End of the Road, Heading Home

fullsizerender-3The last shows I can talk about for April were extraordinary.
One was in Lebanon, on which my Black Howl team hopped: the Beirut Madinati fundraising concert. That group was different, fighting for what was right, gave a lot of hope for Lebanese people, inspired change. So you could imagine how honored I was when they called me to get Black Howl on board. I wish I had been in Beirut for that, but this was the first project where I tested my team. Let’s say I was proud all the way from the US.
The second was in NY, and I got to be on board of the production team, with Boschi Events, delivering the We Are Family Foundation‘s gala dinner, honoring U2’s Bono and President Jimmy Carter.

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I also had the chance to gather a few bands for a private dinner. Make sure you check out A Case For Brooklyn.

May was about relaxing, saying goodbye to NC, FL and NY, having a pit stop in London, embracing friends that live around the world…

I was fortunate enough to join Jason to learn how to prepare the gear for a tour. Jason is Two Door Cinema Club‘s current stage and backline manager, and when I’m around, he always has me on board, teaching me a lot of things we don’t have the chance to learn in Lebanon.

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The last night to my long trip was more than perfect: a friend I met on Byblos, another roadie, called up and told me he had an extra ticket to Radiohead’s sold out show and the after party. So I tagged along Robbie Williams’ and Muse’s roadies and went to see one of the best concerts I’ve seen. Maybe Radiohead being my favorite band had a lot to play in that.

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The summer in Lebanon was near, and that meant tackling our festive seasons with the numerous concerts coming up and being fully active again.

The first 4 months of 2016 were about travel, but it also was about therapy, getting lost in order to find myself, discover and learn new things. As I was settling back in Beirut, I noticed I didn’t like sticking to my old routine of going out to the same places every day and night. Beirut could have that toll on you, as it’s small and you all know the same people, who eventually hang out in the same places. Waiting for big work to kick in, I tried to embrace daylight rather than nightlife, I met new people, I put a stop to daily bars and dinners… I visited places in Lebanon I hadn’t been to in a long time, I camped more, giving nature the time I always thought it deserved. More importantly, I crossed off a bucket list point, and a fear I wanted to get over: Climbing.

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And as I can never stay away from work, I had been preparing a concert in Lebanon with my team, while I was abroad: Adonis at the Beirut Spring Festival. It was sort of relaxing to have a team I could count on, and just land in and see them set up and get things done to deliver a good show.

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2014 Ended with Sara, a Tour and Some Sketching

Last day of 2014, summing it up with some pretty awesome projects:

Mashrou’ Leila‘s tour added a last and additional date in Napoli. The people were nice, the hotel was genuinely beautiful, Napoli was unique and hardcore, we even got a day to visit Rome at the very beginning. I would recommend anyone who visits Napoli to go try Pizzeria de Michele: Small place, big line and an amazing pizza!

The band had a lecture at the university of Napoli, on the morning of the concert. I think it was interesting for the students to know a bit more about how music in the middle east is different from Europe and America, especially the impact it can have. The room was full, questions were asked and opinions were discussed.

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The concert was organized by the municipality in Plazza del Gesu (if I’m not mistaking) and seeing people get closer to the stage, get off of their cafe chairs and rounding up to enjoy the music was very cool to witness. The boys gave the closing concert for the Cultural Forum of Napoli.

Back in Lebanon, I had to finalize some deals and details with the 4 a Cause team and sponsors to make Sara Khatib’s concert happen. We had a few bumps on the road, but I think her friends and family enjoyed the event. It was too emotional for some, but hey, we were there to celebrate her life, through music, film and pictures.

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Apart from that, I’ve been sketching up on the road while on tour, but also took a decision to prepare something good, blowing up colors on canvas. Let’s see where this goes. Especially that a gallery contacted me to see if they could be a fit for my work. Colors will splash.

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And So It Goes On

Coming back from Paris straight to work. Taking back the Byblos Festival rhythm.
We welcomed back Yanni and his crew this year. Awesome people to work with. Learned a lot from them this year as I did last year.
The concert was amazing as expected.

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Then Massive Attack dropped in. Wow. The concert was mind blowing, maybe a bit more on a personal note. The messages, music, involvement of the artist…

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The crew was also superb. Took the load out a step further organizing the boxes in the truck, because of a massive load of equipment for that gig. The interns learned a lot too, on stage and in the pit with the crowd.
Even with a few setbacks, we managed to pull it off. The band was down to earth, and even opened up the backstage to some fans, taking pictures, giving autographs and lots of memories to be shared down the line. They opened up their backstage area to the volunteers of the palestinian camps which they visited the day before.

I have been looking at options to get out of Lebanon and explore more, as the situation here doesn’t help the industry and puts out a lot of limits on our jobs.

Next up tonight: Epica.

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But a small whisper on the side… a new resolution I have to make sure I keep: draw more.
Always (almost) did it for myself, and that should return.

To Remember By, Yanni & Nightwish

With Yanni, I got offered Charlie Adam’s drumsticks.

After that, the work was just kicking in smoothly… The festival is easy, as it is prepared before hand and has been done so many years that the people around know what they’re doing.

Just making sure everyone is on schedule and everyone is doing their jobs and happy is a piece of cake on this one.
You get to enjoy meeting new people a bit more than the other usual jobs.
Nightwish were a funny, nice, chilled bunch…

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Got a little gift from the crew to add to my Pic collection started out this year. Usual gift they leave behind to the people working the gigs.

Coming up next… Lana Del Rey. Met with her personal security yesterday. Always nice to see a smiling face comforted by what you’re telling them as soon as they arrive. This is gonna be grand.