown said...

Another eye witness from AlJazeera

Ahmed Said said...

By the way scarr... If you were that woman that was wearing a blue jacket with black pants and you have black hair... Then I'm gonna laugh my ass off... Because I saw that person trying to bud their nose in to what was happening only to be yelled at and dissed by security. By the way everyone... The Akon act started at like 11:30 - 11:45. The concert ended at around 2:30 or more. So please don't fill this page with a lot of bull. And for those people who say Akon punched people... THAT'S A LOAD OF BULL. He didn't punch anyone... He's not that stupid. He know's that if he begins striking people it could cause an entire fan base to not only hate him but attack him on the spot. And just so you all know... Those guards actually saved my life. I was being trampled when I hugged Akon when he was on the floor. Next thing I know Akon's bodyguard comes and picks me and Akon up off the ground before I was trampled to death. Thankfully I only received minor injuries. I was one of the people who got hurt that night and yet I still loved the concert. I have no idea why people who hate Akon go to his concert just to criticize it later. Guys I already wrote the truth of what happened in my posts. And by the way Nariman I also made this account just because I felt like I had to say something. And it's great to see someone who actually says the truth for a change... And I just want Akon to come back "Right Na Na Na"

Daniel said...

Ahmed Said,
I'm happy you had fun ..

I can tell from your way of speaking, from your aspect about time and place, from your determent to "hug" AKON and the fact that you faced a near-death-experience on that concert that you actually really had fun.

again, happy to know you're safe and sound, and looking for more "fun" post from your side ..

thank you ...

Ahmed Said said...


Good to see that you're a great fan of sarcasm. Either way I DID have fun no matter what. The concert was on epic proportions.

Unknown said...

video just shows someone holding a stick. in the States bodyguards are armed with weapons, so big deal..

either way, anyone who pays 100-1000LE to see Akon deserves to be at the receiving end of that stick.

justforu said...

you ignorant SOB!..i dont even know where to start..the concert was amazing and u dont even know what your talking about..akon didnt scream for help..he didnt punch anyone in fact he yelled at the bodyguards for handling his fans roughly after they climbed up on stage!!!...and of course the 150 area sucked cause ur a cheap ass who didnt care enough to pay a bit more and enjoy the show! so dont freaking complain when ur the idiot..and by the way the people who paid 500 were standing just like u!..and the 750 ones ended up standing as well after that incident happened. Im not denying the fact that several unfortunate incidents took place that night and some people did get hurt but that is not akon's fault...wat happened can only be blamed on egypt and its unorganized ways.
so dont be saying shit that aint true and ruining it for the rest of us

ps...ur the "kunt"

DailyAntics said...

well, i'm glad to have you back anyhow :)

Scarr said...

lol thank you!

Munqy said...

Wow. Just wow. How can anyone actually support what happened? Now I wasn't there, but I've seen pictures and video, read all the news articles, everything, and I tend to trust that slightly more than I do some pumped-up fans using words like "hater". I've spoken to people who were there, and what they tell me matches what's on this blog almost exactly.

Now setting aside whether Akon really punched people or not, whether his crowd surfing was a good idea or not, and whether property was damaged or not, the fact remains that the organizing was horrendous. People got hurt in collapsing stages, broken limbs and all, and yes, after that the concert SHOULD have been canceled.

In fact, addressing what a previous poster said about artists being scared away from Egypt because of this blog post, you know what? I hope that we don't get any concerts here until we get people who are actually capable of organizing something properly. Every single international concert we have had in Egypt has been an unmitigated failure, and if you can't see that it's time for you to stop playing ostrich and take your head out of the sand.

Basil Epicurus said...

Who's Akon?

MechanicalCrowds said...


Anonymous said...

planet weird.. half of the pop living in subhuman standards, feeding from garbage, can't find decent healthcare and you spoilt mother fucking morons are arguing about a retard returning back for a concert.

one calls you a cunt, the other sez you;re a wannabe journalist because you couldn't remember the name of an obscure lebanese slut, i never heard of this scumbag akon; i actually had to google him up so who fucking cares.

you sons and daughters of bitches, offspring of the mubarak nouveau-riche blood sucking don't deserve to go to a concert, you deserve to be sent to the gallows. spending 200+ to go see a fucktard smash a windscreen worth l.e 3000, you know you can feed a poor family for an entire month for the price of that ticket... get a sense of reality

this country is truly hopeless..

Anonymous said...

اجيال تعيش الوهم هذا هو نتاج جيل مبرك- اللعنه عليكم و الجحيم مصيركم يا مصاصى دماء الشعب ياذناب مبرك التعس