I'm a dreamer but I'm not the only one
But we love to have fun
(Dreamer by K'naan)
But we love to have fun
(Dreamer by K'naan)
Well, I was wondering what I would think of my upcoming concerts after seeing what is the spectacle of U2.
It didn't take long to find out since I went to see K'naan last night at The Phoenix in Toronto.
In case you're not aware of K'naan, he is a Somali-Canadian rapper who was born in Somalia but left in 1991 immigrating to Toronto (via New York).
There are some hard to believe facts on wikipedia about his life:
- As the civil war continued and the situation in Somalia continued to deteriorate, K'naan's mother petitioned the United States embassy for an exit visa. In 1991, on the last day the US embassy remained open as the government of Mohamed Siad Barre collapsed their visa was approved, and they boarded the last commercial flight out of the country.
- Despite speaking no English, the young K'naan taught himself hip hop and rap diction, copying the lyrics and style phonetically. He then also began rapping.
- K'naan became a friend and associate of Canadian promoter, Sol Guy, who helped him secure a speaking engagement before the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in 1999, where K'naan performed a spoken word piece criticizing the UN for its failed aid missions to Somalia.
Although he won the 2006 Juno Award for Best Rap Recording, the first time I heard (or noticed) a K'naan song was when I saw this video last winter/spring:
This video spoke to me as I love dreaming (as you know if you have read this blog before) and always thought I was a dreamer going back to my childhood.
Although I wouldn't consider myself a K'naan fan per se...there are half a dozen songs that I love on his latest album. So with my husband wanting to see the concert, I went along.
In contrast to our 6:30 arrival for U2 when we walked right in (doors opened at 5), we arrived at 10:15pm to a huge lineup. Doors had opened at 9, so we were pretty surprised by the lineup...not sure if everyone arrived at 10 to cause it, but from a past experience at this venue, it takes forever to enter and it's not unusual for people to miss the opening band because they're in the queue.
K'naan took to the stage to much appreciation. The crowd seemed a lot louder and enthusiastic than for U2. Is this because by 11pm, people have been drinking for a few hours and the smaller club gives a more contagious excitement? U2's concert was also over two hours long, so perhaps concert-goers were pacing themselves...because there was definitely a lot of jumping and cheering for U2 as well.
I imagine that I am not a typical K'naan fan as I waited for my two favourite songs, only to see him leave the stage after the encore without playing them.
Are my two favourite songs (Dreamer and People Like Me) not as popular or not live-friendly?
There was quite an energy to the show (which may explain why People Like Me wasn't played which is more mellow sounding)...although he did play some quieter songs to his and my annoyance that some people go to concerts to chat rather than listen to the music. At one point when he was singing a more serious quiet song (Somalia if I recall correctly), he actually paused and asked them to "please shut the @S&# up"...to the cheers of the crowd who were listening...but I think the people who were chatting weren't listening...(mostly on the balcony I think)...but it's not unusual...there are always people chatting so if you sing quieter songs in standing room venues especially...you will hear the chatting which is unfortunate.
Here is another of my favourite songs that I recorded last night (I wish I had remembered to add some of its lyrics to my mother's day lyrics about mothers):
The other popular song that got quite a reaction was the song he performed in Ottawa at the Canada Day celebration entitled "Wavin' Flag". It's quite a long video but it really showcases the passion in the crowd.
K'naan is definitely a performer. He loves to be on stage and sharing his opinions that he's not shy to share...hmmm...kind of like Bono. So there are similarities between the two concerts with them both addressing current world situations. At both concerts, viewing was sometimes limited because of people having their arms up in the air (great atmosphere). The atmosphere was also enhanced by both crowds singing loudly to many of the songs. The main difference being in the scale and spectacle that U2 had...but the passion felt by the concert goers was great for both.