All for One and All For Love – Interview with Georgian Host of Bryan Adams
Last Friday, Rike was by far the most crowded place in Tbilisi as Georgians finally got a chance to witness some great music and outstanding performance. One of the biggest rock stars of the 90’s, Bryan Adams, held a free concert in the heart of the capital aiming to aid the victims of war. Young volunteers were walking in the huge crowd, gathering donations. The 48 year old rock star performed songs from his new album as well as all time favorites like “Everything I Do, I Do It for You,” “Cut Like a Knife” and others. The concert ended with an acoustic performance of “All for Love” – an anthem of unity from the movie “The Three Musketeers.” The charity concert was organized by JSC Madneuli, which also hosted and organized Adams’s visit to Gori camp town. Former director of Georgian National Investment Agency “Invest in Georgia” Tamuna Liluashvili recently moved to JSC Madneuli as Deputy Director, Head of International Relations and organized this charity event as her first task with the company. Here’s what she had to say about the project and Mr. Adams himself.
How did a big time rock star like Bryan Adams find himself holding a free concert in Tbilisi during a period when other performers postponed their scheduled visits?
On September 21, the world celebrated Peace Day and for the occasion, Bryan Adams held a concert in Royal Albert Hall, London together with Annie Lennox and John Legend. The concert in Tbilisi was symbolic for the occasion. After all, what more can a singer do than to sing for peace and freedom. He contacted us as we have a big list of charity activities, especially in sphere of art. This concert was yet another way of support from the international community not only in the area of politics and business, but from the music and arts community.
The sound at the concert was very good, which is extremely unusual for open air concerts of Tbilisi. Did he bring his own technical equipment and sound engineers?
The sound system was his, and so was the concert staff. Our partners in the project, Art Forum, provided production support here on the ground.
What is Bryan Adams like in person?
He is surprisingly outgoing. There were times when I could not even realize that I was hanging out with a rock star. He is very casual, frank and sensitive. I clearly remember a scene from the Gori camp town, when he saw a little kid running to see him, straight out of the dinner row, with a piece of bread in his hand. I could see tears in Bryan’s eyes at that moment.
What did Bryan Adams think of the Georgian audience?
He loved it. First of all he was very surprised to see this many people at the event. And then he was also astonished that most of them recognized his old hits and sang along.
Where did he have the after party?
We visited Georgian Restaurant “Meidani” where Bryan had a taste of Georgian traditional cuisine and was shocked by Georgian folk songs and dances.
Did he show any signs of fear as he was visiting the country which had recently witnessed war?
Not at all. All he showed was the amazement about the beauty of Tbilisi.
What was he most impressed with?
Being a big lover of history, he was stunned to see the ancient churches of Tbilisi. He also enjoyed traditional Georgian shoti bread. Actually, he asked me what my favorite Georgian food was. I told him about the shoti bread and after having a taste of it, Bryan requested some for his band members. He even waited for it being delivered at the airport
What was his reaction to Gori?
Actually, he was surprised to see a recently bombed city had made such a progress in rebuilding. But as I explained to him, due to prompt remodeling, Gori shows minimal signs of damage.
So he really decided to build a school in the region?
As soon as he saw the kids in the Gori camp town, he asked for ways to help them. He had previously talked about helping schools that were destroyed during the war. At the camp, he found out that the majority of kids had lost their schools to the war and promptly proposed to build one for them. He has a charity foundation that has built schools and charity homes in numerous countries. We are waiting for a representative now to take a look around and talk about the details.
Was his visit expensive?
Bryan was very modest and being his hosts, JSC Madneuli, Quartzite LTD and GeoPro Mining group showed him real Georgian hospitality.
Why did the concert have only slight advertising?
First of all, concert of a star this big doesn’t need much PR in my opinion. But we also had very little preparation time. The most important task for us was that the charity concert would yield sufficient amount to aid the refugees and we reached this goal. Bryan’s gift to kids from Samachablo is the best that we could hope for.
What will the money go to?
All the proceeds from this charity concert will go to help all those refugees that have lost homes during this conflict. All along, our company has been actively helping refugees, providing them with tents, beds, mattresses and other house hold necessities. This will be a continuation of the charity work that Madneuli has already taken underway and we plan to continue our support of those in need.
29 September Mon 2008, 18:52:01