The last days
of a Farewell World Tour
July 22, 2008
During the morning, I am pleased to be Rosina’s guide, my dear friend from Belgium. We first stop in front of Odeon of Herod Atticus. A mobile TV studio is parked close to the left entrance and video material is spread out on the esplanade. My intuition says to me that the concert of tomorrow will be recorded and that a rehearsal seems to be planned for tonight. On our way towards the Acropolis, we have a view from above on Odeon. On the stage, the orchestra’s material is already installed.
Towards 8 pm, we complete our itinerary by returning in front of the theatre. Many fans are already there. A little later, Nana arrives in a car driven by André. Without paying attention to us, she discusses with various people then enters into the theatre. The rehearsal starts straight away and a mass is gathering close to the mobile TV studio, because by the open door, we can see Nana on a video screen monitor. Some song excerpts seem to be enough for the adjustments and Nana leaves the place as she arrived. She seems very concentrated and I have the feeling that our presence disturbs her. The "flock" disperses and, by affinities, small groups are formed and go by in order to meet up around the friendship glass. The night will be short…
July 23, 2008
From 7 pm, a queue is formed in front of each entry which gives access to the highest level. The first arrived will have the best seats. Among the guests who occupy VIP seats, we recognize some famous faces (Lara Fabian, Nikos Aliagas, Stephan Bern). Some mayors of European capitals (Paris and Luxembourg) are there and the applause mark the arrival of the Greek Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis and his wife Natacha.
Towards 9:15 pm, the lights turn off and, on two screens hung in height on both sides of the stage, a videorama relating Nana’s international career is projected. An instrumental accompanies this projection which is a little different than the one of the last European tour. After some notes of music of the intro, Nana, dressed in red, arrives on the stage under a thunder of applause and the public gives her a standing ovation. It is the beginning of a magic evening, of a fantastic musical voyage recalling her 50 years of song throughout the World. In homage to Athens, Nana sings "Athina". The voice is splendid, what confirms the good idea to stop the tours before it be too late, to retire by leaving an imperishable memory, to leave in the heights of fame, to let think that all that could still continue.
Nana greets the personalities present and she speaks to those of the French-speaking countries: «Excuse me for the protocol, I don’t know whom with to start.» She sings a sample of European songs like "Amapola" and "Lily Marleen" and illustrates her love for Jazz with "Smoke gets in your eyes". During "Recuerdos de la Alhambra", I look at the theatre wall and the starry sky. Shivers of happiness cross my skin, because I am aware that I am privileged to be present tonight in this magic place built in 161 after J.C.. Nana honours us then with an extraordinary interpretation of "Mia fora ki einan kairo" which develops her voice and she offers us a superb gift with the extremely rare interpretation of "To tragoudi tis Euridikis". The dazzling "Enas mythos" conclude this first part which, without counting the videorama, lasted more than one hour.
After the interval, Nana comes back, dressed all in white. After having paid homage to the composer Giorgos Hadjinassios, Nana settles down in apron with Yannick and she recalls some moments of her long career. I appreciate her delicate attention particularly by singing completely "Plaisir d’amour". For "Come on Blue", Pili came in front of the stage to honour us with a bass solo then to do the vocal accompaniment with Yannick. What a beautiful festive atmosphere! Nana introduces the technicians. The spectators smile, because she leans towards the person in charge of the microphones installation to ask him his first name (Giorgos). Then, comes the turn of the musicians: Yannick, Lucien, Christophe, Pili, Philippe and Luciano that we must deeply congratulate for their performance. I would particularly like to thank Luciano for his musical arrangements. I know that a colossal work has been necessary for the preparation of this concert, more than 80 songs have been rehearsed. Cheer and thank you to him for all these years, his cordiality as well as for his wife Marie-Claude.
