Friday, April 17, 2009

20090312-Concert In Samara

Story by : Nat Krasnova - Russia

The weather on that day was extremely nasty as if "the dark force" was trying hard to spoil our pleasure.:) It was snowing all day long but the temperature was above 0'C (32'F). Due to this the snow turned into water as soon as it touched the ground. There were a great many puddles everywhere which pretty much resembled small lakes. Sometimes these obstacles seemed insuperable, I had to turn back and choose another route on my way to the Philarmonic Concert Hall. Nevertheless, I had no reason to worry that I might be late for the concert since I had set out well in advance. I arrived at the hall one hour before the concert and was astonished to find out that the sound check had already begun.

As a rule, Vitas sings at rehearsals new songs from his future programs or even songs from other artists' repertory - the ones he will hardly ever perform on the stage himself. Only a couple of songs rehearsed during the sound check may happen to be from the current program. This time, while I was smartening up in a dressing-booth of the cloakroom, I heard a familiar voice. At first it sang a well-known non-V song which I recognized immediately, then another song I failed to identify - it was totally unknown to me. Soon I left the cloakroom and went upstairs to the accompaniment of the famous Lucia di Lammermoor. Then followed a long pause when not a sound came out through the closed doors of the hall. It seemed the rehearsal was over and I felt disappointed. I was angry at myself for not arriving earlier and then spending too much time in the cloakroom. I missed the best part of the rehearsal when Vitas was singing "exclusive" things!

Suddenly I heard familiar notes from the intro part of "Lie Ciocarlie". Wow!!! I could hardly believe my ears. What a tremendous luck! The next moment I dashed to the entrance door, nearly pressed myself against it and tuned up my ears to absorb every sound of this heavenly voice. Vitas was playing with the mike during his singing as always. He performed the whole song from beginning to end (unlike in Romania where he sang only part of it both at the rehearsal and at the concert). His voice sounded fantastically, incredibly powerful. It seemed it was about to break down the walls of the building where it was encaged like in prison, where there was not enough space for it. It needed open air, vast expanses of land and a high blue sky where it would meet no obstacles on its way. It would float on the wings of a wind reaching out to the most distant corners of the world. I was listening in complete awe, amazed at the power of this voice.

No matter how well I am aware of the vocal abilities of Vitas and the fact that his voice has been constantly progressing over the last years, every time I hear him singing live I feel shocked and blown away. I wonder if I will ever stop being stunned. It seems there is no limit to his growth, conquering new heights, mastering new techniques, making further steps on the way to absolute perfection. Can his voice become more perfect than it is? Yes, it surely can!:) Every time it seems he has reached the ultimate maximum, he proves there is still a long way to go.

While enjoying "Lie Ciocarlie", I kept watching the other people walking to and fro in the foyer. I was a bit puzzled since none of them fainted at the sound of Vitas' voice, which to my mind would have been a natural reaction if you heard him singing this song for the first time in your life.:) However, Russian people are too spoilt, they have got used to taking Vitas' talent for granted, as something quite ordinary. They hardly realize his uniqueness. Russians do not value what they possess until they lose it.

Unfortunately "Lie Ciocarlie" was the last song of the rehearsal. About 20 minutes later the closed doors were opened and the public began to fill up the concert hall and take their seats. Soon the house was full. The people were waiting impatiently for the artist and even made a few attempts to call him out with applause. Nevertheless, the concert started with a 15 minutes' delay which is a common thing for Russia.

The lights went out, the intro part began playing. The curtain was drawn back in darkness. When the lights turned on again and lit up the stage, I was about to exclaim in astonishment. The scene I saw was not what I expected to see. Vitas stood in the middle of the stage with the two ladies from the duet "Vibration" (Vibratsiya) . They were playing the violins just the way they do it in the musical video "Lucia di Lammermoor". Wow, what an awesome suprise! Even taken aback as I was, my mind worked quickly and prompted me to shoot this unique scene. I grasped my photo camera and pointed it at the stage. Pressed the record button but... just a few moments later a local security guard rushed to me and ordered to remove the camera. I had to obey with a heavy heart. Such a pity I was not allowed to film! The rules had never been so strict before. Last time I filmed 3 songs and no one attempted to stop me. Unable to use my camera, I had no other way out but try to imprint every moment of this brilliant performance on my memory

I am afraid I can hardly find any words suitable to convey the atmosphere of the concert in the most accurate way. You should have been sitting by my side to clearly understand what I mean.:) Vitas was bursting with energy, he was generously giving it away to every person in the audience. I could sense this energy in the air, it was almost palpable - pouring down from the stage, lighting up your soul, filling up your essence... It was in such a striking contrast to what we observed in November 2007, when Vitas was extremely sick and had no energy to share with the audience. Back then he could hardly find enough supply to sustain himself in the working condition. My heart was bleeding to see him so weak and fragile. As for now, I was happy to watch him making adorable faces, doing all his cute movements, gestures, dances and tricks...:) I noticed a great deal of new ones. When he was not doing any "particular" gestures or movements, he would simply jump up on the spot now and then (like, for intsance, in the song "Smile") as if it was beyond his power to stand still. The energy boiling within needed an outlet.

