Athens 2008

The last days of a Farewell World Tour

July 23 and 24 - Odeon of Herodes Atticus

For one year, July 23, 2008 circulated as being the date of the ultimate concert of the farewell tour. As soon as it was officialized, several fans made arrangements to attend it. I was concerned about my two-month trip in Germany planned for a long time. Therefore, it was not in my plans to attend. But as the big day approached, a friend suggested and encouraged me to consider going to Athens. Even the friends that I was going to visit in Germany were flying to Athens. Little by little, I made up my mind and I made the necessary steps. I was surely not the only one because the tickets were sold out within a day and an additional performance had to be added. So I could meet up with my friends, meet new fans, see the concerts and visit a bit of Athens.

Right upon my arrival, I am alerted that the concert will not begin on time. It seems that it is always like that in Greece. However, the evening of the concert, they start to admit people one hour before. But even minutes before the time the concert was supposed to begin, there were still many audience members missing. During this time, I admire the theatre and I observe the spectators. The marble enclosure is impressive and condensed: not very large in surface but in height. The marked slope has an advantage; it allows for a good view from everywhere. I knew that the cushions were numbered, but I did not expect that it be so narrow. I notice the presence of five cameras (one on the stage, one rolling in front of the stage and three in the steps). Contrary to 1984, there are no stairs from the stage. On each side, there are two giant screens.

It is 9 pm. The Prime Minister Karamanlís arrives escorted by photographers. He takes his seat in the front row, beside several great personalities and Nana’s friends. People nevertheless were rather punctual because the amphitheatre is almost filled. In less than ten minutes, begins the projection of a video montage on the screens. Nana’s journey unfolds before our eyes, since the Conservatory of Athens to Berlin where she obtained her first golden record, to New York where she recorded her first album and to London for her participation at the Eurovision Song Contest and the animation of her TV series. Several dates come to point some concerts that marked her career. And there are images of her collaboration with UNICEF and the European Parliament. During these seven intense minutes, we can feel all the respect and the pride that Greek people have for their best ambassadress for a half-century.

The video is ending with the image of the Parthenon with the mention "Athens 2008". The great moment has arrived. The applause breaks out from everywhere and strident cries cross the hall. They announce that the evening will be moving, that an acme will undoubtedly be reached. In parallel, the orchestral music takes over delicately. A red silhouette walks from the bottom of the stage. The applause gains in intensity. The spectators get up to welcome her. Nana greets and thanks the 5,000 Athenians and tourists who came to see her. She chooses to open the evening with "Athina" in homage to the city and its citizens. After the second song, Nana underlines the presence of the Greek Prime Minister and several political personalities. There are the mayors of the towns of Athens, Nicosia, Berlin, Luxembourg and of Paris as well as a dozen ambassadors. All of them went to the town hall that morning to see Nana being decorated with an honor medal. Let us notice that several artists are also present: Lara Fabian, Sakis Rouvas, Mario Frangoulis, Agnes Baltsa, Maria Farantouri, Peggy Zina and Georges Perris. We can imagine the emotion she feels and how it must be impressive to sing in her city, in front of all these personalities and to be filmed. But the fervour of the audience does not weaken. They clap hands to compliment the rhythm in "Ela pare mou ti lipi" and "Tora pou pas stin xenitia"  which deserve cordial applause to her.

Little by little, she lets herself carry by the rhythm of the folklore "Aïde to malono", shows her womanly sensitivity through the loving lament "Amapola", launches out into works which require more interpretation like "Mia fora ki enan kairo" or more dynamism like "Koris filin", or vibrations like "Enas mythos" which did not fail to give me goosebumps. I also let myself be taken by her song "To pedi me to tambourlo", worthy of a tragedienne. I am enraptured. When Nana speaks, I do not always understand. Fortunately, the usherette by my side speaks an impeccable French. She knows that I write a report and she nicely translates the essential for me. I am fulfilled. The presentation is classical, the repertory almost exclusively Greek and the setting exceptional. During the first part, Nana is dressed with a red tunic and in the second part with a white tunic. As in the concerts of the last years, she remains a long moment sitting on a stool with her guitarist by her side and she sings her great hits. All the evening, the musicians are dressed in black (trousers and jacket) and in white (shirt and bow). Luciano sits on her right. He plays classical piano and synthetizer. Behind, Philippe plays various instruments and Pili, bass. On her left, Yannick plays guitar and bouzouki, Lucien, the newest, guitar, and behind, Christophe, drums.

