Calicut sings 'Jai Ho Rahman'  

Posted by Praveen in , , ,

The Ticket

AD 1498- Vasco Da Gama set his foot on Calicut. History was created.

AD 2009- Rahman arrives in Calicut. 1498 deleted from history books.

The land of Zamorins is no stranger to music of the highest class. Right from the Vadakkanpaattu to the popular mappilapaattu, this land has reverberated to the strains of music of the highest order for the past many centuries. And, when the emperor arrived here this Sunday, the land and its people welcomed him with open arms. A.R.Rahman, fresh from his double Oscar victory, announced his 'Jai Ho' world tour some weeks back giving rise to days of speculations on everything related to the tour. The 5 year long tour kicked off from God's own country, a place where he hasn't done a concert till date. The concerts are done as part of a charity initiative for the benefit of AIDS affected children.

We, the gang from Trivandrum landed in Calicut at 6 AM on the day of the concert. Our first destination after settling down at the lodge was the Corporation stadium, the venue of the concert. As we walked along the roads of this city with an old world charm, some big banners of the concert were on view at either side. We had a small peek inside the gates and caught a glimpse of the big stage. Then it was an impatient 4-5 hours for the gate to open as we explored different parts of the city. There were youth roaming around wearing 'Jai Ho' and 'ARR' T shirts. At around 4 O Clock, we came back to the stadium and was greeted by the sight of serpentine queues and a huge crowd outside the stadium. Luckily, we got into a small queue and soon we were trotting up the gallery. The crowd was beginning to build up. We settled near the top gallery a little left to the stage so as not to be blocked by the mixing and video consoles in the front. Diehard fans with banners were on view. The sun was beating down hard. Slowly, the noise began to increase. Then, it all came out synchronised as chants and cheers for Rahman. By 6 30, the stadium was full to the brim. The gallery was the happening place with innovative slogans, mexican waves and the truely awesome mobile waving excercise. The sounds were being checked and the background props arranged. The show was supposed to start at 7 PM and there was no sign of ARR even at 7 30 PM. This delay, as I came to know later, happened because of some last minute problem with the feedback system. Even with the delay, the crowd frenzy didn't die down. We started the soccer style 'Jai Ho' chant which was later heard reverberating from the whole gallery. Catchy Rahman tunes were used as slogans by many. It went on..
The crowd at 6 PM(Pic courtesy-My Mobile cam)

At 7 45 PM, the lights dimmed. The stage alone was shining amidst the darkness.The beats of 'Shano Shano' were heard. Soon, Sayanora, the Kerala girl came in welcoming the crowd to the upcoming musical extravaganza. The step like pedestal at the centre turned on its centre to reveal Asad sitting with a Sitar on his lap. The strains of the brilliant track 'Mausam and escape' were heard. Sanjeev Thomas and Rashid Ali on guitars gave him company. But, still there was one problem. None of us could hardly hear it. Yes, the sound system sucked to the core. And then came the very moment we all were waiting. The train beats of 'O Saya' were heard and in came into the spotlight the man, his music and the magic. We all let our throats on a free run as we screamed, jumped and cried out his name. Sayanora came back to sing 'Athiradi' with him. Then came the first surprise. Rahman started singing the first lines of his wildly popular malayalam song 'Padakali'. And from both sides of the stage came 2 men in Kathakali masks and dummy swords. Geore Peter and Benny Dayal breezed through the song. Hariharan came on stage to sing 'Roja Janeman' without taking his mic and he shared Sadhna's mic as he effortlessly displayed his improvisational range. 'Masakali' from Raja Hasan was a treat and he almost sounded like Mohit. Next was 'Jiya Se Jiya', the free hugs song from the maestro himself. Its from this song that we began to realise how much Sivamani's drumming was missed. I hate IPL for robbing Siva from us. By this time, the songs were audible everywhere but still the mixing and overall quality were pathetic. Its to be noted that this is ARR's first concert after the demise of the man behind all his sonic perfection, H.Sridhar. So, the quality of sound output was below par compared to his usual concerts.
Rahman singing 'O Saya'(Pic courtesy-Rediff)

One of the most noteworthy points of the concert was the visuals that were shown at the background for each song. Each song had a separate visual that went with the theme of the song. Also, the lighting was superb. The stage was designed in 2 levels with a revolving step like structure at the centre. Even with all this, the most important flaw remained- the poor sound quality. Blaaze rocked the audience with 'Style'. The choreography was well synchronised and well presented for most of the songs. Chitra filled in well for Sujata in the song 'Netru Illadha'. Still, Sujata was sorely missed. 'Malargale' had both Chitra and Hariharan in rocking form with a hell lot of improvisation going in. Rashid Ali sung a beautiful english intro song before venturing into 'Kabhi Kabhi Aditi'. ARR was back on stage with 'Rehna Tu'. We were in for a surprise as we waited for that 2 minute piece played on a continuum in the end. There was no continuum. Instead Rahman hummed it beautifully well. The opening beats of 'Taal Se Taal' morphed into 'ringa ringa', sung and danced to by a ravishing Neeti Mohan and Sayanora.

