The day finally arrived! The whole week before the concert, and the wait right before the concert was filled with so many lists I had generated..
I began the countdown almost a month before the concert, something I hadn’t even done when I got married—I was so excited to see A R Rahman in person for the first time ever! Call it my ill luck, I seemed to always be on the wrong continent whenever the Isai puyal set foot to shower
us with his magical presence, but not this time. I was giddy with joy.
The day finally arrived—my husband and I reached the venue 3 hours before the concert. The whole week before the concert, and the wait right before the concert was filled with so many lists I had generated, guessing, and hoping to hear the songs that had been a constant presence throughout my childhood and shaped my musical sensibility.
I teared up as I gazed into Rahman’s face for the first
time in my life
Marymoor Park is an outdoor venue, so we got to witness the magic sitting on the lawn, with 5000 other people.
The whole place was buzzing with personal stories of Rahman’s music
as we sat waiting. And boom, at 7 pm entered the maestro to cheers
and hoots. As he entered, the bgm of “Yenga Pona Rasa” from
Maryan and “Latika’s theme” from Jai Ho played, stirring up so many
emotions and I teared up as I gazed into Rahman’s face for the first
time in my life, an indispensable presence since the day I was born in ‘92.
The show started with the pumping Jai Ho, the entire crowd was up and cheering so hard. Nobody wanted to sit back down and had to be coerced by the park officials—can you really blame us, who could sit down to ThalaivARR’s music? This was followed by Mukkaala mukkabala—a power punch performance by Jonita and Rahman. When “Nenjam Ellam/Baadal Wo Aaye” dropped, I couldn’t believe my ears, it was one of the songs I had on my wish list! Hridaiy and Rakshita sang it effortlessly and I was back in 7 th grade again. Next up was Fanaa—the nation’s favorite disco song, and people were singing the Tamil, Telugu, and Hindi versions alongside the singers and there were so many
more such coming-together-moments in the concert where I felt the power and magic of Rahman’s music to unite diverse people with the love for soulful music.
The next set of songs were –Maahi Ve, Enna Solla Pogirai rendered beautifully by Haricharan made the crowd go crazy! They usually say the best is reserved for the last, but not in this
concert. The first set was brilliant and it just kept getting better.
The second set were songs that were based on Indian Ragas, and oh, this was my favorite part of the concert—the Carnatic musician in me was ecstatic at the inclusion of this set. This started
with “Aao Balma” and I deeply admired Rahman’s humility at respecting his guru Ustad Ghulam Mustafa Khan and dedicating the performance to him. This was followed by all my favorite
Ottagatha kattiko—the song that played at home on repeat mode when I was 2 Azhagana Rakshasiye—the song my 2 nd grade self, LOVED
Husband and I at Marymoor Park Uyire/Tu Hi Re—Can there be a person who doesn’t like this song? Jonita and Rakshita singing
the Hindi and Tamil verses left me enchanted.“Tere bina mein kaise jiyuun” and “vandhu unodu kalandhuveten” took on a new meaning as I sat listening to it mesmerized.
Hai Rama—Nakul Abhyankar sang this difficult composition with so much flair and ease
Radha Kaise Na Jale—I was euphoric when they sang this number. On one hand I was enjoying the fantabulous performance by Rakshita, Jonita and Haricharan, but on the other, I was the 9-year-old listening to this track from “Lagaan”.
I am talking about—the quintessential “Dil Se Re.”
One of the most played songs in my playlist and the most iconic song of ARR was the next one to be played at the concert. Of course, you know what song I am talking about—the quintessential “Dil Se Re.” Every single person in the crowd was so moved by this song, and towards the end we all sang it together, all 5000 of us! It was magical, and it made me tear up
again! The moment was surreal and I realized how ARR has been this intangible person in my life since I was born, almost a family member of sorts. It felt like ARR was holding my hand taking me on a nostalgic trip, sparking memories I had formed by associating it with each one of
his songs from the day I was born to 29 years of my life.
Some more beautiful songs followed this performance—Taal’s title track, “Jwalamukhi”, “Thumbi Thullal” (special mention to Nakul Abhyankar’s Jagadananda Karaka during the interlude), an unplugged version of “Agar tum saath ho” and “Mustafa Mustafa” by Ameen. ARR’s version of “Chaiyya Chaiyya” got all of us dancing (by this point, the staff had lost control of this wild bunch of music lovers). The energy, the fervor, and the playfulness of Rahman’s voice for this track added so much more flavor to the song. While singing “Urvasi Urvasi”, Rahman couldn’t control smiling as he sang the line “belt pottum vetti avundhaa”; it was so adorable to see it!
I kept checking the time, wanting time to freeze, so that I didn’t have to witness the end to the concert
Throughout the concert, I kept checking the time, wanting time to freeze, so that I didn’t have to witness the end to the concert. Seattle is known for its rain, but we were fortunate to have a lot of sun on the day of the concert. But, right as the concert ended, it drizzled for a few brief moments, as though the skies were showering Rahman for treating them to ethereal and divine music.
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