LA – Yet another debrief!
If you ask any ARR fan, ‘what is the ultimate wish of your life?’ The answer would be – ‘I want to meet ARR once.’
That being imaginary for most of the fans, there is nobody who wants to miss the opportunity of seeing him perform live.
Once, my wife asked me, ‘Is there a special place where you wish to take me?’ I smiled and replied – ‘I want to take you to an ARR’s live concert.’
Hollywood Bowl, Los Angeles, Sunday, July-24, 2022 (until few hours to see him perform live!)
Being one of the largest outdoor amphitheaters in the US, Hollywood Bowl was celebrating it’s 100 years. The venue is so popular for hosting legends like, The Beatles, Michael Jackson, John Williams and now, our beloved ARR!
We reached the venue hours before and waited outside with fellow Desi crowd
We reached the venue hours before and waited outside with fellow Desi crowd. No surprise, we saw a lot of Americans showing up for the concert. A few of their partners seemed to be Indians. I can only feel how excited they were, to show them to whom they were listening to, growing up. Show them the musician who is more than part of their identity. There were elders assisted by their sons/daughters. Kids and even babies. Boys and girls already posing for selfies.
Soon, the doors were opened, we were seated and all set to enjoy the show. On all of his concerts there is a video played about ARR. It’s a narration about his journey from Roja to the Oscars and beyond. I could only relate this to my life, thinking how he has been travelling with me, thru his music in every aspect of my life.
The music kept playing until the start of the show, only to raise the tension and excitement
The music kept playing until the start of the show, only to raise the tension and excitement. The music changed and Jonitha Gandhi, Rakshita Suresh, Haricharan and AR Ameen walked on to the stage. When I reached for my phone to take a photo, there came ARR sprinting!!! I was off my chair, jumping and screaming with all my energy. My legs shaking, I managed to get a grip and take my seat back. These are the moments that you just live! It’s hard to remember and explain what had happened. The group performed Jai ho along with ARR. This opening song was followed by other performances like ‘Mukkala Mukkabala’, couple numbers from Yuva (Ayutha Ezhuthu) and my personal favorite – ‘Sandhana Thendralai’ by Haricharan.
ARR had come up with a brilliant idea of showcasing Carnatic/Hindustani ragas and how he has composed his songs based on those ragas. He would pick a raga and talk about it, while he slowly played a few notes. In seconds, these musical notes transitioned in to one of our favorite songs. That was pure brilliance!
When he started explaining about this raga called Charukesi, he played few notes and there came ‘Uyire… Uyire…’ (Tu hi re) from Bombay. The crowd just went crazy. ARR performed this solo and I must say that this was the peak moment in the concert.
‘Narumugaiye’ by Hriday Gattani and Rakshita. ‘Malargale malargale’ by Haricharan were all part of this superb, raga-based performances.
‘Parama Sundari’ by Rakshita and Jonitha tempted everyone to dance. The visuals in the LED shuffled through portraits of women which was terrific and completely changed the way this song was received.
While Jonitha scored her solo by singing ‘Rangeela Re’, Rakshita beautifully rendered the latest ‘Thumbi thullal’ along with Nakul Abhyankar.
AR Ameen shrug off all his shyness and performed ‘Miss Hairan’ from Heropanti 2. He became a real Rockstar during his ‘Mustaffa’ performance along with his dad!!!
Man! This duo is something else!
Not to mention, the concert took a roller coaster ride when ARR unleashed his epic numbers such as Dil Se Re, Humma Humma, Chaiya Chaiya and concluding with Take it easy!
Men and Women were off their feet, hands raised, dancing and singing. There were people, speaking all sorts of language, north to south, Persians, Europeans and Americans. All barriers were broken by his music. We all felt like one!
Just before ARR’s thank you note, the crowd stood up for Vande Mataram. What a feeling! ARR thanked everyone and disappeared from the stage like a flash.
We were only left with this fantastic memory of cheering to his songs, right in front him. The food and snacks were untouched, while we indulged ourselves in his musical treat!
My wife asked me, ‘Do we get to see him every year?’ well… I wish.
ARR is currently touring the US and Canada, performing over 20 concerts and 4 concerts in a single stretch! Isn’t that insane? His energy is completely off the scale!
Ella Pugazhum Iraivanukke!Amar Vignesh