I had the opportunity to talk with Greek people during the interval to know what Nana Mouskouri represents for them and that holds in two words: SENTIMENTAL UNION. She is the first singer who represented Greece of easy listening music after Callas and Mercouri. This union, I felt it throughout the show, especially when the crowd sang with her the songs of her debuts. But it is necessary to wait to the very end to witness the most intense moment. When Nana starts singing "Hartino to fengaraki", several spectators are still standing up. In order not to break the meditation which reigns, they remain still, as if time had stopped. This song is the work of Manos Hadjidakis, musician who reinvented Greek music and of Nikos Gatsos, poet and philosopher. It says that in life, all is a matter of faith. Even when it seems impossible, we only need to believe in it so that it becomes reality. It is the first song that they proposed to her and that taught her to dream while singing. It had to be the one that ends the evening, if ever it was the last time. Nana, moved, cries some tears. She is grateful towards her two mentors who inculcated this credo to her and knows that she has reached her dream. She waves to her public which continues to applaud her longer. Little by little, she moves away, turns back again to wave again, then she disappears into the wings of the amphitheatre.

Several weeks have already passed since my stay in Athens and I keep wonderful memories of it. I know that I was privileged to be able to attend this exceptional concert. Fans from several countries understood the importance of it and traveled for the event. July 23 is a strategic date since it marked the return of democracy in Greece in 1974 and the one of Nana ten years later. Nana chose this date to end her world tours. But due to the public demand, a second performance had been added the day after. When we have a look on the journey of Nana’s life, can we really think that it is possible to decide a date to start or stop singing? I believe that destiny takes that in charge. Also, I see this last concert as a moment of reunion with Athens for her 50 years of career, a stop during her farewell tour rather than the ultimate concert. Let us notice that there are still many countries where she did not go during this last tour: China has been deferred, Japan, South Africa and Latin America only wait for her visit. It has to be followed…

 

Songs from July 23, 2008:

First part:
01- Intro (video)
02- Athina
03- Moni perpato
04- Ela pare mou ti lipi
05- I tris pliges / La vie, l’amour, la mort
06- Tora pou pas stin xenitia
07- I amygdalia
08- Amapola
09- Lily Marleen
10- Aïde to malono
11- Smoke gets in your eyes
12- Recuerdos de la Alhambra
13- Mia fora ki enan kairo
14- Koris filin
15- To fengari ine kokkino
16- Kapou iparhi i agapi mou
17- To tragoudi tis Euridikis
18- Enas mythos

Second part:
19- Pefti vrochi
20- To pedi me to tambourlo
21- I endekati entoli
22- Plaisir d’amour
23- Xypna agapi mou
24- Kokkino garifalo
25- Ilie pou chathikes
26- Ximeroni
27- O Imittos
28- Spiti mou spitaki mou
29- Weisse Rosen aus Athen / San sfirixis tris fores / The white rose of Athens
30- I prodossia
31- Ta pedia tou Pirea
32- Me and Bobby McGee
33- Le tournesol / Turn on the sun
34- Come on Blue
35- Odos oniron
36- Pame mia volta sto fengari
37- Song of Joy (Greek / German / English)
38- Aspri mera
39- Milisse mou
40- Ta pedia tis Samarinas
41- Hartino to fengaraki

* Only the first night was filmed and the release of the DVD is expected for this fall. On July 24, due to the demand, Nana sang "La paloma" instead of "Song of Joy". More relaxed, she made the audience sing along to "The white rose of Athens".


