Been there, saw that · Tajikistan

Tajikistan part 2: Sadriddin live in Dushanbe!


One lovely day we were driving through the streets of Dushanbe (this rhymes!) and I saw a sign promoting a concert of Sadriddin & Ghazaal Enayat. I was mostly interested in Sadriddin, because this was a concert in his own country. I wanted to see how he will perform, how the audience will react to him and the overall vibe of a concert like that. For those who don’t know, Sadriddin is a pretty big pop singer from Tajikistan. Even I, who almost never listens to contemporary pop music from Afghanistan and Tajikistan (I am stuck in the past, let me be), has heard of him.

I jokingly mentioned the concert to the people sitting with me in the car, we said that it might be fun to go but never really elaborated further on that. There were three back to back concerts starting on the 20th of March until the 22nd of March. I kind of forgot about the concert in the following days. While on my way to a different city on the 21st of March I remembered that this is the only night I could attend the concert, due to returning to Dushanbe and not having anything planned. I called a friend who is from Tajikistan, and asked her if she could buy the tickets. It was very last moment, so the chances of there being any tickets available was pretty small. However, she did call me back and said she had scored two tickets! Unfortunately, those were for the 22nd of March, and on that day I was far far away from Dushanbe. She then tried to change the date, it worked miraculously and we got tickets for the 21st of March! Woohoo!


Our row number was 27 and chairs 14 and 15. I thought, since the venue looked big from the outside, that our row wouldn’t be that much in the back of the building. Boy, was I wrong! We went inside and were guided to go upstairs, I still didn’t think we will be extremely far away until we started looking at the row numbers and row 27 was the last row on the second floor. My seat was the final seat in the venue, behind me was a wall. It was on the second floor so I was able to see something and with my camera I could zoom in for a bit of a better view, that’s why I decided to not be ungrateful and just be happy for the fact that I am there! A last moment Sadriddin concert in Dushanbe isn’t something I will be doing often so why be worried about a minor thing like my row.
IMG_1195When we walked towards row 27 we noticed that the chairs didn’t have a number (or the number wasn’t visible), and everyone was counting in a way that it would benefit them. One started counting from the middle, other from the left end of the row. You can imagine that at a sold out concert things can get hectic with this kind of a system. We eventually found our seats. At first I was pretty surprised by how smoothly it went, people were helping each other saying which seat number they have but the closer we got to the starting time of the concert the more people stopped caring about their seatnumber and started sitting wherever was empty. At one point I noticed a young guy with a big group kind of claiming spots which weren’t his but since he was a bit buffed and loud people just went to sit somewhere else. There also was another man, with his family who weirdly put his wife on one seat, his one child on a whole different row and seat and he himself with another child in our row. The moment I saw these two I knew at one point they would clash, two loud and controlling people sitting that close to eachother, it can never go right. They were by the way the first people from Tajikistan I saw acting this, the majority of the people I met were incredibly polite and friendly!

The concert was getting closer to a start. To warm up the audience two presenters started asking people questions. Let me be honest, I really felt as if I will be the only one from the Netherlands and felt kind of special but guess what, the first person to speak was also an Afghan from the Netherlands! What are the odds, we Dutchies are everywhere! When a few people said some nice things about Nawrooz the presenters walked away and the show could start. The band started playing, first the percussion instruments and then the rest slowly joined and suddenly there was Sadriddin! The crowd went wild, girls started screaming of course, there was dancing. Fun, fun, fun!


All of a sudden I noticed, well everyone in my row and the row in front of me noticed, the old guy I mentioned before yelling at the girls next to him that they shouldn’t be so loud. Which is pretty strange, considering it is a concert and filled with young people. If he wanted a quiet night he should have stayed at home. Apparently the girls sitting next to him were the friends of the younger loud guy, o happy happy joy joy! So he yelled back asking him to leave his friends alone. The vibe is a bit less enjoyable of course when two people are discussing with one another during a concert, and then I saw the old guy storm out. My friend from Tajikistan also left, she got a phone call so she had to take it outside. So there I was, sitting there by myself. Now the girls started discussing with the old man’s wife, I didn’t understand a word but they didn’t seem very happy with each other. The old guy comes back and the young one starts running towards him, at this point I got a bit worried. I thought he was going to hit him or something because he ran towards him. To my surprise he grabbed his hand and started apologizing for screaming at him earlier and explaining that it’s Nawrooz and he and his friends just want to have fun. It looked as if the apologies were accepted, even though I thought the older guy was in the wrong to begin with.


Meanwhile, the concert was still in place and the rows in front were enjoying themselves while my row was in a bit of an awkward situation even after the apologies. I just tried to shake it off and got back into a positive vibe, my friend finally came back and told me to grab my bag because we are changing seats. She is a very proactive lady, so when she walked away for her phone call she also spoke to someone from security and said there were two people arguing and ruining the moment and she also said that she had a guest from abroad in here and she didn’t want me to have a bad image of Tajikistan. This worked, I don’t think I can make something like this work in the Netherlands! We went downstairs and the whole time I was wondering how they would manage this since the concert was sold out. They put two plastic chairs on the parts where people can walk between the rows and suddenly I went from barley seeing Sadriddin to sitting right under his (gorgeous) nose! The woman next to me had her little child on a seat and decided to give up that seat for me so that I won’t have to sit on a plastic chair. This was very sweet! During the concert I did offer to go back to my chair but she refused. My friend was seated in front of me. Everything was settled and we could finally enjoy ourselves, I really hope the two males on the second floor eventually got to be more chill for the sake of the women around them who were there to have fun.

During the show people would walk towards Sadriddin and hand him a present or flowers, they would even take a picture with him, all this while he was still singing. At one point I asked my friend what the deal was with all the flowers, exactly at that moment the guy sitting next to her also stood up with a huge bouquet! It turned out that he was another famous singer from Tajikistan, Sadriddin’s best friend! As I said, I am not really up to date with these things. He went on stage and they started singing acapella together. It sounded wonderful! You can watch it in the video below.
The concert was really good! Way better than what I expected. Super energetic and his voice was nice, he can sing very well live. He was involved with the crowd continuously. He seemed very genuine. I am happy and grateful that my friend made it possible for me to attend this concert.

If Sadriddin is going to perform in your town please go and see him! You won’t regret it.





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