Rahman Waves His Magic Wand, in Chennai

I was more than excited to get a couple of passes for the Live Life concert that ARR was performing on, on Saturday, courtesy of the Marg Construction group. I have travelled quite far to catch a good concert and Rahman has been evading me for a bit too long. It was good to catch up with his performance, live, right here in Chennai.

This is essentially going to be a post to “seendify”, all those who didn’t make it :)

First of all, my disappointments. I am not all that impressed with the stage and light settings. They made up for it eventually with the music and all, but It was less than impressive of a stage. Or I donno If I am being too demanding here. I’ve been to concerts where I’ve seen Yanni, and the likes of Sheryl Crow etc and a few others perform, and the sound and light settings, let alone the stage have been amazing. I have always associated live music to be part of that fulfilling experience, of being emerged in an expression of scintillating light and sound, but I guess you gotta make do with being able to see the artist on the stage on miniature (though I was on the VIP row) and for a better glimpse the screen.

Now that the whining bit is over, I have one word to describe the entire evening. Awesome.

They tried quite a few things from adding dynamic prop and such on screen, which didn’t quite gel with whatever else they were trying to do. But the selection of music was simply breath-taking. When it started off with “Kadhal Rojave” from Roja, One couldnt expect anything less.

There are quite a few blog posts around the web, including Chinmayi (one of the singers) post on the same. So I’ll not bore you too much with repetitious phrases.

One of the surprising and pleasant ones at that was the opening by Prasanna. I first heard his guitaring skills quite a few years back. But the man was totally in his form. It was quite evident that he is one of those rare souls who finds blissful moments just being drenched in music. It was way too evident.

I have been quite curious as to why not too many concerts happen here in Chennai. I think I have some answers. I was excited to finally get a chance to make that observation during this show.

1. I think Chennai-ites, really do stick to the old way of Courtyard Jester form. For some reason it felt like all those on stage, whoever they might be were the court jesters. As much as there is the respectful clap and encouraging, thats where it ended. Very few got carried away, atleast till “Oru Arabi Kadal Oram” kicked in. Interesting, I thought to myself.

2. As much as the stage was filled with stars, ranging all the way from Hariharan, Chitra, etc etc, Rahman got the maximum response. In other words, unless its a Rahman concert, I doubt most of these folks would turn up.

3. When Prasanna did his amazing mix of classical, Jazz, Rock fusion and I was wondering to myself how such a fusion would probably create an eclectic wave of shock, awe and roar among audiences in most places, the Chennai audience were… ahem… silent. Was it a silence of respect, or one of not being able to comprehend what it was all about?

Many questions still linger on. I am not sure if Chennai is ready for Pink Floyd and Yanni Concerts, but even amidst a slow and reserved crowd, Rahman had them on their feet. Hat’s off to him!

10 Comments so far

  1. desigirl (unregistered) on February 11th, 2008 @ 7:27 pm

    Oh you lucky s.o.b! a pox on you!

  2. Bluey (unregistered) on February 11th, 2008 @ 8:59 pm

    Hello Vijay Anand! A R Rahman is an amazing composer and i really enjoyed his performance in Delhi!

    And you might get another chance to see Yanni perform live! Yanni has announced a World Tour for 2008 and it would be interesting to see if he would perform again in India! He is presently working on a new project that would also feature vocalists. The music might be out soon. You can check out Yanni.com! :)

  3. Santhosh (unregistered) on February 12th, 2008 @ 5:12 pm

    yeah vijay you are absolutely right, the chennai crowd were too conservative in this program. People are so sick that they dont even clap their hands to entertain the artists. Atlast as usual the back row audience had some movement on the last couple of songs, as usual the front row people were quickfixed to their chairs.

  4. tsk tsk (unregistered) on February 13th, 2008 @ 1:23 am

    the last respectable intl. concert in chennai was micheal learns to rock which i think came in the mid ninties.

    After that there was diana king. But obviously that aint repectable.

    Somehow we as chennaites dont seem to be in the hot of concerts, premium stores or even mc donalds.

    DO we guys spend less than the rest of india or what is it? I suppose all our potential spenders constantly exported off abroad after college. i think we are as exposed to western music as anyone else is, no?

  5. Weekend Warrior (unregistered) on February 13th, 2008 @ 1:30 am

    Probably, if this was an open public concert, the response might have been better. I’ve been to a pop concert some 13 years back in YMCA grounds and that was fabulous. If you noticed for the cricket matches in Chepauk, Chennai crowd is considered one of the best. I guess not all the enthusiastic people got their passes to the concert.

  6. Sajith (unregistered) on February 13th, 2008 @ 11:34 am

    I really missed it.. I would’ve gone if i had know about the show a bit earlier..

  7. Kumar (unregistered) on February 13th, 2008 @ 1:23 pm

    Read this also

    ARRahman should cater to tamilians while conducting concert in Chennai. By allowing more Hindi songs and Hindi singers he only spoiled the tamil film music industry.

    Also he cheats in concerts by doing lip movements for songs than actual singing. It is all Karaoke and lip-sync.

    For a good and real music show – read http://asifmeeran.blogspot.com

  8. maddy (unregistered) on February 13th, 2008 @ 5:57 pm


    Are you another Raj Thackerey?

    The other Concert you mentioned also featured Hindi songs. Why didnt Asha bhonsle sing all Tamil songs. Music has no language. Please stop such stupid comments.

  9. Paddy (unregistered) on February 14th, 2008 @ 1:06 am

    What’s wrong in expecting Rahman to be partial to Tamil songs when he is in Chennai ? You can’t become an intellectual by uttering "Raj Thackeray" – you also need to be able to think!

  10. nellai_nedumaran (unregistered) on February 21st, 2008 @ 1:10 pm

    i will go with kumar,can A.R reham sing any tamil songs in any north india, he will not do
    he giving much preference to hindi songs intead of tamil songs that too in our singara chennai
    don’t impose or throw or air any hindi songs in our public places if u need means go and hear in ur mp3 player or in home, why u peoples mixing hindi songs with tamil public programs, can u mix tamil songs with hindi in any part of north india
    also i like to warn vodafone simply displaying hindi songs in advertisement in tamil channels and irritating us can’t u find any tamil songs
    now the ads slowy directly or indirectly endorsing hindi to tamilians, now i am hearing some FM(north based) in chennai airing hindi songs
    this is not good will the same FM can air any tamil songs in mumbai or delhi, every thing should be mutual one can’t bend for others sake

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