 

MEET WITH NANA’S ENTOURAGE

"Do you believe that it is really the end of the tours?

What is your emotion of the moment?"


«Yes and no any way. In my case, I keep company with her for three years and a half. And we don’t think that it will finish like that, that there be a break. Well, maybe it will go softly, of course. But not finish straight. Would it be only for the fans who follow her for a long time. The tours are pleasant and with Luciano, I have the impression to be always in our honeymoon. I love to work with Nana. She is gentle, she has a great regard for me and a lot of confidence in me.»

 

– Marie-Claude Di Napoli,
Nana’s assistent

«Nevertheless I hardly believe that it is the end since I think she is someone who takes a lot of pleasure to be on stage. I do not know, I do not have any specific information. Here is simply what I feel. For me, it is a very new experience since it is the first tour I do with Nana. I had a lot of pleasure to do it. I have been said that it would be something very short. So that’s it, I hope that the adventure will go on.»

– Lucien Zerrad,
guitar



«I find that we finish brillantly with this tour in Greece. It is a beautiful country and I love Greek melodies. I accompany Nana for one year. With her, I did beautiful halls and I have learned a lot. Like the other musicians, I have musical activities besides, but I hope to keep on performing with Nana, because I find a lot of pleasure doing it.»

– Christophe Gallizio,
drums

«I do not believe that Nana will stop singing. I played with her from 1993 to 2000 and I chose to come back to stand in for Herve Gourdikian. I like to work with Nana. She is a reknown artist and we can travel a lot. I am sad for Luciano, Yannick and Pili who work with her for years. Maybe after I will realize, but for the moment, I am happy to end the tour in Greece, symbolic country.»

– Philippe Pregno,
saxophone, flute, keyboard and and clarinet



«I believe that there will still be concerts. I play with Nana for six years and with her, I appreciate the work regularity and the trips. Nana is a real impassioned for music. She has a great experience and detects quickly if it goes well with a collaborator and it is fine with her. Between the musicians and Nana, it is like a family. I like Greek music and I have learned a lot.»

– Jean-Philippe Roux (Pili),
bass guitar

«The emotion is mitigated. We are very happy because it is a splendid place. Last night's concert was already a lot of emotion. After this evening, it is true that it is the end and we do not have any scheduled concerts at all. It is quite strange to think that we don’t see again because with Nana, that never stops. Since I am with her, we are always between two tours. So, I do not have the impression that it will stop and I am not especially sad. I feel well that in the entourage and even in Nana’s attitude that something is going on, that it is really the end of something. For the moment, I do not realize completely what is happening. Afterwards, that means that it will be nevertheless necessary to multiply the musical activities besides to compensate. But it is necessary to wait until September-October. There, we will know what will happen.»  


Yannick Deborne,
guitar, bouzouki and vocal


Luciano Di Napoli,
piano, synthesizer and vocal
Band Leader

«I think that they will not be the last galas of Nana. It is not possible for a lot of reasons, already because she still wants to go on. But I think that she is a bit tired of these big tours. So, she wants to slow down a little bit and to leave with her head held high. But she will give prestigious galas and we will always tour nevertheless, much less than before of course. It seems very strange to me because I know that there will be less occupation. But, we will go on a different way. That’s why we prefer not to think about it and to say that it is the last big thing that we do. Personally, I cannot. So, she will slow down, but I think that it is physically because in her mind, that works all the time, she always wants to do new things. There, I think that she is preparing an album. But I cannot say anything more.»

Comments gathered on July 24, 2008, a few hours before the very last concert.

