Bryan Adams hails Karachi concert 'eye-opening', 'amazing'
It may have been a "dusty gig" but Canadian pop star Bryan Adams also hailed his landmark weekend concert in Pakistan as "amazing" and "an incredibly noble cause."
Adams, who spoke to CBC News by phone Wednesday morning from his latest concert stop in Doha, Qatar, made headlines last weekend for headlining a charity concert in Karachi.
Aimed at raising money for victims of the October 2005 earthquake, the musical event was billed as the first concert held in Pakistan by a major western artist since Sept. 11, 2001.
However, local officials told the Canadian singer and musician that it was the first of its kind.
"The concert we did there is the first big concert they've ever had there, never mind Sept. 11," he said of event, which he also called an "eye-opening experience."
Adams was recruited to perform by Pakistani pop star Shehzad Roy, who was his opening act and the founder of a charitable organization called Zindagi Trust.
The education advocacy group pays local children the equivalent of $2 per week to attend one of its 35 schools. It's an incentive to poor families to keep their kids in class rather than send them out as child labourers.
During his visit, Adams also attended a dinner with President Gen. Pervez Musharraf, where they discussed the massive, devastating quake that killed more than 85,000 people around Kashmir and in the northwest of Pakistan.
Adams, who has performed in countries across the Middle East and Asia, said he hopes the Karachi concert will set an example for other western singers and musicians to visit the region.
Having also performed in Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Dubai, Oman and India, Adams added, "I've discovered that there is an incredible following for us in this area and for a lot of other western artists."
"We had an absolutely amazing time [in Pakistan]," he said. "Never once did we ever feel that there was a problem with security…I met nothing but lovely people there."
In the last few months, several Hollywood stars have also travelled to the earthquake-devastated region in Pakistan with various United Nations agencies. In November, Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt toured the disaster zone, while Lucy Liu is in the area this week with UNICEF.