February 10th, 2007 – Till then, the only dream that we (my sister and I) had was just to get a glimpse of the man whose music meant the most to us. On that day, it got fulfilled!!! We are yet to believe that it wasn’t a dream after all! 🙂
February 9th, 2008 – Little did we expect that exactly a year later, we will get to see A.R.Rahman again and that too see him perform live in a concert!
Seeing the ad on the newspaper on the 7th morning, my father told my sister and she immediately registered on the website. We checked our e-mails only yesterday morning and saw that we had got an e-mail from Marg group that we had won a pass for the concert! We couldn’t believe it! We immediately went to Marg’s office in Old Mahabalipuram Road and collected our passes.
We reached the venue (YMCA Ground, Nandanam) at around 5:45 pm for the concert that was supposed to start at 7 pm. A queue, not that long, had already formed outside the entrance to the closed enclosure of the ground, doubled up as auditorium. But as more and more people started coming, the security folks asked people to form a queue outside another entrance. We ran to the other entrance and joined the queue, there with only a few people being in front of us. We could hear the sounds of the mike testing that was in progress at that time. It wasn’t until 6:15 pm that we were let in. The first few rows were reserved for the VIPs, then a large number of rows for the employees of Marg. We managed to get chairs in the second row after all the reserved rows. With all the sound checks getting over by 6:30 pm, the next one hour turned out to be a long wait with the excitement building up with each passing moment.
Finally at around 7:40 pm, Rakshanda Khan came on stage and announced that A.R.Rahman’s concert will start after a short concert by Guitar Prasanna! Guitar Prasanna, along with Haridwaramangalam A.K.Pazhanivel (Tavil), S.Karthick (Ghatam), B.S.Purushottaman (Khanjira), R.Raman (Morsing) and Keith Peters (Bass Guitar), performed Taaye tirupurasundari (raaga Suddha Saveri), Peaceful (a composition of Prasanna himself that happens to be my favourite as well), Alaipayuthey (raaga Kanada) and 31 (again Prasanna’s composition). Before playing Alaipayuthey, Prasanna said that on the occasion of Rahman’s concert, he felt it appropriate to play a Carnatic song popularized by Rahman. As usual, Prasanna’s concert was superb!
After Prasanna’s concert, Mr. Reddy, the chairman & MD of Marg group, and his wife lighted the kutthuviLakku. Then Mr. Reddy invited A.R.Rahman and one more person onto the stage! There was excitement everywhere and a huge round of applause followed when Rahman came on stage! They all spoke for a few minutes and then, a presentation on Marg’s project was shown twice while there was a wonderful display of fireworks on the sky.
After this, finally at around 8:40 pm, A.R.Rahman’s concert started and the next two hours that followed will be etched in my memory forever! 🙂
Blaaze first came on stage and said that this was a special show since this happens to be the first concert of Rahman’s in 2008. He also said that Hariharan, Chinmayee, Chitra, Benny, Ujjaynee, Neeti, Naresh Iyer and Aslam will be performing in the concert. The concert then started with Jaage Hain.
1. Jaage Hain – A.R.Rahman & Chitra
As Chitra’s sweet voice greeted us with the words ‘Jaage Hain’, our eyes were busy searching for Rahman and then he came and the crowd went mad! Listening to Rahman sing the song live was such an amazing experience! Open-air audi, cool breeze surprisingly blowing in Madras, Rahman singing Jaage Hain right in front of my eyes – if this is not bliss, then what else is?! My eyes refused to believe that it was really Rahman who was singing in front of me 😉
2. Khalbhali – A.R.Rahman
As the soft Jaage Hain concluded, Khalbhali started with electrifying beats! Singing the two completely contrast songs back to back with perfection, Rahman seemed to be in top form! When Rahman sang ‘Ziddi ziddi’, the crowd went mad and the way he concluded the song with ziddi ziddi was superb! Naveen played some awesome flute interludes in the song and those were just the beginning of the many more wonderful flute interludes to come in the concert.
3. Kadhal Rojave – Chinmayee & Hariharan
I first couldn’t guess from the voice that it was Chinmayee who was humming. Hariharan’s voice along with Naveen’s flute, that was making an appearance throughout the song here and there, made the whole song all the more wonderful!
4. Barso Re – Neeti
Naveen’s flute was so beautiful for this song that it made me wish that Neeti would stop singing and Naveen alone could play! Anyway Neeti’s singing didn’t appeal to me much.
5. Lose Control (Be a Rebel) – Naresh Iyer & Blaaze
Super beats, Blaaze’ Rap and Naresh’s Apni to paathshaala!
6. Marilyn Monroe – Ujjaynee & Benny
This song has not been among my favourite songs of Rahman’s. But after watching Ujjaynee & Benny sing with so much energy levels, Ujjaynee going ooh oooh ooh, saturday night partykku pogalaam variya, all of a sudden this song has become my favourite!
7. Roobaroo – Naresh Iyer & A.R.Rahman
8. Dil Se Re – A.R.Rahman
Rahman’s voice and some wonderful flute interludes that you won’t find in the original recording! He didn’t sing the second para of the song 🙁 Wish he had sung it fully.