In the middle of all this, politicians were at hand to play spoilsport. A guy came on stage and said 'We are gonna have a small program without any speeches.' Then, we saw all those VIPs trotting on stage to get a share of the spotlight. The function was supposed to distribute money to the AIDS affected children. Instead it stooped to the level of a self congragulatory excercise on the part of the local organisers and politicians. Anyway, the concert really blasted off after this short break. Blaaze and Benny rocked with the 'New' title track. There was a superb medley of 'Azeem-O-Shan' and 'veerapaandi kottayile', sung by ARR. Suzanne regaled with 'Dreams on fire'. Then, there was the highlight of the evening. A.R.Rahman, Javed Ali, Mohd Aslam and Raja Hassan sat down on the floor with harmonium and tablas in traditional sufi wear. ARR rode his finger effortlessly on the harmonium as they proceeded on to treat us to a medley of 'Khwaja mere khwaja' and 'Arziyan'. Rahman's sister Rehana came on stage to talk about their father and to introduce the song 'manasu manassinte' composed by R.K.Sekhar. The fire dance during 'Jiya Jale' went well with the song. Guitarist Sanjeev Thomas was flown over the crowds as he improvised some stuff which led to 'Mustafa'. The whole crowd was seen waving mobile phones. It was a sight to behold, too good to describe. There were some goof ups on part of ARR as well, like the instances were he forgot the lyrics or where he went slightly out of pitch. The songs that came up later were all foot tappers and the crowd lapped it up with constant dancing and singing along. The show ended with the superb medley of 'Jai Ho' and Vande Mataram'. Am sure there was not a single throat that didn't sing 'Jai Ho' with him there. This was accompanied by fireworks. As the show ended, it was a sense of accomplishment of having fulfilled a long standing dream of watching this man live in concert. Even after meeting him personally, this was one dream I carried all through and yes, now its fulfilled.

The song list(courtesy-Gopal Srinivasan of arrahmanfans yahoo groups, a blessed soul with loads of memory power)
1. Opening Act (DJ Medley) - Shano shano
2. Mausam and Escape - Asad on Sitar; Sanjeev Thomas, Raashid on guitars and Keith on bass
3. O Saya - ARR, Chorus
4. Athiradi - ARR, Sayonara
5. Padagali Chandi - George Peter, Benny Dayal
6. Tu Muskura - Sadhana Sargam (Bit)
7. Roja Janeman - Sadhana Sargam, Hariharan
8. Masakali - Raja Hassan
9. Jiya se Jiya - ARR
10. Style - Blaaze
11. Liquid Dance - Tracked
12. Guzarish - Javed Ali
13. Netru Illatha - Chitra
14. Malargale - Chitra, Hariharan
15. Kabhi Aditi - Raashid Ali
16. Rehna Tu - ARR, Chorus
17. Taal Se Taal ( western ) - Tracked
18. Ringa Ringa - Neeti Mohan, Sayonara
19. Kala bandar - Benny, Blaaze (Medley)
20. Gangster Blues - Blaaze, Tanvi (Medley)
21. New - Blaaze, Benny, Chorus (Medley)
22. Azeem O Shaan - ARR (Medley)
23. Rukumani - Chorus (Medley)
24. Veera Pandi - ARR, Chorus (Medley)
25. Latika's theme/Dreams on Fire - Suzanne
26. Khwaja mere Khwaja - ARR, Javed Ali, Aslam, Raja Hassan
27. Arziyan - ARR, JAved Ali, Aslam, Raja Hassan
28. Manasu Manasinte - Chitra (from Chotanikkara Amma, composed by RK
Shekar)
29. Kannalane - Chitra
30. Jiya Jale - Chitra
31. Aye hairaten - Sadhana Sargam, Hari
32. Vaaji Vaaji - Hari, Sadhana
33. Mustafa - ARR
34. Dhaka laga bukka - ARR (Bit)
35. Pappu Cant Dance - Benny, Chorus
36. Aye Bachu - Suzanne
37. Urvasi - ARR
38. Taxi Taxi - Benny, Blaaze, Chorus
39. Humma - ARR
40. Jai Ho - ARR, Tanvi, Chorus
41. Vandemataram - ARR, All artistes

PS- They should allow cameras inside the concert venues. What do they think? We are gonna broadcast it to BBC? I sorely missed clicking pics at the show.