At the beginning of the "Opera Song" (Opernaya) Vitas turned to the right and bent backward at an angle of 45'. He started singing in this awkward position. Needless to say his voice sounded perfect as always. We have already had many chances to make sure that Vitas can easily sing in any pose: bending forward at an angle of 90', standing on one foot, standing on his head with the body up in the air, making an arabesque or making a "bridge". The position of his chest and lungs doesn't matter, it never affects the quality and power of his voice.

In "Komarovo" Vitas was making odd wavy gestures with his hands which probably symbolized sea waves. I cannot explain what was so funny about them but the spectators were laughing heartily throughout the whole song. Vitas took a long walk into the audience, he didn't miss a single passage-way, reaching every corner of the hall and giving a chance to sing to half a dozen people. The "soloists" received enormous support from the rest of the audience, many people joined in the singing. I should say that although I would rather not hear "Komarovo" in Vitas' concerts at all (since I rank it very low in my personal rating of Vitas' songs), this time I enjoyed it a lot. The way it was usually performed in the concerts had always seemed too boring to me. Now the song was practically "endless", still I found it very amusing. Probably due to all those funny tricks and an overall sunny, happy, homely atmosphere in the concert hall.

The number with two girls from the audience was one of the "hits" in this show. The girls were a bit nervous and gave muddled answers. Vitas said "hello" addressing the elder girl. She blurted out "Dasha" hurrying to tell her name though she was not yet asked to. The audience laughed. Then followed a question about the girl's age. She answered: "Seven". Then, when Vitas was ready to ask the other girl, the first one suddenly realized her mistake and corrected herself: "No, I am nine". Everyone laughed again. Vitas asked the younger girl about her age, she replied: "I am five". Vitas momentarily played up to them: "Oh, it means eight". The audience was roaring with laughter. The performance of Vitas with the two girls caused a storm of applause. Afterwards the girls were left on the stage to sing their favourite song and it turned out to be "Winter". The major part of the public were singing along, the girls also did a good job. A wonderful performance in line with the whole show.

When Vitas was singing "The Bird of Happiness", a funny thing happened. Part of the audience decided it was the final song of the show, they stood up and headed for the exits. When I heard a strange noise and turned back to see what was going on (I was in the 3d row), I gasped with astonishment. I saw a few groups of people standing in the back rows and many more crowding in the central passage between the 7th and the 8th rows. All of them were about to leave the hall and rush down the stairs to the cloakroom. The scene made me feel like I was going nuts. I had never seen anything like this at the concerts of Vitas or any other singer. I imagine what a shock it must have been to Vitas. He risked ending the concert in the empty hall, with no one to sing for.:) I can think of only one reason to explain the behaviour of my fellow-citizens. The song was being performed by Vitas with so much emotion, zeal and enthusiasm, that they were convinced it was the climax of the show, the final song before the curtain fall. They had no idea there were two more songs to follow because it was clearly their first time at a Vitas' concert.

"Friendship" was a super hit as well. The "grandpa" impersonated by Vitas was cheerful, naughty, amusing and very-very cool. He was making such cute faces that no one could keep from laughing.

"Opera 2" looked pretty much a corrida show. Vitas took off his read-and-black scarf and was waving it like a toreador. While singing, he was trying various ways of folding the scarf to bring it to a shape most suitable for his purpose. Focused on this process, he sometimes failed to move the mike to his lips at the right moment, thus some words and high-pitch parts were left out inadvertently during the singing. Nevertheless, it didn't spoil the overall impression. I had never seen such a passionate "Opera 2" before. The public screamed and clapped and some brave persons even tried to sing along the high notes. It was a powerful finale worthy of the whole concert which was FANTASTIC, BRILLIANT, AMAZING, UNFORGETTABLE.

When I went out into the street, it was still snowing, the weather had not improved a single bit. But it didn't matter anything. I was walking on clouds. My soul was singing and dancing, shining with ABSOLUTE HAPPINESS.

(Photos selection : Joey)

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