A.R.Rahman Concert in Mumbai

(A post by Aishwarya)

I attended my second Rahman concert on 26th May. We reached DY Patil stadium way ahead of time. The entire area from the stadium, to the road outside DY Patil college and SIES college were packed. Everyone was running from one end to another either looking for the entrace or the web counter to collect their passes.

We were at our gate by 4.15 but it was not opened yet.  It was probably one of the hottest days of the summer. We didn’t have a choice but to just wait. The wait was quite fun actually. It was very exciting to hear the rehearsal that was going on inside. We could hear Hosanna and Jiya Jale. We also struck up a conversation with a Telugu lady who had come to Mumbai from Pune just for the concert. Thankfully they didn’t keep us waiting too long. The gates opened, everyone cheered and screamed, and a girl who was ahead of me fainted before entering the gate. The heat really was that bad.

We found decent seats and settled down. The concert was to begin only at 6.30 and we still had around 1.5 hours to pass. We bought overpriced popcorn and coke and chatted away until the concert began. At 7, the stage lit up. Times of India ads began to pop up on the screens. Slowly names of Rahman’s albums began to appear on the screens as Naveen played the theme of Bombay. All the names from Roja to Uzhavan to Takshak to Rockstar were shown on the screen. What an amazing start to the concert it was!

A minute or two later, the drummer started off with an extended solo which led to the second song of the concert – Nadaan Parindey. This was obviously Rahman’s introduction and the entire stadium erupted. After that, the stage turned red as Rahman moved on to Dil Se Re. He was slightly off-key but made it work.

The track list then moved further back in time with songs from Rangeela. The title track, Tanha Tanha and the Theme were performed by both Neeti Mohan and Shweta Pandit. The theme was the best among them. It stayed very, very faithful to the original.

Next, the cameras focused on Asad Khan. It was obvious what was coming up and I braced myself. He started playing the sitar but dived into Mausam & Escape only a few minutes later. It was amazing to hear it live. This was followed by a mix of How Many Stars (which I had never heard before.) and Ishq Bina.

Then came one of my favourite performances of the night. Vijay Prakash took the stage to sing Manmohini, while Shweta Pandit sang along to the Tu Muskura section of the song. I have never been very fond of songs from Yuvvraj, but I really enjoyed them at the concert.

After a slightly lukewarm reception to the previous two performances, the audience came alive again when they heard the intro keys of Lukka Chuppi. I was wondering who would sing the female lead, and it was Lata Mangeshkar. She was not on stage, but a video of her singing the song some years ago at a concert was shown on the screens, while Rahman sang his lines for us live.

Arr_mumbai_concert_collage


Image Courtesy: Meera – @MeeMeera and Archana

He introduced the next song by telling us how it always found great response from people even if they didn’t understand all the words. It was Jiya Jale. I think Shweta Pandit and Neeti Mohan performed it together, not too sure.

There was a small break where they showed the official video of the Jaare Ud Jaare, the Hindi version of Naan Varuven, on the screens. It was the first time I heard the Hindi version. As much as I would have enjoyed Naan Varuven, this was good too.

The lights focused on the stage again where Rahman was at his piano and it looked like they were ready for an unplugged session. Excitement! Rahman sang Only You, Rehna Tu and the title track of JTYJN, and Mohit Chauhan joined in with Phir Se Ud Chala and Tum Ho. As soon as it ended, one girl who sitting behind said, “Why are they singing half-half?” Medley, anyone?

Later came in Sachin Tendulkar who was given a standing ovation for almost 5 minutes. After a while, My sister noted -“This is a Rahman concert. People are cheering more for Sachin than for Rahman!” Oh well.

Anyway, Rahman was back with a 20 minute Sufi set. He, along with Javed Ali and Chauhan sang Kun Faya Kun, part of Arziyan and Khwaja. Totally otherworldly. I didn’t think they would sing all three!