PPS-A load of insults to the ones who did the sound settings for this show. You guys suck bigtime. Also, reputed newspapers like Mathrubhoomi should stop writing pure rubbish just to hype up the concert. For example, the news that Rahman will fly close to the audience in a bullet proof glass case. Also, the news of hollywood and Bollywood celebrities turning up(Thank God, they didn't). Then, the news that Rahman won't be doing a concert in India in another 5 years. And for the info of the guys at Mathrubhoomi, Rahman's next concert is scheduled on May 31st at Pune. Yes, Pune happens to be in India. Come on guys, how could you even think of printing such rubbish on your front page?

For more pics, check this link-Kerals pics

your crusader Praveen

This entry was posted on Wednesday, May 06, 2009 at Wednesday, May 06, 2009 and is filed under , , , . You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments feed .

16 comments

Buddy, I missed this big time !! However bad the sound was, it shouldve been one hell of an experience. Any idea of a concert in Chennai or even Blore ?

1:06 AM

Very vivid description. I could visualize the ecstasy and frenzy of the crowd very well. Thank you :-)

7:17 AM

Wow! Good you made it! Its a pity that cameras were not allowed in there!

Nonetheless, I'm sure you guys had a good time!

31 May in Pune? I gtg for it!

10:09 AM

Looked like a great concert.

11:58 AM

Thanks for the report man.Nice to hear you enjoyed it, err, with appologies to the sound engineers..(Dont know which emoction to use here)

Its a big miss for me by the way.

2:04 PM

Glad to hear that it rocked! My only peeve was the prohibitively high ticket prizes!

3:11 PM

Hey...i wuz der too!! had a fabuluos time..one f de best shows i hv been to! loved listenin to many a personal favz!! :) :) :)

n yea, hardly does calicut get such a chance...the press n media did go a tad too overboard!! hehe!!

8:54 PM

wow... sounds like the concert ROCKED (irrespective of its flaws)! i envy u...!

nicely written review. and good observation skills. i felt like having been at the concert myself after seeing ur pics and hearing the description! :-)
keep it coming!

12:09 AM

@vimmu
both Chennai and Bangalore will be on the list for sure...Its a 5 year long tour..so dont know about the dates as of now

@Nasrajan
thanks a lot:)

@Rakesh
Hope to read a report from you after may 31

@Anthony
Indeed!

@scorpiogenius
thanks for linking this in skyscraper forum..:)

@rockus
man, u cud've come for 500, the gallery ticket...we enjoyed like hell there...

@sashu
hmmm...shud've told earlier..we cud've met thr and I cud've got a treat from you as you were the hostess

@Ashwathy
thanks a lot for those kind words..Do drop in here again..

12:46 AM

i will... which is why I am blogrolling you :-)

10:49 AM

I think u r the most fanatical fan of A.R Rahman :P
I liked ur style of writing..

Cameras shud b allowed..

Bollywood celebs and politicians have to barge in to hog limelight

1:24 PM

@aswathy
thanks..am also doing the same..

@swats
yes yes..fanatical abt him..hehhee:D

10:30 PM

Praveen, anytime bro, anytime :)
So you trod Skyscrapercity in between! Good. You still havent registered? I would be wonderful to see some pics of Tvm through your camera. :)

3:37 AM

Pretty vivid description.Sadly I missed it, and so happy to hear he didn't play the continuum and that Sivamani wasn't there! :) oops, sorry :( .
Even I was really surprised to see ads of ARR @ Pune on May 31st after all d hype i heard abt how he will not be performing in India for 5 yrs!

9:47 PM

I am speechless for this one ....a if u have presented the whole concerts in words .. its your passion that make the words come live ....

media is rubbish ...and getting worse by the day ...

8:39 PM

well written mate.. i was there too at the concert.. The concert was tooo gud (despite sound mixing problems, echo,blaaze had personal problems)

I was at rs.2000 stands man.. that vvvvips stands suck big time.. it was as though they are listening to some carnatic concert..emotionless..500 stands rockks..

Second half(interrupted by politicans) was fantafabulous..fast numbers..benny rocked with his dancing skills in "paappu.."

3:04 PM

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