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PRESS


GRIECHENLAND ZEITUNG
(July 2, 2008)


GRIECHENLAND ZEITUNG
(July 23, 2008)


GRIECHENLAND ZEITUNG
(July 23, 2008)


ATHENS NEWS
(July 24, 2008)


ATHENS NEWS
(July 24, 2008)


MÜNCHNER MERKUR
(July 24, 2008)


ATHENS NEWS
(July 25, 2008)


LE DEVOIR
(July 25, 2008)


KIELER NACHRICHTEN
(July 25, 2008)


RHEINISCHE POST
(July 25, 2008)


RUHR NACHRICHTEN
(July 25, 2008)


THE GLOBE AND MAIL
(July 25, 2008)


TELEKILA
(July 26, 2008)


(July 2008)


THE ADVERTISER
(July 28, 2008)


FREIZEIT REVUE
(July 30, 2008)


WOCHE DER FRAU
(July 30, 2008)

FRANCE-DIMANCHE
(August 1, 2008)

FRANCE-DIMANCHE
(August 1, 2008)

DAS NEUE
(August 2, 2008)
 
GALA
(August 3, 2008)

GALA
(August 3, 2008)

MIDI LIBRE
(August 16, 2008)
 

El Mercurio: Atenas homenajea a Nana Mouskouri con la medalla de la ciudad (July 23, 2008 – CHILE)

EuroVisionary: Nana Mouskouri says goodbye in Athens (July 23, 2008 – DENMARK)

Main-Netz: Athen ehrt Nana Mouskouri (July 23, 2008 – GERMANY)

narichten.ch: Nana Mouskouri erhält Goldene Medaille (July 23, 2008 – SWITZERLAND)

news.ch: Nana Mouskouri erhält Goldene Medaille (July 23, 2008 – SWITZERLAND)

Southern Eastern Times: Culture and Sports: Mouskouri holds farewell concerts in Athens (July 23, 2008 – USA)

avmaroc.com: Nana Mouskouri fait ses adieux lors d'un concert en Grèce (July 24, 2008 – MOROCCO)

BBC News: Mouskouri plays farewell concert (July 24, 2008 – UK)

contactmusic.com: Greek Star Mouskouri bows out with final gig (July 24, 2008 – UK)

El Mercurio: Nana Mouskouri dijo adiós a los escenarios en su natal Grecia (July 24, 2008 – CHILE)

LA DERNIÈRE HEURE: Concert d'adieu de Nana Mouskouri en Grèce (July 24, 2008 – BELGIUM)

le JDD.fr: Nana Mouskouri: Dernière scène (July 24, 2008 – FRANCE)

leparisien.fr: Concert d’Adieu de Nana Mouskouri en Grèce (July 24, 2008 – FRANCE)

Reuters: Greek songbird Mouskouri bids farewell after 50 yrs (July 24, 2008 – UK)

tvn24.pl: Ostatni występ Nany Mouskouri (July 24, 2008 – POLAND)

agridulce.com.mx: Nana Mouskouri se despide de los escenarios (July 25, 2008 – MEXICO)

CCTV.com: Nana Mouskouri fait ses adieux à la scène (July 25, 2008 – CHINA)

Extra noticias: Concierto de adiós de Nana Mouskouri en Grecia (July 25, 2008 – CHILE)

Info-Grece.com: Nana Mouskouri a fait ses adieux à la scène grecque (July 25, 2008 – GREECE)

leparisien.fr: Nana Mouskouri a réussi ses adieux (July 25, 2008 - FRANCE)

Nouvel Obs.com: Nana Mouskouri offre un concert d’adieu aux Grecs (July 25, 2008 – GREECE)

xpatathens.com: Nana Mouskouri bids farewell in Athens concert (July 25, 2008 – GREECE)

Fyens.dk: Nana Mouskouri stopper (July 27, 2008 – DENMARK)

Washington Times: Mouskouri sings farewell (July 28, 2008 – USA)

Hip Celebrity: Nana Mouskouri’s last concert in Athens, Greece (July 30, 2008)

Plastic Paradise (July 30, 2008)

 

VIDEOS

TF1: Le journal télévisé de 13h00 (July 23, 2008 - FRANCE) 38:56

BBC Mundo: El adiós de Nana Mouskouri (July 24, 2008 – UK)

CCTV.com: Nana Mouskouri bids farewell to stage (July 25, 2008 – CHINA)

TF1: Chanson: Le concert d'adieu de Nana Mouskouri (July 27, 2008 – FRANCE)