OK! It is good to go to any Googoosh event. But I had a hard time convincing myself to go to this one in New York's Madison Square Garden last weekend for one obvious reason: I can not tolerate Mehrdad. After this show, he proved how right I am to feel this way. Please note that I purposely call the event a “show” and not a concert. It did not have the quality of a concert. It was way different than the one we drove to all the way from New Jersey to Toronto six and a half years ago.
I was so impressed in Toronto that I wrote “Mahe-Nou-Aeen". But the New York show was more like a cabaret performance. Googoosh was more into changing dresses and acting. She is still an excellent performer and pleases her audiance but what she says does not go to your heart. Money rules and acts there. Show business, folks!
The show started exactly at 9 PM. Impressive, yeh! Googoosh showed up on stage without any announcement and started with singing “Talagh”. Then she made a gelaayeh (light complaint) about our habbit of being late and went on to say that the show would start regardless. She mentioned that she was honored by the presence of members of the “Pahlavi Family” (KHOSHHAALAM KE DAR HOZOORE KHAANDAANE PAHLAVI HASTAM). She then delivered an excellent medley that drove all of us crazy.
After a few more songs disaster happened… she called Mehrdad on stage for a duet. The audience was not ecstatic! No applauding! The music started and Mehrdad jumped in with his jeans and loose shirt. Then the music paused. He saluted the audience but did not hear any response back. He said “Baba Salaam!” and then went on to say how honored he was being in front of Pahlavis. He said that he remembered a time he was a nobody (probably referring to the time the Pahlavis were in power) and now he is performing in their presence! He said his knees were shaking…”I love you,” he said.
I have nothing against the Pahlavis but the dialogue and the act was not up to the moment. Before the show started, when Mrs. Farah Pahlavi arrived and took her chair, people noticed her and clapped. She bowed and showed her respect to them. The Madison Square Garden theater is not huge but not everyone noticed her. The song was “Akharin Khabar” and Googoosh started off tune. Mehrdad made it worse and it turned out to be torture!
After that, he stayed and she left. They did the same for the rest of the show taking turns. “If you want me you have to hear him!” that was my impression from the whole show. Mehrdad sang all his unremarkably cheap songs off tune. It was not hard to notice that, even though I am not familiar with his songs.
In general, Googoosh was witty and joking in between: “Once when I was khooneh nehsin (forced to stay home after the revolution), we were invited to Ghasem-Abad. You know, Ghasem-Abad, Ghasem-Ababdi dance?! Our host was preparing eggplants for Mirza Ghasemi and her husband was peeling off garlic, ignoring his surroundings. After a while, one of the guests asked him whether he realized who I am. He looked at me and said that my face looked familiar. The surprised guest asked how he did not know that I am Googoosh! The guy looked again and said 'Owoo! Chetor toro nakoshtan?!' (Wow! How come they didn't kill you?!)”
Googoosh performed “Man Amadeh-am”, “Kaj Kolah Khan” and an Azari song “Golli Golli Tomani” with her unique dancing and adaa atvaar! She was repeatedly saying “You folks are asking too much. I am short of breath!… ” And I was thinking how right she is! Why do we have to drive her to the point to sing “Kaj kolah khan”? Could we not sit and enjoy her magical concert rather than her show? She has all the elements of a great artist and can sing forever favorites like “Pol”, “Do Panjareh”, “Gonjeshkaa”…
What happened from Toronto to New York in less than seven years? Where are her values? I do not know how long this will last, but even people are showing their feelings toward Mehrdad openly! She would be a fool not to understand what is going on! We paid for Googoosh so why do we have to be disturbed by Mehrdad? He can not draw 6,000 people in years. He needs to realize his strength. To me, he is a great musician. We need a petition to ask Googoosh to stop having Mehrdad in her concerts! Maybe there is one and I am not aware of it!