Sunday 27 May 2012

Mariah Carey Performs at Mawazine Festival in Morocco

What more could I ask for on a sunny Sunday afternoon than a bunch of Mariah Carey performances to watch and review!! Seriously, I love me some Mariah!

Sounding in better form, vocally, than her last live set in Austria [here], Mariah Carey  graced the Mawazine Festival in Morocco with her presence and hefty back catalogue in a one off concert for the Moroccan people. 

Below are the performances, as well as my views on them. I'd love to hear what you guys thought in the comments!

NOTE: Anyone who suffers from sea sickness might prefer to listen to the audio, oppose to watching the clips. The camera does get pretty vomit inducing with a constant "swaying" motion when its panned out from the stage. You have been warned!!

It's Like That
"If you're filming please try to get the good angle". Got to love Mariah Carey and her audience interaction. The raspy edge to her belt was really noticeable here, but worked really with the song. She was clearly enjoying her time back on stage.

Probably the weakest performance of the set, was blatant problems with the playback. There was some nice use of her head voice at 4.25 but overall a forgettable rendition of Honey.

Shake It Off
Mariah turns stand up comedian again, lamenting her "pain"at other singers copying her shiny microphone stand. The performance itself was nice enough.

My All
This performance showed two things. Firstly how Mariah is becoming more and more comfortable, and at home, being on stage, aptly illustrated by her dialogue with the audience. And secondly also how strong and easily accessible her lower range is. I wonder if her voice will continue to go south as she ages.

Love Hangover / Heartbreaker (medley)
Mariah having fun with the melody of Heartbreaker and working the stage like a Supermodel working a runway. Though I would have loved for her to have sung a Donna Summer song, it was nice that Mariah gave the recently deceased star a mention during the disco infused medley.

Always Be My Baby
Probably my favourite performance of the song since she's started singing it again in recent years. Loved how she drifted between her airy and solid timbre during the melisma in the verses. Her fitness regime really seems to be working, as Mariah was running around at the end and not showing signs of breathlessness! This will only help her ability to hit and maintain those notes.

We Belong Together
Loved this performance and the switched up vocal during its coda. This performance was fully live, I think (though the double voice at 3.15 might lead a more sceptical listener to think they've recorded a new ending to the song). If it was fully live then its a feat not seen since her first performance of We Belong Together at BET Blue Print in 2005 [here].

Can't Take That Away (Mariah's Theme)
A fan favourite that Mariah hasn't sung in a while, so I was surprised when it turned up on this set-list! 3.20 and 4.10 were definitely lipped as somebody screwed up the levels on the playback, meaning it was noticeably lower than the microphone volume.

Touch My Body
Mariah gave the crowd a cute little Arabic (I assume) ditty, while her earpiece was fixed. Really did the trick waking them up! The impromptu intro to the song and the little a capella she performed at the end to test the monitor was unfortunately more exciting than the performance itself. I did like how she attempted the big notes here, so props to Mrs Carey- Cannon for that!

Another song, in addition to Touch My Body, which has too much backing to translate well into a live setting. Yep, there was playback at the end.

I'll Be There
The way Mariah and Trey Lorenz riffed and bounced off of each other was really nice. The chemistry is still as strong- if not stronger- as it was all those years ago when they first performed the Jackson 5 Classic I'll Be There during her MTV Unplugged set [watch here].

Underneath The Stars
Fan favourite, and clearly one of Mariah's too, if her opening monologue is anything to go by. What I got most from this performance was that her "whisper" register is sounding fuller and stronger, if a little harder to navigate. The raspy and coarser edge to her belt at 4.39 sounded great, but its starting to confirm my feelings that a C5 is becoming the top of her comfortable belting range.

Showcasing the strength of her midrange here and sounding almost exactly like she did in the 90's! The sustained, and controlled belt at the bridge was encouraging, as was the application of her beautiful vibrato! This sounded fully live to me.

Without You / Butterfly Outro
This was a confusing performance, with strange things going on with the vocals. Though it sounded great, there were weird discrepancies with the sound produced- notice the jolt to the vocal at 3.00 and audible double Mariah voices going on. Was very odd.

Conclusion: I can't knock a girl when she's giving me what I've always wanted from her : less robot-like, recorded renditions, and instead a more human, fun and looser style that showcases her musicality. As such this has been my favourite concert of recent years from Mariah. If she continue with the improvement and growth she's demonstrated between recent performances, then by the time her next CD comes out Mariah Carey will be in fine vocal form to school this new era of Divas.


  1. Wow DD! You been busy, I heard bout this performances and wondered when you would post about them!

    All I am saying is I love MC and I am so glad she is back on it (and better than ever) sure she might mime sometimes but with a voice like hers its easily forgiven! Here though she does sound live more the most part!

