Tag Archives: Byblos Festival

“Let’s Go Crazy Tonight!” 30 Seconds to Mars Concert

Place: Byblos – Lebanon

Date: 15-07-11

Event: 30 Seconds to Mars Concert

I got dressed and put on red lipstick. For such events, one needs to. I took the bus with my friend and headed to Byblos. A band whose name I cannot be bothered to remember was playing songs that sounded identical. At 9:30pm, the lights went out, the crowd went quiet, we collectively drew our breath and screamed! The drummer of 30 Seconds to Mars came up, took his place and started playing. In a rush of colors, lights, screams and camera flashes, Jared Leto appeared. He was wearing a jacket with broad, decorated shoulders and sun glasses and a white guitar was between his hands.

He screamed: ‘Let’s go crazy tonight!” and screams filled the air, mostly those of teenage girls.

After the first song, he took off his jacket.

Indeed, he made a very good wardrobe choice

Jared shouted: “I want this to be the best night of your lives!” And it’s definitely in the top 5.

He alternated between singing, jumping and dancing, speaking to the audience and interacting with us all. We were all there, we were entirely there, listening to his every words, watching his every move.

In a typical teenage moment, I told my friend: “He’s SOOOOOO gorgeous!”

But it’s not about the looks, it’s about his ability to make you feel like you’re the only one that matters in a SOLD OUT concert. You can definitely feel his background in acting emerge, he knew how to captivate his audience.

He ordered: "Raise your hands in the air!"

He ordered us: SHOUT! JUMP! DOWN LOW! PUT YOUR HANDS UP! And we listened. Even when he told us to be quiet, we listened. Thousands of people stopped talking.

He said: “Let’s see if we can sing so loud that the rest of the world wishes they were right here in Lebanon!”

At this point, my friend and I agreed: This man is very quotable.

And this is what he said:

“We went swimming in your beautiful ocean and (a band member) got stung by a jelly fish, I was sleeping, Shannon got bit by a shark, and Tim was masturbating in his room.

I have to admit, I think I love your food even more than you. Yes, I’ve been eating… I’ve already had 3 bowls of hummus *audience screams, thinking “he knows the names of the dishes!”*, 2 bowls of tabboule *audience screams, thinking “he has such a cute accent in Arabic!”* and one bowl of baba ghannush *audience screams, women swoon*, whatever that guy’s name is.

Hold on, I just wanna talk to you one second *approaches the edge of the stage*. There are a lot of people around the world that think that Lebanon is this very distant land, it’s too far away, it’s much too dangerous. I gotta say, this is one of the greatest pleasures of my entire life, and I promise you, I am going to tell everybody all over the world what an amazing place this is, and if they are too scared to come and visit you, then we’re gonna come back and see you again!”

Pure Awesomeness

At this point, he had us all eating tabboule right out of his hand.

Singing at the top of his lungs

Towards the end of the concert, he picked people to go up on stage. I was not one of them. Some people caught pics and drum sticks. I was not one of them. I just caught some confetti. But it’s ok, it was still pretty awesome!

Jared Leto and his "chosen crowd"

On our way back home, I was discussing tomorrow’s plans with my friend. She interrupts me: “Is there life after tonight?”


Much Ado about a Concert: Mashra3neha?

Mashroo3 Leila - Lebanese Band

In retrospect, it was a kick-ass night! Fun evenings are like blessings, you notice them after they happen. After much traffic, heat, humidity, getting from one cab to another, I finally met my friend and her sister at ABC Debayeh (a mall) at around 7pm. The “Mashroo3 Leila” (a pretty amazing Lebanese band) concert was set to start at 8:30pm in Byblos, which is around a 30 minute ride from  ABC Debayeh… if there is no traffic. But it’s Lebanon, it’s Friday night and it’s summer… “There is traffic” would be a terrible understatement that holds apocalyptic repercussions. We waited for her friends to pick us up… and we waited… waited until it was 8:30pm.

That was when we decided to take matters into our own hands and take a Service (cab) all the way to Byblos. For all those who are familiar with Lebanese transportation, you would know that we were about to undertake a quasi-impossible feat of epic proportions. We stood on the highway and asked the first cab that passed how much he would charge us to get there. He answered: “two dollars each”. Now, again, for those who are familiar with Lebanese transportation, you would know that such a “deal” is almost impossible to come by. So we squeezed in the back seat and hoped for the best.

With all of what we may call traffic, for lack of a stronger term, we got to Byblos at 9:45pm… more than an hour had passed. We ran to the concert and enjoyed the last few songs because by 10:30, it was over.

The place was almost full, thousands were there, the band was full of energy which they passed on generously. The songs were absolutely original, fun and funny, beautiful to listen to and a heck of a beat to dance to. The lead singer is a hilarious, charismatic person that draws you in and doesn’t let go. The stage was filled with TVs that displayed static, creating a troubling yet very funky atmosphere. The musicians were thoroughly enjoying their performance and the good vibes just kept on flowing! It is simply beautiful to hear your own spoken language in the songs, to hear things we relate to, to see language stripped to its bear minimum sometimes “im bimbilila7” and still have a funny yet extremely strong message about the situation in Lebanon and patriarchy. Whereas a song like “Shim el Yasmine”… well it just might be one of the saddest, most beautiful love songs I’ve heard in Arabic.  Just wished the concert lasted longer!

Afterwards, we drove around the streets of Byblos, more than once, in circles, trying to find a place to grab a bite, a drink or just relieve our aching feet and my friend’s agonizing pain due to her new red Converse shoes. The city was packed, people traveled the narrow and sinuous streets like ants who knew that it would rain at any minute. Merchants were standing on the sidewalk, selling jewelry and local products such as oil and soap. Young people in uniforms (probably Scouts, couldn’t really tell) were playing music and marching around. A young woman and her friends were in funky outfits celebrating a bachelorette party. The city was pregnant with people, music and food.

We therefore decided to head back to Beirut and relax in a small pub on Hamra Street: “Rabbit Hole”. If you’re ever in the neighborhood, it’s definitely a place you’d want to visit! It’s a pub that, unlike other pubs in Gemayzeh, understands the concept of background music. Instead of loud and mind-numbing techno, we listened to Oasis, Eric Clapton, Beatles… The good stuff. Service was impeccable, the complementary nachos and dip they kept on comin’! We talked of dramatic love stories, careers and good Cuban food.

When I got back home, I sent my friend a message:

“Cheers to a two dollar cab ride to Byblos, to seven dollars worth of units spent in one day making calls, to half a kick-ass concert, to a fun drink in a hole. Cheers to a rocky yet all in all wonderful evening!”

Dima M.