At a conference for the local and international press on the morning of the show Alicia Keys is joking and laughing with the gathered journalists, answering all questions comfortably and intelligently, every inch the consummate professional.
A different story that night when she keeps the hordes that had gathered to see her close the 13th edition of Mawazine waiting for over an hour. Boos started spreading through the crowd and I was reminded of Mariah Carey's extremely late appearance a couple of years ago on the same stage and her subsequent woeful performance. I hoped the evening would not follow a similar pattern.
When Alicia did finally appear she looked stunning in shiny skin tight black leggins and black 'New York' vest. Striding on confidently she cracked into an exquisite version of 'Karma' and quickly won the crowd back.
Currently on her fifth album Alicia Keys seems to be on a return to form, not she ever drifted too far, but her output of late does seem more in tune with her first two albums. This was a well constructed set, a relaxed jovial affair, flitting from emotional solo piano performances to full band crescendos and back again.
"Girl On Fire" saw the whole crowd come together with hands waving in the air, and for "Empire State Of Mind (Part II) Broken Down" everyone joined in to sing "New York, New York, New Yooork!". It was a worthy finale for another welcome edition of Mawazine Festival. Roll on next year…
1. "Karma" 2. "You Don't Know My Name" 3. "Tears Always Win" 4. "Listen to Your Heart" 5. "Like You'll Never See Me Again" 6. "A Woman's Worth" 7. "Diary" 8. "Love You Down" 9. "Un-Thinkable (I'm Ready)" 10. "Try Sleeping with a Broken Heart" 11. "101" 12. "Fallin'" 13. "I'll Be There for You/You're All I Need to Get By" (Performed by background vocalists) 14. "When It's All Over" 15. "Fire We Make" 16. "Unbreakable" 17. "Not Even the King" 18. "If I Ain't Got You" 19. "No One" 20. "New Day" 21. "Murder She Wrote" 22. "Girl On Fire" Encore 23. "Brand New Me" 24. "Empire State of Mind (Part II) Broken Down"