Whitney In Dubai...
[From Khaleej Times]
HOUSTON HAS CROWD SPELLBOUND
BY MARTIN WOODTLI
Whitney Houston really came to Dubai, contrary to all the rumours that were
floated in the days prior to the concert. A football field sized area of the
lawn of the country club was fenced off and filled with dinner tables and
some 300 yards away from the stage was a grandstand almost ...
completely filled with people waving and shouting from the distance. 'We
love you' Whitney, 'I love you back' was her expression of gratitude in
response to the high running emotions of the audience.
Whitney was backed up by a rhythmically precise, powerful, remarkably
disciplined and restrained group of three keyboarders, two percussionists, a
bass and guitar and the main asset of the band namely three vocalists. It
was of course a modern day variation of the Afro-American church gospel
group, and the emphasis was now as then on voice, rhythm and bass.
That's all it takes plus that little extra feel for the harmonies, the blue
notes and the special jive and drive to improvise. That was without a doubt
her biggest asset, her ability to vary on her songs, to bring something to
the audience that was played only once and will never be heard again. She
chose to perform mostly her funkier and jazzier songs of her later more
contemporary albums, which was a pleasure to listen to. But to her surprise
her older hit How do I know from the eighties struck like a thunderbolt into
the audience that decided to get up from the their dinner tables clap hands
and boogie to the beat.
"I was 21, when that came out, I'm 20 now, thank you Dubai," she said.
Having said all these truly nice things there was an Orwellian slant to the
wonderful world of the girl from Newark, New Jersey born into a musical
family with mother Cissy Houston being an R&B singer, godmother Arethra
Franklin and cousin Dionne Warwick and having become today's badly needed
ambassador from the land of the free to the hearts and minds of a global
There was little freedom, peace and love to be felt on the ground.
The security would not allow any cameras, not even the Press using no flash,
shots only during the first song and so on.
18 FEBRUARY 2004