Maroon 5: A little Less Sugar, A Little More Cover, Yes Please

The much anticipated Maroon 5 concert held in Batumi last night was more wet than sweet. The concert, delayed from a 5pm start to close to 21:30 saw the fabulous Maroon 5 boys stepping out on stage just as the clouds let go their load...and they kept on letting go for the next two hours and beyond.

While Maroon 5 hit out at the audience with all its best loved numbers, the thick stage-hugging crowd in the packed open-air area, known as Miracle Square, on the beach near Radisson Blu Batumi and the future Batumi Tower,  tried its best to buoy its enthusiasm by sheltering under umbrellas and cheap raincoats. Undeterred by the downpour, they sang the well-loved lyrics at the top of their lungs. Yet this writer, staying far enough back from the throngs to be able to move all limbs freely and belt out her favourite tunes without disturbing the neighbors, felt that Maroon 5's share of the USD 13 million 'Check in Georgia' project would have been more wisely spent on holding the concert in roofed premises.

“Check in Georgia promotes Georgia’s popularity abroad and will make it an attractive destination for tourists…this will also enhance our image on the international market. Georgia should occupy its deserved place on the international cultural calendar,” Minister of Culture and Monument Protection Mikheil Giorgadze said in April, adding that the project plans to create modern open-air concert venues on Georgia’s Black Sea coast. This in obviously optimistic ignorance of the forthcoming rainy season.

Maroon 5 were fabulous, if not clearly tired from their extensive Eastern European tour and lacking in that much-needed connection with the crowd (not even a "gamarjoba!" that Georgians so love, though Adam Levine did apologise for the weather and there were some Georgian polyphonic singers on stage for a few minutes singing along). The problem, though far from being Adam's fault, was that very weather, so heavy that Maroon 5 wrapped up the concert quickly, with not even an encore, leaving the crowds to run (or swim) for the exits, heading to the main roads along unfinished muddy wet paths in the vain search for taxis to take them home. And the fact that so many people had come from abroad and around the country just to attend, filling trians, minibuses and cars to make it, only added to the overall feeling of "Good, but could have, should have, been better."

I can't help but think of Maroon 5 now cozy in a hotel room or on their way to the next- perhaps drier and better prepared- destination, and us Georgians, sneezing as we try to get dry and warm after a three hour plus stand out in the cold rain.

Dear 'Check in Georgia' organizers- the initiative, as ever, is fantastic. But think before you buy. An open-air concert for huge international stars in typically rainy Batumi is not the most intelligent or cost-effective choice you could make and cannot be compensated for, regardless of how good the music is...

Katie Ruth Davies

08 June 2016 01:17