On Monday the 18th of September, an event that has been months in the making finally became a reality with the backdrop of the Temple of Zeus in the scenic and historic Roman city of Jerash.
Andrea Bocelli’s performance both perpetuated Jordanians’ belief in his angelic voice and elevated voices of local artists like Dima Bawab into the international scene.
Accompanied by 160 musicians and vocalists including the Jordanian National Orchestra and the Fountain of Love Choir, an all-Jordanian Choir with 61 members, Bocelli performed many of his greatest hits including “Time to Say Goodbye,” “La donna è mobile” and one of Elvis’s greatest hits, “Falling in Love with You.”
With four encores at the end of the concert, Bocelli did not fail to impress the audience, whose reception of the performance reached near-ecstatic heights.
However, the concert was surrounded by its share of controversy, with critics citing its unaffordability and the elitist nature of the event. Tickets for the concert ranged from 100 JDs in the C section to 500 JDs in the VIP section. In a country in the middle of a refugee crisis, with an especially low GDP per capita, many of the tickets sold were marginally higher than the national monthly minimum wage.
Many Jordanians expressed their dismay with the event on social media, with complaints against the inaccessibility of the concert to the majority of the country’s population.
Jordan’s concert scene has been evolving over the past couple of years with many international artists like Enrique and Julio Iglesias taking the stage in both modern concert venues in Amman and historical concert venues such as the Roman Amphitheater in Downtown Amman and Jerash. Friends of Jordan Festivals and the Jerash Music Festival are standing at the forefront of this movement that is putting the Kingdom on the world concert map.