The Akon Disaster — UPDATED

A couple weeks back I wondered why Iron Maiden wouldn’t come to  Cairo .   Probably for the same reason that the Akon Concert in Cairo was a disaster.   Unless a Western-style concert culture exists, acts like this are hard to make work in places like Egypt.  From Sandmonkey:

So, here I am, preparing for my trip back to Cairo, when people start sending me messages and e-mails about The Akon concert in the Cairo Opera. Now, I didn’t know he was singing in Cairo to begin with, let alone fathom the concept of whose bright idea was it that this man should be allowed to sing in the Egyptian Opera..but whatever. My people are silly, and they do irrational shit like allow Akon into the Opera House. Anyway..

The news is however that the concert was a very rare breed of disaster, which makes my heart just sing a little bit. The man was slated to show up at 9 M, but showed up at 1 am instead; The people who paid 1000 LE per VIP ticket ended up being sent to the Hospital because the VIP Lounge collapsed before the show even begun; He shows up finally all drunk, sings for half an hour, and then attempts to do some crowd surfing(very bad idea), and then he starts calling for help in his mic because the crowd apparently kidnaps him and take him all the way to the parking lot and then put him on a car, which he ends up destroying and then ends the concert… Yeah… Sounds like a great time.

UPDATE: Inanities has a hilarious, must-read  account of the concert, including pictures of the madness.  Somebody get whoever Inanities is a job at the New York Times…..

17 Responses

  1. I was there, and i was in the VIP area, was one of the people who fell down. However I can handle myself, around me though, there were probably over a dozen of kids under the age of 10 who also fell down, all the cushions and older people fell on them. Some kids were sent to the hospital, some older people too! Many of the people who were included left, I stayed, and waited until 12:30 for him to come on. By the way, it wasnt one VIP area, it was both, there were areas on both sides, which both collapsed due to this egyptian DJ shouting “JUMP JUMP JUMP JUMP”…
    Excuses were being brought up by the lame (only-english) radio station in cairo, Nile FM, about him being stuck in traffic, while just before that, all his bodyguards were jumping on the stage to see if it was safe enough for him.
    The Nile FM people were wasting everyone’s time, until some lebanese singer sang two short songs.
    It was funny to see the opening ceremony with classical music, special effects, and fire. When after that nothing happened for 15 minutes.
    Also what went wrong was him trying to get to from the front row to the back one, where he was dragged down and harrassed. Some people took his microfone and started talking in it for a while.
    Also, the camera stand in front 10 meters in front of the stage broke down due to all the chaos of Akon trying to “create a bridge of unity” for him to pass over.
    People were able to get on the stage within seconds, and many times they were just violently pushed off, thrown back in, or taken backstage where nobody knows what happened to them.

    Him singing his songs was good, but before hand was crazy, bad singers, dj’s and dancers (who didn’t know their moves).

    The organizers were rude, violent, and did whatever they wanted. I saw some people get arrested for trying to break in.
    There was a fight which Akon didn’t like and he stated: “No one can get more attention then me, even a fight” or something like that.

    Anyways his performance was mostly good, but the organization was the worst ever!

    P.S. I’m from Holland, live in Cairo. Been to many concerts and quite a few of rapper’s concerts and this was the worst one…

  2. wow. thanks for sharing. sorry to hear u had a bad time. i guess u have a good story to share though

  3. you have to read inanities’ hilarious account of the ‘akunt’ gig!

  4. i was in the 1000 vip thing haveing fun with my friends and my cousin is 7 years old and he likes akon so he was so exited suddenly i find a hole couch disappereing under the ground people running and screaming and i find the platform gowing down my cousin started crying and lots of people were sent to the hospital.Thank god nothing happened to us. but my 7 year old cousin now has a fear of concerts and he was paniced you could almost hear his heart beates speeding after each other. this boy swore that he wont go to concerts again. he was destroyed from the inside.

