Recorded 9/26/98 at the Bercy Arena in Paris, you can feel the intense energy of these three great artists, and the response from the sold-out audience of 18,000...I love the sound of the women ululating in the distance.
It's a sensational concert, and it gets better with each hearing. The musicianship is stupendous, from several groups of instrumentalists, set in clusters on the stage, and at times playing as one. The technical problems of recording this concert must have been daunting, but the results are wonderful. The sound and balance is above average for a live performance. Total time is 76:44.
My favorites are the gorgeous, sensual "Wahrane, Wahrane", sung by the King of Rai, Khaled...this song has the more traditional Arabic orchestration, with strings and oud. Faudel's "Tellement N'Brick, is over 9 minutes of throbbing rai at its best...the intro alone is worth the purchase of this CD. Faudel is a superb singer, and also recommended is his latest solo CD, "Samra".
"Ya Rayah" is one of the five songs these fabulous singers perform together, and it will thrill you. Its rhythmic pulse and melody make dancing to it irresistible, and it should have been the real and fitting finale to this CD. The choice of ending with the studio recording of the bland "Comme d'Habitude" (the original French version of what later Paul Anka would turn into "My Way"), is inexplicable...though actually quite good, it pales in comparison to the rest of the CD, and "Ya Rayah" would be a hard act to follow for any song.
I hardly understand a word that is sung on this CD, but I get the message...there's an irrepressible, life-affirming joy that emanates from it, and shows how art transcends all barriers.