How many times have you been to a music event and thought "Wow! I'm watching history being made!". Few, if any, I bet. Well, I am happy to say that yesterdays concert was one of these moments. Monika's first ever solo concert (she told us so, probably meaning that she did not share the program with any other act) was enthralling, joyful, touching. She blew us out!
She was shy and it showed. She did not expect the huge turnout of people (according to her, 500 people were left out of the venue). Monika and the band were well prepared for their songs but obviously did not expect the crowd to sing along with them ALL the songs and react so warm and accepting towards them. Visibly touched and grateful, she gave back the love, singing almost the whole Avatar album, plus her renditions of Leonard Cohen's Hallelujah (a staple in her live shows I hear), Carly Simon's You're So Vain, Procul Harum's Whiter Shade of Pale and a couple more oldies.
But it was her own songs that stole the limelight. Babe, Over The Hill and others made people sing, dance, clap, cry, smile. Best moments for me were Bloody Sth and Not Young In My Youth, my eyes were brimming with tears in both of them. A big heartfelt thank you to Monika for these amazing moments. She still has little material to work with - just one record, but she did perform a great new song for us, written just three days ago, and responded to people asking for more after the encore songs (having repeated Babe and Over The Hill which ended the concert) "I don't have more!". But she will have more - Monika we're waiting!
And now the bad news: the organizers were the worst bunch I have experienced in my life. Not taking into account the crowd that gathered for the concert and having picked a most inapropriate space for it, they kept doing things to worsen the experience even more. Since when does an independed act need people sitting in tables and sofas with wine coolers, ice buckets and stuff being served as if you're watching a lounge act? Why did they keep selling tickets when the venue was already full? Shame to them. I hoped things would change with this venues new management but they got worse. And this in a city with many problems regarding appropriate concert venues.
We hope Monika comes again soon for another concert, so that all those people left out can enjoy her vibrant, fresh presence. Seeing the crowd, both inside and out, made me feel hope for a change in music things in Greece - so many young people, all eager to see and listen to Monika can only make one hopeful. May it last and expand.
All photos by me except the second one, which is by my colleague Ioanna Papadopoulou (Ioanna and Chrysanthi thanks for everything!)