  5. Omar,
    Thanks for sharing your experience. Sounds like a wild time and Im glad your ok . I hope your lcousin recovers from his trauma.
    Rob

  6. Despite the fact that I actually enjoyed the concert, I couldn’t help but laugh at these comments.
    I suppose everything mentioned above is true, although I left just as Akon was crowdsurfing on his ‘bridge of unity’, so I never got to see him get ‘kidnapped’ and taken to the parking lot etc etc…
    Still though, i think it all depends on whether you like Akon or not. I’m thinking those who didn’t enjoy the concert so much and who call it a disaster arent his biggest fans, which brings me to the question of why go in the first place?
    Personally, I love the guy. I love his songs and I loved his performance despite all the crap…
    and when i say crap, i mean i was in the 500 L.E ticket area and saw the whole platform collapsing incident, and afterwards was squashed/pushed/shoved/kicked/touched to no end due to the VIP’s standing in the 500 L.E area becoz they no longer had a platform to stand on. I also include the fact that the DJ’s were lame, the dancers were FUGLY, the bodyguards were way way too agressive and that I had to stand for 5 hours straight before I could finally see what I’d paid money for. I even include the fact that Akon was late into that crap, although I honestly didn’t expect him to show before midnight. Seriously people, it doesn’t matter that he’s not Egyptian, we’re still in Egypt. When do concerts in Egypt ever start on time?

    Still though… my point is, ask anyone who likes Akon, they’ll agree with you that there were alot of problems in the concert, but they’ll also tell you it was one of the best nights ever. Definitely NOT a disaster. And think about it, there’s no point in asking someone who DOESN’T like Akon, right?

  7. Dude that’s a VERY big lie… that’s not how it happened AT ALL. I was at the concert. Akon wasn’t calling for help or wasn’t kidnapped either. He was doing something called the freedom bridge. It’s when everyone puts their hands up and he crawls on top of everyone. It was cool. Then he fell and everyone went to him. I was one of em… I dived on him to hug him ahahahaha. i dunno if they got it on camera or not though… Anyway he got up after his bodyguards came and then they stood on a car to get a break from the fans. Nothing that serious though. As for the vip place… only a part of it fell and only like 5 people got injured.. one of em was bleeding from the neck and there was a kid who was knocked unconscious and i don’t know about the rest though. Pretty weird shit though… and he didn’t arrive at 1 he arrived at like 11:30 i think it was. Meh you know people… they ALWAYS exaggerate things. Akon’s concert was a blast though… And he wasn’t drunk… I have no idea what type of idiots spread gay rumors like these….Oh and btw the whole “no1 gets more attention that me” thing was a joke.. he said that while jumping on top of em so he can distract em from fighting. It was a veryyyy fun concert though… despite the fact that i got trampled and nearly died…. I can’t wait till he comes back baby!!!Oh and one more thing… It was hilarious how people were jumping on stage… hahahaha but the best part is that Akon defended his fans and was like “HE BE EASY ON MY PEOPLE MAN” when the guard was very aggressive and pushed some guy off the stage violently.Oh AND IM VERRYYYYYY sorry to spam like this lol but the thing is that the comment about them saying he was stuck in traffic and then his bodyguards checking if it was safe or not for him to get on stage… that’s wasn’t really true. Those guards weren’t Akon’s personal bodyguards… they were the ones issued for the concert which means that they weren’t the ones who were with Akon while he was going to the concert. Akon really was stuck in traffic.

  8. I was at the concert too. It was fun but i left at about 2 cuz my legs were killing me after standing up for about 7 hours. The concert could have been much more fun if it was more organised by pros’ rather than amateurs!!! By the way i was wearing a grey top and was standing at the front of the 250 area.

  9. That is not true the Concert was amazing .. Akon’s Preformance was outstanding .. prob. One of the most exciting concerts i have ever been to in egypt ,, The VIP area mistake was the organisers fault ,, Hey what do u know ..?? Welcome to EGYPT ??? The satge diving was a bad idea .. but he made the crowd happy and every single one in the party had a chance to see him and i dont think that any Singer in this world would do what he did it was OUTSTANDINGG !! .. and plz for the ones who didnt go to the concert dont share what you HEARD cause were not intrested ..

