A right Royal affair…
First of all, apologies for the intentionally misleading title especially if you were hoping for some commentary on the recent Royal break-up (i.e. Wills and Kate). I think the newspapers have said about everything there is to say about that, and to be honest I think they should just be left alone.
The ‘Royal affair’ I’m blogging about is a concert I went to at the Royal Albert Hall on Saturday evening. Entitled ‘Dhamaka’ it was billed as “an amalgamation of the most talented, ambitious and self-disciplined hopefuls in the country, embodied in a blasting Bollywood Variety Showcase.”
Hmm…to be honest, I went to see the headliners: The British artists collectively known as The Rishi Rich Project (best known for their Top 20 hit ‘Dance With Me’ and singer Jay Sean’s Number 4 track ‘Stolen’) and the Pakistani pop/rock singer Atif Aslam, who has recently also lent his voice to some Bollywood songs. The gig turned out to be a mixed experience that frankly didn’t live up to the glitzy hype.
The performances from both of the main acts were great. The Rishi Rich Project were fantastic as ever, Jay Sean and Juggy D both performed tracks from their new albums, did some classics and entertained the crowd by chatting, dancing, coming into the audience, even a bit of Borat imitation!
As for Atif – wow! I didn’t think it was possible, but his voice is even more incredible live: I actually had goosebumps! He did all his hits, and interjected them with verses from classic Bollywood songs. And I don’t know if it was just the atmosphere, or perhaps the cropped haircut, little goatie beard and well-fitted shirt, but Mr. Aslam was looking attractive in a way I’d never noticed before!
The logistics of the concert, however, left a lot to be desired. Packed around the two A-list acts was an unnecessary amount of padding involving dance routines (good but too many) and ‘comedy’ sketches (which were funny for about the first 30 seconds). There were then about 20 minutes in the second half where everything stopped so they could set up for Atif’s live set. And that just put a dampener on everything. A shorter concert with a few warm-up acts, and the second half dedicated to Atif’s performance would have had much better impact and done justice to the calibre of both these talented main acts and to the spectacular venue.
Having said all that, the one thing you couldn’t deny was that the fantastic way that fans of the music, whether Indian, Pakistani, Bangladeshi, Sri Lankan or otherwise all came together for a great night out. In fact, in the group I went with was a big mix of Kenyan, Australian, Mauritian and British people of Indian and Pakistani origin – brilliant. I can only hope that better promoters can organise such events in the future, and present these artists in the professional manner they deserve.