Mawazine Festival, Morocco
added: 28 May 2012
// gig date: 26 May 2012
reviewer: Alasdair Byers
Last Saturday (26th May) saw famous singer and infamous Diva Mariah Carey perform at Morocco's Mawazine Festival. Carey performed as a headline act main stage at the Moroccan Royal Family backed event to around 40,000 people in Moroccan capital Rabat.
Starting one hour and twenty minutes late, Carey walked on stage at the live, televised event to a bored, silent audience (many of whom had been treated to an astounding performance by fellow US artist Lenny Kravitz the night before), opening her set by miming along to prerecorded vocals on a club remix of one of her earlier hits. Carey then proceeded to address the largely unresponsive crowd, before instructing all film cameras to avoid close ups of her during her show. She spent some 5 minutes wandering around the stage asking crew to adjust sound levels, giving orders by singing them in rhyme over the (working?) mic. Mic check over Mariah Carey then worked her way through a shortened version of another early hit, once again mostly cooing and laughing over prerecorded vocals. Following minimal response from the crowd after this, Carey walked off stage for several minutes, returning by singing requests for a glass of water. Following this Carey proceeded to ask for her "signature" mic stand, explaining to the audience (none of whom have English as a first language) that she was the inventor of the glittery mic stand, a lot of stars had copied her and this was just one of the challenges she had had to face in her difficult career. Carey then improvised a 2 minute version of an unreleased hit, however leaving almost all the singing to her backing vocalist Treynor Rins, who she visibly clung onto for support.
As a confused crowd began to talk amongst themselves (many in the press arena debating on whether or not she was drunk ) Carey disappeared again for several minutes, leaving a panicky-looking Treynor to sing two covers, unprepared, to 40,000 people, managing to claim the only cheer and applause that night. Treynor then also left the stage, now sat in darkness, whilst the band played a Sting cover ( with no singer). More or less shoved back onto stage, Carey (now with a change of dress) conducted further sound checks before singing another shortened song - once again Treynor actually sung the vocals, whilst Carey cut over him halfway through, singing an entirely different tune. Credit is due here to the band that managed to switch melodies remarkably fast.
Carey then demanded a seat, before failing to sit on the seat, and having it removed. Carey then proceeded to ask the crowd for a shout out and cheer to her two beautiful twins up in the hotel watching their mom. Failing to rouse any response, Carey then began asking where the seat had gone. After this, Carey spent some time wandering on stage (unsteadily?) asking what the audience wanted to hear, as well as talking about how much she loved Morocco. "There's a room in my house with Moroccan styling", she explained, "And I wrote a lot of songs in that room. Well, Ok, So I didn't..... but I sure thought about a lot of ideas for songs...... that I then went on to write.... co-write.... With my producer." Silence. She then sung a few improvised lines on Moroccan people being beautiful. Silence. Changing strategy, Carey then decided to "Treat you guys to my very first song, a song my grandmother taught me when I was five years old" Carey sung around two lines in French of a nursery rhyme, before laughing and giving up.
Carey then left the stage once again. Silence for 3 minutes, before Treynor came back on to introduce the band members at length ("One of them wrote a book guys, isn't that great?"), then the dancers, then asked (pleaded) with the crowd to show some support. Carey then reappeared (dress 3) and conducted further mic checks, before miming along to another pre-recorded hit, cooing along to most of it and wandering around stage, whilst the cameras panned in on the panicked smiles of confused band members.
Cutting her song mid-verse, Carey demanded a sofa be brought on stage. Sitting down she sighed loudly, "Some people have no idea about what one has to endure". She then complained that the sound levels were still not quite right. Sprawled across the couch, Mariah appeared disorientated and confused, before pulling back a strand of hair and asking what the crowd thought of her earrings. Finishing her performance, Carey reportedly went immediately to a private jet at Casablanca airport and is thought to now be somewhere in Italy.
Moroccan sources backstage have confirmed that all songs on the (planned) set list were pre-recorded.
Carey was reportedly paid between 900 000 and 1.2 million US Dollars to play a 2 and-a-half hour peak night set at Mawazine, Morocco's celebration of international music and cultural unity. She sung for around 25 minutes.
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