Concert Review: Norah Jones, Mumbai
The Grammy-winning singer will make you wait, but it’s well worth it
The hot afternoon at A Summer’s Day, the first stop of Norah Jones’s maiden three-city tour in India,Â began an hour before schedule, with Ankur and The Ghalat Family taking on the stage at a time when the gates were set to open. The day hadÂ aÂ few bright surprises too”” Mumbai boys Spud In The Box were missing their gusto, while Kolkata singer-songwriter Nischay Parekh, who made his Mumbai debut at the show, took over the spotlight, as he performed a sunny set perfect to beat the scorching summer’s day angst. Karsh Kale Collectiv had more than the usual collaborators, what with Ankur Tewari stepping in to shake a leg. Kale and band opened their set with an inspiring performance on “Peekaboo” and went on to produce an excellent mashup of Adele’s “Skyfall.”Â
The international acts for the evening delivered compelling performances too. Every international act that makes way to India and learns a word or two in Hindi [we’re an easy lot to please] is rewarded by a loud round of cheers. American singer-songwriter M.Ward managed plenty as he went a step further ”“ Â he said “shukriya” after every other song [we counted at least four times], but never once introduced the songs through his hour-long setlist. But for that minor oversight, M.Ward delivered one of the tightest sets of the evening. The evening’s main star, Norah Jones, didn’t join his three-piece band for “Blue Bayou,” but the Mumbai audience didn’t mind one bit as evidenced by the smiles that the singer would have captured when Ward trained the lens of his point-and-shoot camera straight at the crowd at Mahalaxmi Racecourse.
At 8.30pm, when Jones took over the stage, the production and sound notched up considerably. The wait for the Grammy-winning artist was well worth it. Jones backed by a four-piece band, launched straight into the bouncy, break-up song “Happy Pills” from her 2012 album Little Broken Hearts for her debut India concert [she will perform in Delhi on March 5th and 6th and Bengaluru on March 8th]. The happy lilt in her voice made one believe that heartbreaks are probably a good thing.
The singer was at her chatty, sassy best, chiding repeated requests for “Come Away With Me” by first telling her fans to be patient. When that didn’t work, she tried: “Are you in a hurry? Are you proposing someone today? Then quit yelling at me.” Though the venue did not accommodate screens on either side, it wasn’t hard to get a glimpse of the petite singer in electric blue, since many decided to kick off their shoes and choose a good spot to lounge about on the racecourse lawns.
What makes a Norah Jones concert different from any other big-ticket affair in India is that it’s not a three-hour top-of-your-lungs singalong fest. There was slow dancing, some humming when Jones performed her hit “Sunrise” and some even got their Sunday unwind time as they sprawled on the lawns on the breezy night. The laidback vibe coupled with Jones’ effortless stage act”” she strapped on a red electric guitar (“Lonestar”), switched to an acoustic guitar (“All A Dream”) and conquered the stage solo on the piano (“The Nearness Of You” and “Don’t Know Why”) with as much ease as she had when the band burst into a country music track (“Creepin’ In”) mid-set”” ensured that the audience would go back home charged and ready to take on the worst Monday blues.
Jones performed concert favorites such as “Chasing Pirates” and “Lonestar” as the audience cheered. “Aane ke liye shukriya” she said, “You are the warmest welcome. Thank you. We’re so happy to be here. It is my first show in India and their [her band’s] first time in India.” Her drummer, Greg Wieczorek [the only other member from her band to have visited India before], also chipped in with a “Shubhkamnayein” to the people gathered. While Ted did not join her on stage and Jones skipped her Oscar number “Everybody Needs A Best Friend”, she showcased one of her new songs, an uptempo track called “Hey You.” Of course, everyone stuck it out for the concert closer “Come Away With Me.” Â Â
Norah Jones Set List:
“What Am I To You?”
“Take It Back”
“It’s Gonna Be”
“All A Dream”
“Black” (Danger Mouse cover)
“Cold Cold Heart” (Hank Williams cover)
“Out On The Road”
“Long Way Home”
“The Nearness Of You” (Hoagy Carmichael cover)Â
“Don’t Know Why”
“How Many Times Have You Broken My Heart” (Hanks Williams cover )
“Come Away With Me”Â