    Awesome work dude!

  2. did anyone notice that she didn't let the backing vocals sing the begining of "Underneath the stars"? She looks at them and makes a hand signal. WHY? I did not understand!

  3. That's the smart Mariah I always liked to see. Older singers like Celine Dion ALWAYS changes the rithem and the tempo of the songs so she does not need to hit the high notes all the time. Mariah finaly understood that.

  4. Totally! I've been wanting her to do it for what seems like forever!

  5. I wish she would just cut the lip-syncing crap period, she doesn't tour that heavily so I don't see the need for playback, She has nodules, but there are others who have performed 10x as much as she has with nodules as well that haven't lipped a day in their lives. Sure her songs are difficult, but if it's becoming a problem to perform them in a live setting switch it up live or don't create something in studio that you intend to sing live but aren't able to pull off. She's constantly praised for her improvisational skills so she should but them to good use and find a creative way to pull off the notes she can't hit instead of playing the a pre-recorded track and so forth. I hope this didn't come across in an aggressive manner, but lately I've been in a very anti lip-syncing mood :P I do like that she is doing it less per se, but the fact that it is still there is irritating to me.
    She is sounding better than she did for most of the last decade, her voice has definitely taken on a thinner and coarser texture as the years have gone by. It's noticeable that she is singing outside of her range now, I agree that C5 seems to be the last comfortable note in her throat.
    I am not so much a fan of her voice currently, as it pales to it's former glory but all power to her for continuing to march on in her musical career.

  6. no question her voice isnt as good as when she was younger but that is understandable and for me she will always be the vocal standard 

  7. i'm from saudi and i love morrocan people and i love american music and i really respect Mariah but i think you should know that arabic singers are better then any other singers her name is asalah she was paying tribute to another arabic who died the same day donna summer died her name is warda al-jazairiah. asalah is as old as mariah but she still has an amazing voice and her runs and dynamics are amazing. she is now the best arabic singer but there singers before that were way better.

  8. Dancingdarkribbon29 May 2012 at 19:43

    I'm not sure if C5 is truly the most accessible of her. It seems low, even for her. A little while ago, you stated during her performance of shake it off that she hit a D5. Not to mention when I saw her live, I think she went up to an F, or possibly a G and it sounded decent (a little raspy and hoarse, but, not terrible). Her vocals can't be as smooth as they were anymore, she's belted, went to incredible octaves, etc. way too much for that to be realistic, but, I wouldn't quite say C5 is the top of her comfortable belting range. But, then again, I don't recall Mariah ever belting out anything other than C5 for more extended belts. Hopefully as she continues to stray from the alcohol for her kiddies, her chords will get much better. But, to state that it's the comfortable part of it sounds like an implication that other parts of it aren't great/satisfactory. Or maybe I'm reading too much into your post, DD. I think her vocals and her belts are going to be just fine, or, at the very least, stagnating. After all, just recently (FLAB) she's hit some of the highest belts in her career. I can't imagine her plummeting that quickly, especially when she's been trying to recover and grow her voice so it'll go back to its glory days. 

  9. hey! Thats not to say she can't sing higher than a C5. Its just from that point the clarity seems to go. The D5, if i remember right, wasn't sung. It was when she was making a shout out to the audience during the intro to shake it off.   So just to clarify, the range is still there IMO it's just changing texturally. I hope thats cleared that  up :D 

  10. It frustrates me when fans compare about playback... I feel sorry for Mariah. All the time when she's singing some vocally demanding hit from yesteryear like Hero, she's probably thinking "God, how I ever sang this I do not know."
    She's 42, far past her physical peak of...well, anything to do with her body, meaning her voice hasn't been in fine form for a good 16 years now. She makes effort where it's due, attempts to do big notes that are not to gruelling for her, and her lipping for the most part is realistic and well done. The climax to We Belong Together is undoubtedly lipped (perhaps I am one of those sceptical listeners you speak of), but if she sounds like that in the studio then I don't care, I just want her to sound decent on CD as that's what the majority will listen to.
    Mariah... Keep doing what you're doing. Don't put so much strain on your voice just because 60% of your fans are hoping that 1992 Mariah will just pop out of your mouth. I actually like how she went to the effort to make a new pre-recording for We Belong Together, so effort where it's due.

  11. are the lines at 3:50 and 4:05 for shake it off lipped or not, DD? ive been in a debate with a friend about this and i'd really like your input! it sounds like her voice just isn't at the volume it should be as the backtrack takes over, which i guess is understandable since it's live.

  12. Actually I think the last time We Belong Together was completely live was at the Grammy's in 2006

  13. I hope she does think about how her new songs will translate live while recording the new album. Also totally agree with you about changing up the melodies and not using play back.