With "Odos Oniron", Nana takes us to a street of dreams, then she makes us travel on the moon with "Pame mia volta sto fengari" that the spectators hum with her. The wind blows and lifts Nana’s clothes. She could have sung "The wind beneath my wings"! The concert closes temporarily by the traditional "Come and sing". Nana does a sham exit and comes back to sing again the end of the song. The call backs are very intense. Someone launches a bunch of white roses that lands on the rails of the remote-controlled camera in front of the stage. Somebody in the first row gets up to place the bouquet on the stage. Other flowers are launched. We hear shouting: "We love you" then "On vous aime, Nana". Nana, very moved, thanks the public and offers "Hartino to fengaraki", her very first song. The Greek audience sings along with her. Then a thunder of applause and a standing ovation greet her performance. It must be moving for her to be in front of this "wall" of applause, with above the illuminated Parthenon. We realize well, on the photograph of my friend Athanase from Trikala, the exceptional theatre configuration with its steps which go up towards the Acropolis with a slope of more than 30°.
The final wave is tinged with a great emotion. Luciano’s and Yannick’s faces tell a lot about it. We feel that Nana makes big efforts to mask her emotion. It is perhaps because of the presence of the cameras which film the scene for the release of a DVD. Before rushing in the wings, she turns back to do the last farewell gesture. The moment is very moving, even if we know that there is a second concert tomorrow night.
Nicolas and Hélène were sat in the rows before me. I rushed towards the foot of the stage to tell them that they can be proud of their mom. Nicolas answers me: «She often bluffs us». I take the opportunity to ask him whether his documentary "La fille de la chauve-souris", which appears on his Internet site in Canada, will be available in DVD. He answers me that it depends of her producer. He also specifies me that Nana inspired with the title of his documentary for the title of her book published in French.
The theatre empties. Some people have little tears of emotion in the eyes. It is the proof that Nana took a privileged place in their heart and that the love and the respect she always had for her public are given back to her in return. What beautiful stories! What beautiful passions for an exceptional woman!
July 24, 2008
For the second time, the theatre is chock-a-block packed. Nana is much more relaxed than yesterday. There is no pressure due to the cameras. She is released and offers splendid interpretations to us. She directs the choruses among the audience for the Greek and the English version of "Weisse Rosen aus Athen". A little later, the person who asked the song "La paloma" during the first part of the concert, repeats its request. Then Nana modifies her program to satisfy the demand. After "Milisse mou", it is "Only Love" that is been asked, but, just like last night, Philippe marvelously makes sing his clarinet and here we are ready for a dazzling musical voyage with "Ta pedia tis Samarinas". To thank the standing ovation which hails her triumphal performance, Nana sings "Hartino to fengaraki", heritage of Greek Music that the spectators hum with her. Under the applause, Nana hangs the microphone on its foot, quite a symbol for the last concert of her Farewell World Tour…
Nana receives a splendid bunch of red and white roses. Luciano and Yannick, the only musicians who remained on stage for "Hartino to fengaraki", greet the audience with Nana. She distributes a white rose to them. As one man, the 5,000 spectators got up and applaud widly. Greece can be proud of Nana. During 50 years, she has been the Ambassadress of Greek Music in the whole world. Unlike last night, Nana lets spin her emotion. We can see some tears on her face. Luciano and Yannick surround her and comfort her. Luciano holds Nana’s hand between his two hands. What a splendid gesture! After these moments of melancholy, the joy dominates and Nana distributes roses to the spectators who hurtled down the stairs of the theatre to mass in front of the stage. Luciano’s and Yannick’s glances cross each other and they judge that the moment has come to slip away and to leave Nana alone on the stage. The roses distribution continues in the good mood. Nana, radiant, has a great time. What a beautiful show!
During a few seconds, the emotion reaches Nana once again. She leans to greet a last time in apron, then she vainly tries to unhook the scotched rose on the foot of the microphone. Tonight, she will not be able to launch it among the spectators. She goes by towards the bottom of the stage by holding her bunch like a bundle, she turns back and waves with her left hand, the face flooded with melancholy. Her handkerchief takes a while the shape of a dove…Some more steps and it is the ultimate wave from the bottom of the stage. A cameraman films these so moving moments. We recognize Andre’s silhouette who comes to welcome Nana at her entry in the wings. Now, a page is turned, a new one opens.
Thank you Nana for all these years of sharing. You will continue to illuminate the daily life of your admirers. You are forever in their hearts, because they like your personality. They wish that your new way be the best and the longest as possible. They hope to have the chance to cross you there.
Me agapi Christian Langlais