Yesterday was the day award-winning singer and superstar Shakira visited Lebanon as part of her El Dorado World Tour. Before performing at the Cedars International Festival in the northern town of Bcharri in front of a crowd of super-hyped fans, she first visited her father’s hometown of Tannourine, where more than 50 people gathered to meet her at the emblematic Tannourine cedar reserve. The event was organized by Edmond Feris Harb, the Lebanese Consul in Colombia, but he later admitted that it was his wife, Dalal, who planned the songwriter’s visit to her father’s place of origin.
Shakira received an official welcome from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and exchanged a few words with the Tannourine mayor who dedicated two cedar trees in the reserve to her and named an entire square in the cedar reserve after her, a gesture she found “very humbling”. In her speech, she described herself as being a fruit that emanated from those same cedar trees exported to Colombia. She then read a poem by Gibran Khalil Gibran on a gift, offered to her by the event’s organizers: “For man is happy only with his aspiration to the heights. When he attains his goal, he bounds for the distant fights”.
That was just the start of Shakira’s day, as she had to get ready to perform in front of more than 1,200 people at the Cedars International Festival. The concert began at around 9:35pm with Shakira appearing on stage and screaming out the words “Marhaba Lebnen”. After expressing her love for the country, her iconic songs and dancing kicked off with her hit signature song, “Hips Don’t Lie”. The singer sang for almost two hours, performing songs from her new album, El Dorado, as well as some of her numerous classic hits.
Shakira’s outfit was at its usual bright-colored and glittering best, the type that left the concertgoers mesmerized at the sight of her famous belly dancing. Most of Shakira’s songs were on playback, however, when you’re dancing non-stop on stage and jumping around, it’s understandable. The concert also featured laser lights, fireworks, and confetti.
Unfortunately, the event was far from magical. Let’s start with the disorganization by the event organizers. It took us hours to reach where the concert was held and had to continue by foot since cars were blocking the road, and it was even worse on the way back home. Another problem was the ticket price. A less than two-hour performance (with a lot of time wasted) is not worth more than $100 of ticketing price, especially when you’re in area that engulfs a huge crowd that impedes you from dancing, not to mention the drinks spilled on you, as well as potential cigarette burns.
Nevertheless, that’s just how Lebanese crowds are and I have to say we still managed to enjoy our time… What we loved the most was the video she previewed before the concert ended, one that pictured young children’s suffering in the world, who go through difficult struggles on a daily basis. We loved how she used her platform to share and remind everyone of children suffering, and truly hope she comes back next year.