HOUSTON HAS CROWD SPELLBOUND

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 ...

By Martin Woodtli

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Published: Wed 18 Feb 2004, 2:44 AM

Last updated: Mon 13 Nov 2023, 4:25 PM

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 audience.


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.



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