  10. Ur soooo right dude !!!!:):):):):)

  11. This is absolutely REDICULOUS!!! I was at the AKON concert in the 250LE area by the red bull stand! The concert was disgraceful, badly organised not to mention the rest!

    Just getting into the concert was a disaster in itself. After what has happened in Cairo recently did no one even stop to think for a moment about health and safety? You had to fight your way through a tiny opening with a metal detector because people were pushing and shoving from every direction and body guards were just grabbing whoever and shoving them through the hole. Once you were in you were dammed if you needed to leave. There was no exit!!! What if there was an emergency? Then what were you supposed to do.

    That was only the begining it. I arrived at the concert at 8:30pm (When i bought the tickets the guy selling them admitted he would probably be late so don’t bother arriving early – guaranteed by 9:30 MAX he will be there. REALLY?????) Anyway we made our way over to the redbull tent had a drink and waited until there was panic from the VIP stand on the right. Woman and children were jumping from a hieght of 4meters, people crying, security guards grabbing and pushing people, people running, tables and chairs being pushed. Then ambulances and panic. What the hell was going on???? I happened to be standing next to some Egyptian kid who decided it would be funny to should some very inapropriate comments after the recent events in the city and cause even more panic. Was this really neccessary?

    Everything seemed to calm down after this and the DJ started pumping out some tunes, most of which repeated and LAME. Then some dancers came on (who by the way could not dance) then exactly the same thing happened to the VIP stand on the left of the stage. Once again there was panic. Slightly more controlled this time but still very worrying. I mean you pay more money to have better place at the concert or more confort (Everyone knows what concerts are like) But to pay all that money (Which in Egypt only the advantaged people are lucky to spare and most people dream of) to fall through or injure yourself. This is disgusting! During this time all you saw was security running from all over the place and there was no explanation of what was going on. The music had stopped for a while by this point and people were panicking, those who weren’t were bored, starting fights, doing stuff they really shouldn’t, and the rest sitting quietly just waiting.

    Shortly after this when everything had died down and music had started again we made our way back towards the crowd and stood on the step by the camera crew where we had a good view of the stage and were dancing and generally having a good time before the next episode happened in this series of events. i was violently pushed of the step sprained my anckle and nearly trampled as the barrier betweent the 150LE & 250LE broke and this wave of hundreds maybe thousands of people pushed their way as much as they could to the front of the stage. Even some security were pushed to the floor as they could not control this uncivillised crowd. So by this point we had the 150LE tickets, 250LE, 500LE, 750LE & 1000LE ticket holder all pushed together. This really was some lame excuse for a concert so we decided to leave. I was in pain, the people i was with really NOT impressed and no one even knew if AKON really was coming or not.

    We made our way to the exit where we were told to come back in a bit as they were not letting anyone out as too many people were trying to get in. WHAT? SERIOUSLY?? Organisation people. Is there no separate exit to entrance?? So we waited patiently. Then the next even happened. The lame excuse of presenters of “Egypt’s No.1 music station Nile FM” announced AKON will be late because he is stuck in traffic. “But we promise in 5mins he will be on” the crowed started shouting BULLSHIT! It was bullshit as 20 minutes later he still did not appear even after they decided to do his grand entrance of fireworks and displays on stage for him only not to appear and bring out a woman called Melissa who nobody knew to sing 2 really (I have no words for this songs). We finally made our way out of the opera house at 12:30 and AKON was still a NO SHOW! So those of you saying he was there at 11:30, NO he REALLY wasn’t!!!

    As for the traffic… I live in Heliopolis, my driver was able to come pick me up with no problems, just around the opera house which took him about 20mins to get to the entrance from the Gezira Club. NOT 4 HOURS!!!!! and to get back to Heliopolis took us a max of 35 mins. We saw no traffic on the way.

