Oscar winner AR Rahman did not disappoint his audience, and it was surreal to watch and hear the adulation that he got from his audience in Silicon Valley. AR Rahman’s Intimate Concert Tour was a sold out event on June 11 and June 12 in San Jose. AR as he is known is on a hectic tour of North America that started on the East Coast in May and is making it way around the US. The West Coast is their last leg of their hectic tour that ends with a concert in Vancouver, Canada next week.
While waiting for the concert to start I could not but help listen to people discussing in English, Tamil, Hindi and Punjabi about AR’s music and what they expect to hear. And AR did not disappoint his audience. We heard songs in Urdu, Tamil, Hindi, Punjabi, French and English.
AR’s eclectic selection of songs included different musical genres from Carnatic, qawwali, jazz, rap, Bollywood and Hollywood. They included songs from his films like Roja, Bombay, Dil Se, Rockstar, Taal, Laagan Highway, 100 Foot Journey, 127 Hours, Delhi 6, and Slumdog Millionaire. Accompanying AR were vocalist Jonita Gandhi, Haricharan Sheshadri and Annette Philip. Rounding up the band were a couple of percussionists, guitarists, a vilionist (fiddler?) and a dancer.
AR played multiple instruments from piano, keyboards to an accordion. At one point he also played requests from the audience on the accordion. And for one of his songs he requested the audience to turn on their cell phones and hold it high. And boy! that was a sight to behold when you saw hundreds of brightly lit screens of cell phones waving in the air. Take a look at this picture, which barely captures the mood in the auditorium.
What took me suprise was a jazz number that AR and Philip sang. I was pleasantly floor to hear Philip scatting away with superb confidence. Philip is a an alum of Berklee School of Music and is an accomplished singer. This was the first time I saw her at a live concert.
Gandhi, a Indo-Canadaian singer belted out quite a few songs in Tamil, Hindi, French and a rap song in English. Sheshadri and Gandhi sang a few duets from the extensive repoitoire of AR’s discography.
The concert started a little after 8 pm and lasted till almost 11 pm. “Don’t leave your seat after the concert is over, there is an encore,” advised our usher as she pointed us to our seats before the concert. She was right. At the enderafter AR thanked and waved goodbye to his audience, he came back with his troupe to sing a repertoire of songs from his various films. My sense was that folks were willing to stay for another hour had he wanted to continue with their singing. But, AR’s show must continue in a different city and this time it is going to be Seattle.
The hashtag for AR Rahman’s Intimate Concert is #ARRNAIT