After Katiya Karoon, came the song I was eagerly waiting for – Hosanna. And in Tamil. Finally, I thought. It is such a fun song to sing along to! It was totally Vijay Prakash’s evening. He had decided to completely own the stage. This time it was Roja Jaaneman. This was easily my favourite performance of the entire concert. The arrangement of the song was different from the original. The orchestra was more grand and had a richer sound. It did not diminish the quality of the song at all. It actually made it more refreshing! I am now Vijay Prakash’s newest fan.

There were more Tamil songs later. Rahman sang Humma Humma and surprise surprise – Irumbile Oru Idhayam. And Suresh Peters came to sing Chikku Bukku and Pettai Rap. I didn’t know it was him until few hours ago! Again, the arrangement of Chikku Bukku and Pettai Rap was totally different but sounded fantastic. It was an insane 20-25 minutes although there was an awkward silence all around me.

It was a predictable end with Sadda Haq, Roobaroo (Naresh Iyer was sorely missed) and Vande Mataram.

The evening was let down a little by a couple of things. The biggest disappointment for me was the drumming. It was atrocious. It rarely synchronized with the songs and stood out oddly. Secondly, the absence of more established singers. The entire concert banked on a handul of singers. Where were the others? Also, the sound could’ve been better, especially when Rahman was speaking to the audience. I could barely understand what he was saying. And the worst – people in the audience calling for Sachin and chanting his name between songs, even after he was gone.

But there were enough positives to make up for the above. Roja Jaaneman, Manmohini morey, Mausam & Escape and the Tamil songs were the high points . The lighting throughout the night was highly impressive. There was a lot of dancing on stage but fortunately it didn’t distract us from the singing. Naveen was amazing as always with the flute. But the star was the lady who played the violin. Harish reminded me, “there was also performed an improvised version of Raga’s Dance from Choreography with Ann Marie Calhoun (I guess) on the violin and the rest of the singers harmonizing for the aalaaps..”

On the whole, it was a great evening. They performed almost 40 songs! That is a LOT. I feel lucky to have been able to attend the concert. Watching it live is infinitely better than wa
tching it on Youtube later.  I am now looking forward to more soon!

Here is the tracklist. I don’t know how far the sequence is right. Thanks Harish for helping me with it!

1.Bombay theme – Bombay
2.Nadaan parindey – Rockstar
3.Dil se re – Dil se
4.Rangeela Re – Rangeela
5.Tanha Tanha- Rangeela
6.Rangeela Theme – Rangeela
7.Mausam and escape – Slumdog Millionaire
8.How many stars – Bombay Dreams
9.Ishq bina – Taal
10.Manmohini Morey – Yuvvraj
11.Tu Muskura – Yuvvraj
12.Lukka chuppi – RDB
13.Jiya Jale- Dil se
14.Gurus Of Peace – Vande Mataram
15.Jaare Ud jaare – Raavan
16.Only You – Vande Mataram
17.Rehna Tu – Delhi 6
18.Tum Ho – Rockstar
19.Tu bole main boloon – JTYJN
20.Phir se ud chala – Rockstar
21.Jo Bhi main – Rockstar
22.Jai Ho – Slumdog Millionaire
23.Latika’s Theme – Slumdog Millionaire
24.Raga Dance – Taal
25.Kun Faya Kun – Rockstar
26.Arziyan – Delhi 6
27.Khwaja – Jodha Akbar
28.Katiya Karoon – Rockstar
29.Hosanna – VTV
30.RDB title track – RDB
31.Roja Jaaneman – Roja
32.Chaiyya – Dil se
33.Humma Humma – Bombay
34.Chikku Bukku – Kadhalan
35.Pettai Rap – Kadhalan
36.Irumbile Oru Idhayam – Endhiran
37.Sadda Haq – Rockstar
38.Roobaroo – RDB
39.Vande Mataram – Vande Mataram

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2 thoughts on “A.R.Rahman Concert in Mumbai

  1. Nachiket

    I was trying to download a track sung by Vijay Prakash in this concert as i had also attended this concert and just read by your blog. Reading the complete thing made all my memories fresh. It was truly a lovely, mesmerizing evening. Thanks for refreshing all my memories. 🙂

    Reply

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