9. Jash E Bahaara – Aslam
Aslam didn’t sing it well. There was a lapse in shruti in some places. Again Naveen’s flute for this song was superb! In the end, Naveen alone played the song for a few seconds – Wow! Wished they had played the instrumental version alone.
10. Maduraikku – Chinmayee & Benny
When the chorus started ‘Karpoora’, Rahman with a smile on his face was shown on close-up on the screens. In the midst of the song, Rahman sat down for sometime. It was great seeing the man who makes all of us tap our feet to his music, sitting and tapping his feet to his own music. 😉 Chinmayee and Benny sang the song so well! I know I am repeating the same thing for almost each song but this song too had some wonderful flute interludes!
11. Azeem-O-Shaan (Marhabha) + Rukkumani + Veerapandi (medley?) – A.R.Rahman & Chorus
So many percussionists playing their drums (or whatever the percussion instruments were) rhythmically, grand beats and A.R.Rahman and a group of singers singing Azeem-O-Shaan was amazing! The transition from Marhabha to the Oh Oh Oh part of Rukkumani (Naveen too playing it along) to Veerapandi Koattayile (just the first few lines were sung) was simply mind-blowing!
Rakshanda Khan came back on stage and introduced the chorus singers – Tanvi, Rehana, Ishrath, Sayanora, Benny Dayal, Dr.Narayanan – and the instrumentalists – Kalyan – violin, Naveen Kumar- flute, Sekhar – Cello, Sivakumar, Ravishankar, Ketan – Keyboard, Keith Peters – Bass Guitar, Thomas – Trumpet, Babu – Trombone, Pat, Jeff, Tirupati Raja, Kumar – Drums, Sivamani, Srinivasa Murthy. (I forgot many of the names. If you remember, please do let me know)
12. Tamizha Tamizha – Hariharan & Chorus
What followed next was the unplugged session with the singers singing along with just A.R.Rahman’s piano alone. As Hariharan, Chitra and Chinmayee sat before A.R.Rahman, A.R.Rahman asked Hariharan if he remembered that Tamizha Tamizha was the first song that he had recorded with him. He said the song that says ‘Tomorrow will be better’ and today (now) is that tomorrow and he asked Hariharan isn’t it better now. 🙂 Hariharan also said that that song proved to be lucky to him. That was one nice moment of the concert 🙂
While there was some technical problem with Rahman’s keyboard, Hariharan asked the audience to repeat whatever he sang and kept us occupied while the technical problem was resolved.
13. Uyire (unplugged) – Hariharan & Chitra
14. Anjali (unplugged) – Chitra
15. Sahana (unplugged) – Chinmayee
It was a real treat to hear the singers sing along with just Rahman’s piano. Naveen too played the flute once in a while.
16. Vennilave – Hariharan & Chinmayee
17. Mayya Mayya – Neeti
It was excellent! The beats and the music got the atmosphere electrified. Neeti and Aslam, who sang the Walida part in the song, sang it so well.
18. KaNNaaLane – Chitra
It has been a long time since I listened to this song. I absolutely enjoyed listening to it live yesterday. This is the song for which Rahman sang swaras for the first time. After that he has sung swaras in many more songs. But this one has always been one of my favourites. It was nice hearing Rahman sing it yesterday.
19. Tere Bina – A.R.Rahman & Chinmayee
I was thinking about Rahman’s swaras while listening to kaNNalane and Tere Bina was one of the songs that came to my mind. When the very next song that was sung turned out to be Tere Bina, I felt so happy. The last para of this song too was not performed. Rahman missed the starting of the para Na jaa chaakri in the song and since he just hummed the whole para without singing the words, I guess he forgot the lines after that.
20. Style (Sivaji) – Naresh Iyer, Blaaze and Benny
21. Vaaji Vaaji – Hariharan & Chinmayee
This too had nice flute interludes. Hariharan was brilliant. I felt Chinmayee was trying to sound like Madhushree.
22. Athiradee – A.R.Rahman & Tanvi
It was at this point of time that Rahman asked the audience if they were sleeping and he asked if they wanted more. And what followed next was a short Rap by Blaaze followed by Humma Humma!
23. Andha Arabic/Humma Humma – A.R.Rahman
Again Rahman! I couldn’t believe it!
I have often wondered how much Rahman has grown as a singer since Andha Arabic. From Jaage Hain to Athiradee to Tere Bina to Dil Se – each being a song of a different kind and seeing/hearing Rahman sing it with perfection was amazing! I couldn’t have asked for more.
24. Maa Tujhe Salaam/thaai maNNe vaNakkam – A.R.Rahman
What a great finale it was to an excellent concert! Didn’t I tell in the beginning itself that there were too many wonderful flute interludes throughout the concert? This song too had lots of beautiful flute interludes!
24 songs in 2 hrs! Not a single minute was wasted in between and it was 2 hours of non-stop A.R.Rahman’s music. We are so happy that we got to attend an excellent concert of Rahman’s! We still can’t believe that our dream of seeing A.R.Rahman perform live has indeed come true! I should really say a big thanks to Marg Group for giving away free passes to A.R.Rahman’s concert.
P.S.: Taking photos/videos was not allowed. But when have rules not been broken? 😉 So if you are one among those who took photos/video, please upload it and give me the link.