A: "Hey, we're going to Rahman concert, wanna come? Ticket is for 1000 bux"
Me: "Umm yeah sure.. "
A: "Cool its on coming sunday, see you"
Me: (already lost interest in the conv) "Yup"
Cut to the day of the concert
A (another A, a total Rahmaniac): "Let's reach there at 3, the gates are going to open at 3:30"
Me: "When is the concert starting?"
A: "7 o clock"
Me: "Mag itkya laukar kay zhadu marayla zaycha ka?"
Since I had no idea where exactly we were supposed to go, I had to go along with A (the crazy one) and another friend. I still dilly dallied, made the poor souls wait for me in the sun and managed to reach the venue at 3:15. We parked our bikes, and realized that we needed to walk at least a kilometer to find our line of "1000 bux". The line was like a mile long. Other "Rahmaniacs" had reached wayyy before and there was a snaking line like the one outside Siddhivinayak temple. A looked at me with a sad face and said "we are late." I felt bad. Really.
At 3:30 they started another line at the 1000 rupees gate and we rushed to join that line. By some stroke of dumb luck, i had decided to carry my jacket along. In this new line, we were around 50th... 3:30 turned to 4 excruciatingly slow. If I used the jacket for shade, there wud be no wind and i'd be sweating profusely. If not, then i'd be squinting against the sun, trying not to get a headache..
They finally let us through at 4:15. At this point A started running inside to catch seats in the first row of 1000 bux.. I was hoping there arent others like him coz it would have definitely started a stampede. We reached inside to see another gate where we were informed that we would be left in after 6:30.. There was no shade, no water, nothing they just expected us to stand in a straight line in the freaking hot sun for an hour and a half till they felt like letting us in..
I dont know what made them change their mind. They started letting us in after some time. We walked in hoping and praying for a covered stadium. Instead what do we see.. There was no shade whatsoever, it was an open air auditiorium. There was a ridiculously high fence in front of the 1000 rupees section which blocked all view of the stage and the big screen unless you sat extremely straight as if there is a metal rod in your back.
Anyway we caught the seats and waited around for the sun to go down. I was simply cursing myself for agreeing to this crazy ride. I was not even a big Rahman fan. (pay attention to the was..) Sleep deprivation was making me even more cranky and I was just wondering why the hell was it bloody summer when the sun would be up till 7pm practically. After borrowing my friend's sunglasses, I slipped into a fitful sleep interrupted ocassionally by the loud laughter of the group sitting behind us. I swear, they were continuously talking. As if they simply couldnt shut up.
We were sitting idle for about 3 hours and my friend felt like going to the loo just as the concert started. The ground was a live example of a japanese garden where there were many "levels" to add to the beauty of the ground (wtf!) It was so weird that it took us 10 mins to go to the loo that was right in front of us.. Anyway, we made it back to our seats just as Rahman came up on stage. At that moment, the magic started...
Uptil this point, I was cursing the organizers for not caring a damn about the audience and making us wait in the hot sun for almost 3 hours. Once the show started, I just forgot it all. The waiting, the sun, my lost sleep, my non-Rahmanmania everything..
Rahman came up on stage in a transparent lift that rose from the ground.. And everybody went wild.. Obviously there were many other singers apart from Rahman.. It wasnt about seeing Rahman on stage.. It was coming to terms with the fact that Rahman means music. When I came out of that concert, I felt like music had become a part of me. Not just his music, all music.. It wasnt just noise falling on my ears, it was something that made a direct connection to my heart.
Hariharan and Sadhna Sargam gave a beautiful rendition of Roja.. I couldnt believe I was screaming the words along with Hariharan.. After a point I just shut up coz he was singing so unbelievably well. This was followed by the rocking Delhi 6 number. It was at this point that I noticed the awesome graphics on the stage. There was a huge panel on the screen at a higher level and the graphics were continuously manipulated according to each song.. For Delhi 6 they had left alternating panels off, with the others showing D - E - L - H - I - 6.. The stage lighting was brilliant and obviously being changed according to the mood of the songs.
Among other memorable performances was Masakali by Raja Hasan. He is very talented and I hope he develops his own style soon so that he can become extremely successful. He just stole my heart with Masakali. Dreams on Fire was sung beautifully and the singer took an opera style high pitch that made us wonder if our glasses wil break.. Jokes apart, I had a lump in my throat when she finished, it was simply too beautiful..
Rahmania started all over again when Rahman came up on stage, this time standing on top of the lift which initially got him up. "Dil se re..." it really was.. He also sang a rocking Tamil song in which he kept going "Habibi" in between. Does anybody know which song this is? The best best best part of the entire concert was when Rahman looked at Hariharan and said "Its all about music, isnt it? Let's make music" and got behind his grand piano.. The big screen showed us his hands and their reflection playing amazing melodies. After a bit of Jugalbandi, Hariharan sang some song (dammit i dont remember) and then Roopkumar Rathod sang my most most most favorite song.. "Khamosh raat, sehmi havaaa tanha tanha dil apna.. " Ooooh I just went right back to the concert.
There was a young hot girl who was singing really well but I have no idea why she wasnt introduced on stage. She was the only singer who was dancing along with singing.. And dancing so well! Her belly dance had me screaming as she sung Mayya Mayya.. The idiot with the camera wasnt focussing on her. By chance towards the end of the song, she came in front of the camera and I saw her last few belly dance moves.. Totally totally awesome.. Another good performance was when a piece started with remix version of Taal. Just as people started cheering and clapping, the song smoothly transitioned into Ringa Ringa.. I simple couldnt believe my ears.. There was also a DJ piece where one line of many of Rahman's songs were all remixed together.. Damn cool!
The free hugs campaign song had me gaping in awe as the video of the song and Rahman's performance were in complete sync.. Jiya se jiya!
Rahman then obliged us by sitting near his harmonium and singing "Khwaja mere khwaja" and "Maula maula" for us.. It felt heavenly just listening to him but the best part was that I could feel his devotion as he sang. Devotion to God and to music. Last was of course Jai Ho.. Or so we thought.. I felt a strange pleasure in looking at him and screaming every Jai Ho. I caught almost all the Jai Ho's. And I genuinely wished ki Rahman ki Jai Ho.... Rahman did so much for us! He sang, came on top of a lift, played the grand piano, played the harmonium!
The show ended with a thousand fireworks and Vande Mataram.. So as we can all conclude at the end of this post.. I am a Rahmaniac now.. I actually actually screamed at the end of the concert a la Michael Jackson's fans type "RAHMAN WE LOVE YOU!!!" I was extremely tempted to tear open my clothes but I resisted the temptation since Rahman had already gone off stage..
So, in case you are wondering about the smug look on my face these days, its jsut that "I went to A R Rahman's concert! Jai Ho :D :D :D "