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When Rock On!! Rocked Dubai

This might seem like a Rock On!! promotion piece but it’s not. I just want to tell you guys about a gig we did in Dubai last month. I was told by the production company that on March 12, we’d all be travelling to Dubai for a charity gig. The cause was the Dubai Autism […]

Luke Kenny Apr 20, 2009
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This might seem like a Rock On!! promotion piece but it’s not. I just want to tell you guys about a gig we did in Dubai last month. I was told by the production company that on March 12, we’d all be travelling to Dubai for a charity gig. The cause was the Dubai Autism Centre who were raising money for a new wing they have been planning to build to house the growing cases of autism in Dubai.

So it was to be the four of us – Farhan, Arjun, Purab and me – along with Shankar, Ehsaan and Loy and their magnificent band who were to perform at the Aviation Club in Dubai. We knew that the film had been very well-received in Dubai as I had a few friends who had complimented me on the film. And as we know Dubai has always been a hearty consumer of Hindi films.

So come the day, we were told that it was a sold-out concert. The venue was a sizeable tennis stadium which had a stage built at one end and seating was all around. The previous night we were to soundcheck and fix a setist, where upon a dramatic stage entry was decided for Arjun. He was to enter from the audience.

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At showtime, SEL opened the show with their hits, which the audience lapped up thirstily. Their live arrangement of ”˜Dil Chahta Hai’ is superb and has to be heard to be believed.

Soon the time came for us to go up, Shankar introduced Farhan in his inimitable way and the crowd went ballistic. The screams drowned out everything. Then Farhan introduced me onstage and I introduced Purab and the screams did not let up. Then came the time for Arjun to make his grand entry, the spotlight panned to a side section of the stadium. And high up in the top end stood Arjun, dressed in white, holding his white guitar, and on cue the band launched into ”˜Socha Hai.’ The crowd went mad! It was amazing to see the music of the film still a rage with the audience even after more than 7 months of release.

After ”˜Socha Hai,’ I was to do a surprise jam of a couple of rock classics. Although it sounds clichéd but it was decided to do the popular and safe hits that would keep the fun going. So while Arjun got the crowd going with ”˜Dubai Woman’ (his tribute to ”˜LA Woman’), I started a jam with the SEL band that segued into ”˜Roadhouse Blues.’ I brought my own touch to the song as usual, incorporating a sizzling guitar and keyboard solo, superbly improvised by Ehsaan and Loy respectively. I was joined onstage by Farhan who sang backing vocals. I then immediately launched into ”˜Satisfaction’ by the Rolling Stones.

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All this kept the crowd wanting more and more, and so after my two songs, the mood swung back to Rock On!! and the rest of the songs were performed. We then took a break while SEL continued with their barrage of hits. A few hits were sing by three talented singers who tour with SEL, Raman Mahadevan (no relation), Anusha Mani and Akriti Kakkar.

Time came for the finale and the song was the rousing ”˜Sinbad the Sailor.’ A fine climax was had with every single person in the audience singing along. And after a little more than two and a half hours on stage, we said our goodbyes and thank you’s to one of the most enthusiastic audiences ever.

This was the first international Rock On!! concert. Let’s hope it’s not the last. So, maybe, coming soon”¦ to a country near you”¦ you never know.

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