Rupam braved the rain till the reverse Tansen effect set in! (Anindya Shankar Ray)
This is the first time I have watched A.R. Rahman perform live. At the beginning, the show felt like an audio-visual spectacle where the aim was to mesmerise the audience with pyrotechnics. The show was out to project Rahman as a popstar.
But, for me, the magic happened when Rahman became intimate and delivered extended solos on the fingerboard, piano, harmonium... when he improvised instrumentally.
The qawwali set was very spiritual and minimalistic. The instruments appeared gradually. First, the harmonium with vocals, then a tabla, an acoustic guitar, and a bass came in.
The production of sound was amazing. He is a magician of sound. Soundwise, Rockstar the film presented Rahman as someone who loves to explore the different facets of world music. Since the concert had quite a few Rockstar songs, it proves the film’s songs are close to his heart.
I have never seen such a grand, well-coordinated and synchronised show. The dancers, performers, the fireworks, the lighting, the visuals on the giant screens, acrobats augmented the effect. It was a visual treat.
Harshdeep Kaur, who sang Katiyan karoon, was the best among the female vocalists. She has perfect pitch and a bold, graceful presence.
Jiya re jiya, sung by Neeti Mohan, had a strong inviting chorus, and anthem-like qualities like Dil se, Chhaiyya chhaiyya and Jai ho, which were also performed at the concert.
Rahman’s rendition of Rehna tu stands out for its passionate delivery. Sukhwinder sang Piya milenge beautifully.
For me, an intimate side of Rahman emerged through the show. There was an element of surprise. Jai ho and Vande Mataram provided the perfect ending.
Can you imagine a Rahman concert without Roobaroo, Rangeela re, Tu hi re, Roja jaaneman, Masakkali...? Well, I just experienced one.
And yes, the concert had a reverse Tansen effect — when Rahman came on stage to perform Dil se — the opening number — the rain stopped!