Review | Amadeus Awad Live in RAN IV
Oct 17th 2010 Patrick Saad Event Reviews

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To people who’re not living in the Beirut area, reaching the Quadrangle pub is more difficult than other concert venues such as Nova pub (Sin el Fil), LaCite (Jounieh), Mocean and Tantra (Kaslik). To those who haven’t been there in a while, Quadrangle has transformed into a better pub: art illustrations on every wall, a neat bar overlooking the stage, spread out tables across the floor and a carefully designed sound system to reach listeners in any direction within the pub. One major issue struck me continuously throughout the night, which is that one huge concrete wall blocking the view of almost the entire band from attendees sitting near and in front of the pool tables. The drummer / bassist were always buried out of sight, giving way for the main performers to shine and that was exactly what all the bands had in common that night: one single attention focus point.

    • Acoustic band Plugged were decent openers for this show, with acoustic alternatives tunes that entertained the crowd. A bassist was missing from their lineup (giving attention to only the two acoustic guitarists playing their chords) and the vocalist, although having smooth vocals which work nicely with alternative music, seemed to be whispering his lines rather than actually singing them (we were struggling to hear him properly). Still, Plugged were comfortable on stage and their setlist entertained the crowd.

    • April is formed of vocalist Rachel Minä joined by acoustic wielding guitarist Amadeus Awad. The purpose of showcasing Rachel’s talents (the single attention focus point) worked out nice with the song choices. I wonder if April might expand into a medieval orchestra in the near future; that would be quite amusing to watch and would further satisfy the general mood of the performance.

    April live at Quadrangle 2010

    • And finally, the main attraction of the night, Amadeus Awad, the guitar virtuoso playing the 4th Radio Active Nightmares event with a special Joe Satriani tribute included in the setlist. For starters, if I hadn’t twisted my neck to catch a glimpse of a bassist’s hand on stage, I would have suspected that Amadeus had some 8 backing tracks being played in the background that he’d been jamming along throughout the night. I wish not to be harsh at all, since all the band members are skillful players with no noticeable errors at all in the one hour performance, especially from Amadeus himself with all that graceful finger artwork he showed us all night along. Still, having high expectations already, I expected a spectacle like no other, with composed structured songs, drums and bass solos, crowd interaction (Satriani’s Crowd Chant?) and especially stage presence from the band. Now although improvisation is the name of the game here, Amadeus was the only one playing: almost all the songs were agreed chord sequences (like D (RE) F (FA) E (MI) for example) that the band would keep playing over and over again for more than 10 minutes while Amadeus, without a doubt, amazed us.

    Amadeus Awad live at Quadrangle 2010

    STILL, at a certain point, not too late into the show, one would notice this tiring repetitive rhythm section, like a backing track that’s set to repeat a hundred times and I started mentally demanding some variance, perhaps a certain improvisation would lead its way into a drum solo, a bass solo, a keyboard solo! Why not? Isn’t Amadeus Awad one of the talented bands around here? Why would I expect something less than a mind blowing performance. Anyway, Amadeus’s playing style is highly interesting, his technique flawless and his improvising capabilities is above professional. 40 minutes into the show, faces were getting less interested, the excitement that began with the show was now simply a musical state of mind where the listener is there, listening to high volume music, but is not really into the mood as much as the band is, and obviously Amadeus himself, who could jam along those “backing tracks” for hours, without ever smelling the stench of boredom. The Joe Satriani Tribute part of the night was actually quite amusing with Plugged’s guitarist sharing the stage with Amadeus, playing a number of Satriani tracks such as “Always with Me, Always with You” and others.

    Amadeus Amad - Satriani Tribute at RAN IV 2010

    Finally, I’m not contesting the musical expertise of Amadeus or his band members, but high expectations should always be met with similar results, and I think Amadeus Awad can arrange a much interesting musical show for all the band members and for the crowd than improvising over repeated backing tracks. Eventually, perhaps that’s just what’s wanted here so good luck for the band, Amadeus and Quadrangle for more future successful events.

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    • Amadeus Awad

      Thank you for the review guys, all raised points will be taken into consideration for our next shows, the band was so tired because of everything that was happening on the road, we spent 2 hours to get from Dekwaneh to Quad and I was very pissed.
      What you call “amazing” was less than fair from our point of view.
      Thank you very much for being there and see you soon.

    • Ziadz

      I was expecting something more professional honestly. Covering Joe Satriani is not a game, is not just another tribute night. Covering Joe Satriani requires a high level of musicians, quality guitar sound and lost of experience.
      With all respect to Awad and his band, the show was low in quality by definition.
      The repetition in those “improvised” songs was a killer.
      Every note later on was expected. Solos were good.

