The last part of my summer holidays was Serj Tankian’s concert in Athens, where I attended with some colleagues. Well, it has been way too long since I’ve last been to a non Hip Hop live but this was a bit different. I was listening a lot of System of a Down the last months while I was writing my thesis, and I fell in love with Serj’s Symphony album. It was unclear whether the live act would include classical music players or only a rock band, but, either way, I would be satisfied anyway. But who could guess…
The concert took place at Terra Vibe, which is a large park used primarily for outdoor events like this one, a perfect place for that kind of concert. We arrived there a bit late, so we missed most of the performance of the support band, called Viza. From what I heard, their sound was very similar to System of a Down’s early albums, and I kind of liked them, although I wasn’t paying much attention to the stage yet. A short pause took place after Viza’s act, where some technicians were preparing the stage. It was very clear at that point that there were seats for classical musicians as well as the usual equipment for the rest of the band. After about half an hour wait, Serj and his band went on stage.
He was brilliant, a true artist. He was on stage along with 3 guitarists, a drum player, a keyboards player and 8 Greek classical musicians, with the keyboards player acting as their conductor when needed. Serj performed a lot (maybe all?) of his tracks from Elect The Dead album, and about 8 tracks of his new album (plus an Armenian song) with a mix of Rock and classical music, that produced an outstanding / strange / new / pioneer sound. There were the "hard rock" moments, as well as the acoustic only moments, either with guitars and such or just with the classical musicians. Serj did applause them many times, while they seemed not to be used in pure Rock lives, but clearly they were enjoying it as well. Serj seemed very excited for being in Greece, using many greek words (personal highlight: "Music comes from the universe, from the Μούσα (muse) , we are just the performers") or speaking about Greece, the history, the ancient civilization ("The Americans told Greece how democracy should be, they told the country that created democracy that"). It was a bit short, less than 1 hour and a half, but what the heck, I really enjoyed the unique sound of the band together with the classical musicians, as well as the awesome performance (and voice) of Serj Tankian.
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