21 Dec '97: Tarkan at the Hippodrome (cont)
It was a little daunting. The moment Tarkan opened his mouth and let out a musical note, something strange happened to his audience. As though he weaved a sensual web with song and movement, all were held tight in its net.
Erotic sensations oozed out from the stage and poured over the girls like glue.
I, who admired my self-control over everything else, looked around incredulously at the transformation of the females in the crowd. A man should come to a Tarkan concert with his girlfriend and reap the benefits, I thought. It was obvious he was an aphrodisiac for women, a Holy Saint for all lovers.
The young girl who had gripped my arm a second before and my dear cousin Gonca were not immune.
Gonca was screaming at the top of her voice. She was to lose her voice the next morning, unable to speak a word for the next three days. But she was to have a smile on her lips and a sparkle in her eyes that made her mother book in advance for the next Tarkan concert. She wanted some of what her daughter had, too.
Even Kemal's pogo stick persona at the car park was increasing with alarming rapidity, as he jumped up and down to the beat.
We all began to sway to the music and, as Tarkan raised his voice to the last verse of Ölürüm Sana, he gave his listeners wings, rising them up and above all woes and the routine of daily living.
Your individual creda had been left at the front door of the Hippodrome. Entering the dark, erotic tones of this concert, there was no more YOU, there was just a vast US...one large throbbing crowd of ecstasy. All woven together by a tapestry of song being played out by this small, but yet somehow very large, singer on the stage.
A line behind us, I heard a cry and turned around to see a girl drop to a dead faint on the floor. No one moved to help her, but Tarkan immediately saw what had happened and signalled to guards to pick her up. Before he began the next tune, he brought her up to the stage. The girl awoke to see Tarkan staring at her.
She's gonna faint again, I thought, but she did no such thing. She screamed his name and clung on to him as though her life depended on it.
Freeing himself from her embrace he asked quietly what she would like to hear next. She immediately said that she was English and didn't know the name of the song, but it was the one with the ballerina in it.
"Dön Bebegim you idiot," muttered Gonca in disgust. To my cousin, if you didn't know everything about Tarkan, you might just as well live with the man in the moon.
Tarkan nodded and with the girl still clinging to him, he began to sing the song acapella-style. After the first few lines, the music kicked in, and again we were mesmerized. His voice was CD perfect.
The heat from the stage and the crowd was intense, but it was a more warming scenario this time. He used every ounce of feeling that greater forces had seen fit to place in that small frame, to penetrate the crowd with his song. He sang deep into the core of the audience. Gonca had begun to cry and I hugged her. She laughed at me, as she wiped her snotty nose. "I wish they'd get that girl off the stage," she cried, "or get me up there!"
I have been to many concerts, but this was my first Turkish one and my first Tarkan concert. I couldn't believe how personal it was. It was like a one-to-one conversation in music, with one movement or one tone from his voice, he was able to control the whole emotion of his audience. He was absolute master on his own stage.
He gave his crowd strength to dance non-stop to his dance beats, he gave them voice to scream and shout, he gave everyone a new persona - in those couple of hours you felt you could be anything you wanted to be. Love between lovers was renewed, the stress of living fell off the backs of the weary, he injected the listeners with LIFE.
Of course there were breaks in the concert, where he changed his costume about three times and one whole period where Iskender Paydas played an instrumental version of Biz Nereye. But, you always felt Tarkan was there, in the background.
When he sang Vazgeçemem and Inci Tanem, he dedicated the songs to Turkey. He made a speech about how he missed his people and his country, and he thanked everyone there for their support. An English voice shouted, "We love you too!"
Tarkan laughed and replied, "That's why I'm here."
And when it was over and he waved goodbye to his fans, everyone screamed for him to come back. The chant of "Tarkan-Tarkan-Tarkan" was louder than ever before. It went on non-stop for about 5 minutes and everyone refused to clear the arena. I thought that there would be calls from the guards to leave, but Tarkan came out again!
We all waved and cheered. He sang "Şımarık" one final time and left, and this time we felt that he REALLY had left. The aftermath of that magic was still inside us, but we knew that he had gone.
"I thought you weren't gonna go crazy?" Gonca asked me breathlessly as we all pushed towards the exit.
"Me?" I said indignantly. "When did I go crazy?"
"I've never seen you rock your head so much in all my life," she laughed.
And we were laughing all the way back to her house.
You can also read about a Tarkan concert in 2003 by Turkish journalist Can Dündar, translated into English, by clicking here.