Shankar Mahadevan is a powerhouse... the energizer bunny if you may! I still cannot believe how he could continue to sing so effortlessly, so beautifully, without a hint of tiredness in his voice or fatigue in his body language!
This blog is to retain all that I can about the wonderful evening of the SEL concert - not sure how many others will compare.
So we set out - the three of us, still debating whether to take the BART or the car to Oracle Arena for the concert. I vetoed the decision and asked to be driven all the way citing that we had a toddler in tow that needed to not be made to wait for trains when she'd be asleep on the way back... 30 bucks to park... hmmm... not sure if that was a smart decision. Another decision I was still debating in my mind was whether it was worth spending all that money on a ticket for a toddler.. what if she made us walk out half way through the show!!
So the show started... some generic dance routines... which were alright in my opinion... not for the lack of preparation form the dancers.. they were pretty good actually... but well, they barely had much space around all the instruments that were set up for the band. My kid is thoroughly enjoying the show though.. she LOVES the upbeat tempo that SEL's music generally provides. Only problem is.. she won't sit in her seat.. insists on dancing in the aisle.
So, here we are... waiting for the show to begin.. out walks Reecha Sharma. I have LOVED some of her numbers over the time... so I was hoping she'd rock it! Hubby on the other hand was not impressed... he was waiting for Mr Mahadevan and nothing/ noone less would do. For the life of me, I don't understand why she chose to start the evening with Shubha Mudgal's Ab ke Saawan!! Some compositions are meant for certain artists.. you don't fool around with them.. she tried to and she failed pretty badly IMO. She kinda redeemed herself with the maahi ve number that followed... but by then, she had exhibited enough of her personality to put me off a bit... she seemed kinda superficial / lacking in respect for others around her. I was glad she was done pretty soon... another bit of suspense... were the trio coming on stage now? The host announces the most well rounded singer ever.. he can sing all genres... all moods.. you'd think a Kishore Kumar or Rafi were coming on stage.. or atleast a Sonu Nigam.. par nahin.... my limited knowledge of new desi numbers did not include Shafqat Amaanat Ali. I don't know if he deserved all those accolades, all that hype... he did OK in bits.. seemed to enjoy some performances wayy more than the others... but overall, seemed a little out of place to me. I remember he sang tere naina from My name is khan... I was kinda familiar with the song so.. thank God! I could place the guy! ;) I did like his other rendition better - which was not an original by any means...Damaa Dam Mast Qalandar... he sure sounded like he's sung it many many times before.. and sung it well! But ... hey, where was Shankar so far?? When Amanat Ali was done.. folks started shouting for Mitwaa... and a bulb went in my head... Ahhh!! this is the dude that sang Mitwaa! But I really wanted him to leave.. thankfully he did :)
Some more heavy flowery predictable praise later... there they were Shankar, Ehsaan, Loy... in person! Ahh.. all those doubts about shelling all that money for seats upfront was already worth it. Shankar started off with a quick mangalam bhaagawaan vishnu shloka... won him some brownie points in my books :) He went on to sing Jhoom Baraabar Jhoom.. which was good enough to set the tempo for the evening - I only wish I could get Abhishek Bachchan out of my mind when this song was being performed.. it would have made it all the more better for me! What followed was, to be, one of the best moments of the evening... the trio started with the Dil Chaahta Hai title song... a song we had promised A they would sing specially for her at the concert, cause she's loved it for a long tme now... The smile on her face was beyond describable... 'it's my special song!!!' she squealed in delight and broke into a happy little jig in the aisles.. she still remembers that they sang her a special song that evening ... thank you SEL!
Shankar went on to get everyone up and dancing to some of their really funky numbers... all of which I like for their upbeat tempo... I wish I could join in... but my kiddo was almost asleep in my arms.. I would have to wait till she were all asleep and hand her over to S before I could really get into the rhythm.. but folks around me were having fun... and despite A in my arms.. I was too! Shankar was absolutely amazing in his stamina and his vibe... just the coolest and most talented singer there is today! I was very impressed with when he introduced each of his band members to the audience.. he would talk a bit about their instrument... then pretty much challenge them into a duel by mimicking the sound of their instrument....and the vocals matched the instruments spot on! Every one was acknowledged and appreciated.. each time wholeheartedly... there couldn't be a humbler soul in that arena! I have to mention his backup singers, especially Raman - I thought he was very good! I am sure he'll be a main stream singer pretty soon (maybe he is.. I just haven't caught up!) Anusha Mani (?) was also pretty good for almost all but one song.. a song which should just not have made it to the show in my opinion... more on that in a bit. Mahalaxmi Iyer was part of the show for a bit and I thought she was wonderful! chup chup ke and Aaj ki raat were both well sung. Speaking of Don... Shankar absolutely rocked Main hoon Don! There's times when SRK makes a pedestrian song a superhit by being in it.. but in Main hoon Don.. and in Sajdaa (from My name is Khan) I thought he ruined it! And Shankar showed how wonderful both these songs were... rock on Shankar Mahadevan!
Towards the end of the concert, giving in to the audience's requests (of course!) Shankar Mahadevan sang Breathless... left us all breathless! After THAT long of being on stage and singing non stop - how do you push yourself to go on some more and sing something that challenging! Hats off to the guy! That was supposed to be the last song of the evening and it would have been just the perfect end to a wonderful evening.. but sadly, they gave in to the crowds whim and sang Kajra Re with Anusha... she didn't have it in her to pull through this one.. and it ended pretty badly.. oh well, I enjoyed the main course of the feast ...the appetizers and the dessert were no match.. but I was fully satisfied nevertheless!