Monday, September 13, 2010

and just like that 'Jai Ho' became his signature tune!

AR Rahman performed here in the bay area on Sunday.

The show featured some spectacular 3D projection lighting and sometimes good but mostly mediocre choreography. They used thematically related 3D projections both to enhance the ambiance as well as compensate for the terrible lack of a stage presence and performance of AR Rahman. The man stands on the stage like scarecrow figure. The song 'Pappu cant dance saala' is a very good self caricature!

No Sukhwinder Singh, No Naresh Iyer, No Sapna Awasthi, No Vijay Prakash, No Shreya Ghosal. So you can imagine the quality of vocals in a Rahman concert. The only star singers were Hariharan and Rahman himself whose voice wore off considerably. The equalizer settings were pretty lousy and we could hardly ever listen to whatever little he spoke.

The selection of songs ranged from the newest Endhiran, Couples Retreat, Slumdog, Rang De Basanti and went back as far as Premikudu from 1994. (No Roja!)

Luka Chuppi from Rang De Basanti had a guest appearance from a pre-recorded 3D projection of Lata singing on stage. It felt a little surreal given the context of the song in the movie and she playing luka chuppi on the stage. Mehendi hai Rachne Vaali from Zubeida had some excellent companion 3D projection as well.

Blaaze was the dancer performer for most part. Hariharan came on stage looking almost like a gypsy or more so like a baul singer from Bengal. Super star Krishna is marginally better than Rahman when it comes to onscreen/onstage presence. Enough said.

They did something interesting towards the end of the concert with a Doordarshan style 'Sammelan', where Rahman sat down with a Harmonium and other singers chimed in. This makes me think that a prolific composer like Rahman could also try alternate forms of concert like having an Anthyakashari with only Rahman songs. The concert also featured interesting jugalbandi vignettes with violinist Christine Wu and his flautist Naveen.

He ended the concert with the obligatory Jai Ho and Maa Tujhe Salaam.

The venue selection for bay area was bad as it hardly allowed any room to stand up and sway to the music. So to sum up - the concert was okay. (Although being there with Swetha made it totally worthy to me. She's never been to a Rahman concert before.)

All through the concert, one thought was constant on my mind -- Professional future reviewers, critics and historians will have an extremely tough time trying to summarize Rahman's career and may be try to come up with top ten/fifty of his compositions.

Good luck with that! Glad, I dont have to do it for a living.

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