Vixen Of The Violin: The Anna Phoebe Column (No. 2)
Continuing our brand new weekly column by Anna Phoebe, the vivacious violinist who’s played with Steven Tyler, Trans-Siberian Orchestra and Jethro Tull. This week, Anna rocks out in Dubai and Abu Dhabi… and reminisces about the time she set her dress on fire on stage in Beirut! Anna also has her say on Slash’s new album… Click here to read all of Anna’s columns.
It’s late morning on Saturday and I’m currently sitting in the lounge at Munich airport, waiting for my connecting flight back to London. Just spent three days in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, playing solo performances first for a Golf Tournament gala dinner at the Emirates Golf club, and then for a big free concert for the Red Bull Air Show in Abu Dhabi. The two audiences couldn’t have been more different.
The first night was for 600 or so golfers and their partners: 70 percent British, 20 percent American and 10 percent ‘other’. I made these percentages up – but my point is that it was a predominantly white, westernised audience. I played my rock/metal tracks from the Rise Of The Warrior album, and they loved it! I pulled out all the arena moves on stage: lunges, backbends, kneeslides, and I even ran off the stage and jumped on a few of their tables… you name it!
Only a couple of drinks were spilled, and this time I managed NOT to set fire to my dress, as I did in Beirut a couple of months ago! Turns out there were quite a few Jethro Tull fans in the audience, as well, as guys from Ottawa, Austin and Houston, who had seen me over the years with Trans-Siberian Orchestra. Small world!
The next night, I performed to an outdoor audience of around 8,000 predominantly locals from Abu Dhabi. After the air-show stunts, the hip hop guy and breakdancers, and some greased-up r’n'b singing star from Beirut, I went on stage and played the same set as the previous night – rock’n'metal violin from Rise Of The Warrior. They loved it! People always ask me what it is like to play in the Middle East or in the Gulf – if I have to ‘cover up’ or wear a bhurka. Er… NO. For the record, I was wearing a short black dress and high heels.
After my solo set, I joined the Middle Eastern/Arabic singing superstar Ragheb Alama on stage with his 20-piece band and jammed along on one of his songs (more shapes were thrown). My kneeslides even got him down on his knees… brilliant! Now, before I go on about the power of music connecting cultures, all I will say is… (quote from a postcard sent by a Jamaican friend traveling in Malaysia):
“Another country, another city, another time zone, hotel room, new culture to experience and more and more you realise how similar we all are as humans on this planet.”
Speaking of connections and collaborations, I’m intrigued to hear Slash’s big collaboration album, which will be released in the UK in May – but before that, of course, you can get hold of it via Classic Rock‘s exclusive Slash mag, on sale April 7. Especially looking forward to hearing the songs with Fergie and Nicole Scherzinger – who I think have both got incredible voices. Even though he’s been given stick for ‘selling out’, for working with two females from the pop world, why not?! Why does it necessarily mean Slash is ‘selling out’ just because he has a hot singer who’s had a round of number ones and top 10s in the charts? If she can hold her own and has an incredible voice that can match Slash’s ballsy playing, what is the problem?!
I definitely agree with what he said in his interview about a lot guys in the rock world wanting to keep it exactly like that – a boys’ club… and I also agree – the world is ready for a new wave of rock divas!
(I hope the tracks are good otherwise I will take it all back!)
Right. Got a plane to catch. ‘Til next week!
Inspiration Track For The Week:
Joan Jett I Love Rock & Roll