      Rach needs to work more on her stage attitude and vocals if she is wishing to continue in doing this.
      Her voice is ok.

      Plugged were great! Just Awesome! Best part of the night!

    • Patrick

      Thanks Amadeus for the feedback. I hope I wasn’t too unfair with my suggestions and remarks.
      I agree with you Ziad on some points, but you seem to be awfully taking sides with Plugged, the acoustic band (acoustic here meaning playing repetitive chords over and over again + without a bassist). That’s not so professional if you ask me, but thanks for your feedback as well.

    • Amadeus Awad

      Dear Ziad.
      We really do appreciate your opinion however I do not see any justice in it 🙂
      I will only speak of the guitar sound because I do not need to say anything about the music, the musicians and the show, I will leave that to the fact that in Radio Active Nightmares series we usually get 100+ of audience while other people gather 8 bands to get 150 people, so let the fans judge our music not us, and to be honest with you Ziad I am sure our aim is not to be liked by everyone you know, we have our ever expanding circle but it will never include everyone ~ Back to the guitar sound; I am very well known for my precise use and choice of guitars, amps and effects, and everyone who attends our shows asks me about the secret behind my guitar tone, and at that particular night the tone that was coming out of my amp was amazing, no other word to describe it my dear, simply amazing, however the tone of the guitar is a matter of a taste, maybe you like other types of tones or maybe you simply did not want to notice anything about our performance that night but the negativity that you mentioned in your post, and this is my dear is so sad.
      I know what the fans expect from us in Radio Active Nightmares, and I know that we deliver what they want and this is why they keep coming back, and this is why at our shows if you come late you will not find a place to sit.
      We appreciate your opinion, we appreciate our fans opinion as well.

      Amadeus Awad.

    • Ziadz

      Dear Mr. Awad

      Thank you for appreciating my honest opinion. I could have saved us all some extra time by saying, hey! You had a great show, so keep it up!

      But I insisted on being honest and clear. I have no intentions of competition (since you mentioned numbers and attendees) what so ever (since I am not a musician by fact) and I am not taking anyone’s side here. I am just giving my “free speech” and opinion as a Joe Satriani fan. And I would like to mention here that I have seen Satriani live many times when I was abroad, the man is a guitar genius. With all respect to your qualifications, skills, sound effects and amps…

      Again, covering Joe Satriani requires high and I re-say HIGH quality equipments (stage equips. included) it’s not your fault here; I bet you enjoyed playing his music and that’s what matters at the end of the day for an individual musician.

      Now, if I want to highlight on your original material, I will try not to be harsh as well, I did read that you were tired due to some traffic jam on the way. That should simply explain it.

      I do wish you all the best in future gigs. If I ever enter into your show venue and don’t find a place to sit (as you mentioned) then I will know that my honest opinion here has knocked on someone’s door with benefits! Gladly looking forward to it.

    • SerJ

      heh, nicely said ziad, I wish more people try to be like u (comment wise) … Polite,honest w bala tenzir 🙂

    • Amadeus Awad

      Dear Ziad.

      apart from Satriani, we only played one original and the rest was impro (which is what RAN is all about)
      See you very soon, if you do not have me on FB please add me so we can stay in touch.

    • Omar Alaywan

      Well I would like to reply to Patrick about Plugged:
      We actually had a short notice from Mr. Amadeus about opening for him, not to forget that we weren’t a full lineup due to recent line up changes and the fact that the bassist had joined and we never practiced together, yet if you have read the history of the band and the actual status like all review writers do so they know where they stand from the critic you would have noticed that our style is not acoustic yet we did our best to entertain the crowd and I guess it’s not a big deal if there’s an absence of a bassist in an acoustic set, and don’t forget it’s not a b-ball game where 5 players are required (notion to mentioning the absence of a bassist)
      But thanks for the critics because that’s what helps us grow bigger and better… Cheers And thanks a lot Ziad for your support, you can join our facebook page, and we’re gonna be performing in AUB on the 9th or 11th of November as a full band and I strongly ask LebMetal to be there so they’d know who Plugges id 🙂

    • Patrick

      Thanks Omar for the reply. Oh well, I had no idea about the ‘special circumstances’ and I hope to see the real Plugged sometime soon 😀
      Good luck.

    • Patrick Ziade

      I didn’t attend due to me being out of the country, but in the summer I saw Amadeus’ sound, and I believe he’s got one wicked tone !
      Very smooth and very warm, and suits Satriani. So whatever happened, it was probably the place.