    I’m disgusted with the organisation of this event and those organisers should be ashamed of themselves. Will be ever really find out what really happened at the event?

    I’m British and have been to many many concert in my life at much larger venues with many more people and with probably the same amount of security but this was truly unacceptable. It was uncontrolled with people who very obviously were not trained to do this type of event. Had the work risk assessment ever crossed anyone’s mind???

    If a similar event like this is planned for the future i think the organisers should seriously consider investing more money and hiering an external PROFFESSIONAL company from abroad perhaps with experience to do the security and the event as this one was a complete and utter shambles and a night mare.

    Even though i did not get to see AKON i am also disgusted by the comments i have read about his performance and all that waiting and money for just a 20min performance??? DISGUSTING!!!

    I would just like to say that i do like AKON and that i am a fan of his (even at my age) before i am accused of various things that other people are being accused of. This does not excuse his behaviour and and the organisation of the concert.

    I think i have said enough!!!

  12. I think Rob will agree with me here when you compare the comments between the 5awagayaa and the Egyptians: the former are used to well organized concerts, the latter are not. I have heard similar horror stories when Shakira came to town (if you thought Akon needed security, you can imagine how much security those not-lying hips needed). If you go to a concert in Cairo, you should expect stupidity and delays. You expect when you take a cab anywhere to visit friends. Why is Akon somehow different? Traffic in Cairo parts for no one . . . except Mubarak.

  13. First off Zach and I want to thank all of our listeners and the Akon concert attendees who made it to the Cairo Opera house to see the show. It is not everyday that an act like Akon comes to Cairo and we initially were excited to be a part of it.
    It has been brought to my attention that myself and Zach are taking some heat for the lack of organization and in part for the disasters that occured during the show.
    As volunteers, we can assure you that the logistics of the concert were out of our hands as were any decisions or planning made on site.
    Zach and I wanted to be part of this event so we could meet and see all your smiling beautfiul faces…lol
    I have been in radio a long time and meeting listeners is one of the most fulfilling parts of my job under normal circumstances.
    We are truly sorry for anyone who was hurt at the Akon concert, we did not even know what happened with the VIP area until we went backstage after announcements and someone texted me to tell me.
    As far as the line-up was concerned our legs and feet were just as tired as everyone’s by the time Akon appeared.
    All we can say for sure is that DJ Feedo is one of the classiest and most professional people we have ever had a chance to work with and we want to thank him for representing and holding it down the way he did.
    To be honest Zach and I were only supposed to introduce the acts and not be time killers. We are not claiming to be stand up comics, back-up dancers, magicians, or puppet masters. We are just two people who happen to have a radio show on 104.2 NILE FM that we love, and for that we are thankful.
    This being said, we want to thank the crowd for how well we received (even with the chants of “bullshit”,”bullshit”,”bullshit”) when we announced what we were told was holding Akon up. We were with you on the chant as we felt we were part of the crowd and not event staff.
    So thank you again for maintaining your composure, class, and Egyptian style we have come to love! BTW, Ian Slipp wants his Oakland A’s hat back….If whoever has it could kindly return it to him, he would appreciate it.

    Thank you again Cairo for your support!

    Zach and Erin
    “The Evening Session”
    104.2 NILE FM

  14. I was there but why everybody blames Akon for the disasters of the organizators? Everywhereelse in the world they make stages out of steel not wood!

    Superstars come to the stage late and he was there at 12:20 not 1am.

    His performance was just wonderful. He is great on the stage. His real fans enjoyed it truely and I was one of them. I still hope that there would be better organized concerts taking place in Cairo. I am sure Akon himself thought this was a messy organization and was not happy. If you want more concerts like this in Cairo try to be positive and see what can be improved instead of destroyed…

  15. lol. to think iwas begging my mom for this concert, all the way from alex! ezz is sooo dead, nour, if you read this, kill him with me.

  16. thats all a lie :S it was awesome!!

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