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Baalbeck Festival

Adonis in the Temple of Bacchus

Adonis in the Temple of Bacchus

The boy band Adonis at the Temple of Bacchus in Baalbeck, July 10, 2022. (Credit: DR)

The tickets were purchased as soon as the concert was announced. Adonis fans would not have missed it for anything. A performance in an unparalleled setting, the Temple of Bacchus, in the ruins of Baalbeck. To hell with the distance, the hour-and-a-half trip, or the price of gas. We come in buses chartered for the occasion from Beirut, Chiyah, Jounieh or Bikfaya. We arrange with friends to rent a van or a car. Sometimes even between strangers by posting carpooling requests on social media.

After an absence of two years, thousands of young people flocked yesterday to the second concert of the Baalbeck Festival. In a country that is currently experiencing the most serious economic crisis in its history, organizing shows in such conditions is a feat. Despite the price of tickets and transportation, inaccessible to 90 percent of the population, the concert was played yesterday to a full house. Since his mini-concert in October 2020, just a few months after the explosions in the Port of Beirut, or his performance at the Beirut racetrack in September 2021, which marked the great return of the public after several waves of COVID, Adonis has not performed recently in Lebanon.

So, when the four musicians arrived on stage, dressed in immaculate white, the singer and pianist Anthony Khoury, Nicolas Hakim on drums, Joey Abou Jaoudé on electric guitar and Gio Fikany on bass, thousands of small voices (4000 spectators according to the organizers) shouted in joy, brandishing their cell phones to immortalize the show.

The indie-pop group known for its lyrics written in Lebanese combined with a Western musical composition starts under the pixelated colors of the rainbow with the track Shayef (I see - 2018), in front of an already devoted audience that repeats the lyrics. Teenagers scream "I love you Anthony," we stumble through some of the lyrics of lesser-known songs, or we belt out the words to hits songs like Shou Awlak.

The group Adonis plays indie pop sounds on the steps of the temple of Bacchus in Baalbeck, July 10, 2022. (Credit: Sally Abou al Joud)

The concert takes place in a cheerful atmosphere. Kazem Chamas, a 26-year-old Lebanese singer, whom the audience does not seem to know, joins in for a few minutes. "Who is called Nour in the room?" Anthony Khoury calls out, and for a few minutes, dozens of small hands that had risen sing the eponymous title releasing a strong emotion between the rows. On stage, the musicians play sometimes as if they were in a small intimate room and seem crushed under the weight of the temple, an atmosphere that is felt in the crowd where some are used to more "spectacular" Adonis performances.

When they begin Stouh Adonis (2012), their first song about nocturnal adventures on the rooftops of the band's small suburban town, the audience finally seems to vibrate in unison. The eyes deviate on a young couple of dancers who climb on one side of the stage and improvise languorous steps under the amused looks of the security men.

This article was originally published in French in L'Orient-Le Jour. 


The tickets were purchased as soon as the concert was announced. Adonis fans would not have missed it for anything. A performance in an unparalleled setting, the Temple of Bacchus, in the ruins of Baalbeck. To hell with the distance, the hour-and-a-half trip, or the price of gas. We come in buses chartered for the occasion from Beirut, Chiyah, Jounieh or Bikfaya. We arrange with friends to rent...