It usually takes 15 minutes to drive from Marina to Golf Porto Marina on the North Coast, but on the day of pop star Amr Diab’s concert, we were lucky to make it in two hours.
With the highway completely jammed patrol officers closed off the first U-turn to Golf Porto Marina which meant that motorists had to withstand a few extra miles of stop-and-go traffic before heading in the right direction.
But that was just the beginning.
It took us nearly an hour and a half just to enter the resort. A motley crew of police officers and aggressive bodyguards were literally yelling at us to show our tickets. The unlucky ones in the car next to ours , who didn’t have them handy, had their cars pounded with giant fists – just for an extra dose of adrenalin before partaking in the hyped highlight of the summer.
Surprisingly the parking was well-organized, so we didn’t expect it to take us another two hours to leave.
We embarked on the pilgrimage to the concert grounds. And despite the long and frustrating trek with ushers demanding to see the tickets every few meters, when we actually got there we realized the space was relatively small, considering that this was the King of Pop himself.
Despite the harassments, the occasional fist fights and people passing out for lack of oxygen, Diab’s performance was brilliant, heartfelt, satisfying and diverse. Just as you start to believe that he has nothing new to offer, he reinvents himself surprising all his fans.
The audience went crazy with the start of each song, and the screams were louder whenever he belted out any of his remarkable oldies. And as he often does in the summer, he sang snippets from his yet-to-be-released album, with the mostly young crowd singing along all night.
At one point one young man jumped onto the stage to give Diab a hug, and read out lyrics of a song he had written.
Mixed feelings about the show spanned the gamut from hatred to ecstasy.
Sally Atef, 20, said “The concert was awful, the bad planning ruined the whole experience for me. Last year’s concert was completely different, it was well-organized, enjoyable and safe.
She added that the one good thing was that they publicized it well.
On the other hand, Ahmed El Khouly, a huge fan and a regular to Diab concerts though it was “amazing.
“Diab’s performance is remarkable and the variety in his song choices is absolutely fulfilling, he said.