It was a magical evening. A full moon night, a cricket stadium full of music lovers and a programme full of talented performers and hit songs. Fans expected a lot from A. R. Rahman and the music maestro lived up to those expectations at A. R. Rahman – Live in Concert held at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium on Friday.
Starting with his recent Bollywood hits Masti Ki Pathshala, Jashn-e-Bahara and Rubaroo, Rahman took the audience on a wonderful musical journey that included his current hits and old favorites from Bollywood and South Indian films.
There was no time wasted in announcing songs or singers as the show moved seamlessly from one number to the next. And there was no need either for announcements because the audience recognized every number as soon as the first note was played and greeted every song with rapturous applause.
One could not help but admire Rahman’s immense talent and versatility as the show moved from energetic dance tunes to deeply spiritual devotional numbers and rocking rap music to a soul stirring patriotic song.
Every performer, from established names like Hariharan, Chitra, Sadhana Sargam, Karthick, BlaaZe and Madhushree to Rahman’s young discoveries Neeti Mohan, Naresh Iyer, Mohammad Aslam, Javed Ali and Benny Dayal, was impressive and deserved the applause they received from an extremely responsive audience.
The singers reached out to every section of the audience by smoothly switching between the Hindi and South Indian versions of songs and involving the audience in jugalbandis.
As usual Sivamani was amazing. Besides playing an array of percussion instruments, the famous drummer also showed the audience how he could produce music from everyday objects like a bottle of water and a suitcase in a fantastic solo performance.
The multi-tier stage, light effects, sound, orchestra and back-0up dancers were exceptionally good, enhancing the show without taking attention away from the music.
But the soul of the concert was Rahman himself. He was on stage throughout, playing the keyboard, joining in the choruses, sensing the mood of the audience, revving them up when he felt an ebb in energy – and singing some of his most popular numbers such as Dil Se, Tere Bina, Humma, Humma in Tamil and Pray For Me Brother in English.
One could feel his deep spirituality as he sang Khwaja Mere Khwaja on the harmonium, his head covered with a scarf.
And he had the entire audience on their feet for the finale number Vande Mataram, his melodious tribute to India.
TRULY A CONCERT TO REMEMBER