For the last 3 or 4 songs of Tarkan’s concert on Sunday night I walked around the vicinity of the venue. The concert was held on a dirt soccer pitch next to the main Mersin stadium and across the river from work.
The stage was huge with the speaker stacks to the left and right lifted up by cranes. A giant screen or two allowed the ladies to examine Tarkan’s hairstyle and clothing up close.
From my count, there were 9 semi trailers and 3 tour buses patiently waiting behind the stage to take the stage and crew to the next concert destination.
The petrol company and Koc subsidiary Opet are sponsoring Tarkan’s “Full Force” concert tour with Full Force being an Opet brand name. The Full Force banners were, dare I say it, in full force around the concert perimeter. When people bought 60 million TL of petrol at Opet service stations they received a free ticket. Commercialisation of Turkish music is quite common and it seems there is no such thing as ‘selling out’.
With the petrol/ticket offer and the low price of 15 million TL for tickets bought separately it was no surprise Tarkan fans completely filled the pitch. The fans were largely female of course. I don’t know if his female ‘worshippers’ realise Tarkan ‘plays for the other side’, so to speak.
Fans were also watching from the top of the stadium stand, the upper-level apartment balconies, across the river and on the bridge behind the stage. Across the river near the military base there were hundreds of people. One of the soldiers standing at guard was even jiving his hips.
More police than a NATO summit (well, not quite) surrounded the concert. The riverbank closest to the concert was blocked off to all but police and a selected few children. I guess those children were their sons and daughters!
The concert covered the usual hits and I could recognise (but not name) most of the songs. Tarkan’s latest single ‘Gunduz Gece’ is a cover of a Turkish classic. I guess his svengalis found it difficult to produce another original hit.
At various times pyrotechnics, glitter and fancy lighting decorated the stage.
The second encore completed the concert. Shortly afterwards two vans sped from the backstage area and a few minutes later a white sedan cruised away. I guess Tarkan was in one of these vehicles. I’m sure his management have the after concert escape sequence well and truly proficient by now after several years of practice.
The shops near the stadium sold record amounts of drinks and associated products. Huseyin abi’s shop sold out of small bottles of water and certain brands of cigarettes and nearly finished off the cans of coke.
That was the Tarkan experience. I have now seen Turkey’s most famous living human in person. I will let you guess Turkey’s most famous dead person… I don’t plan on seeing him, well, at least for several decades!