The Rediff Special/ Priyanka Bhattacharya
Okay, so I had passes for the Bryan Adams concert. I had permission to go. You'd think that was the end of my troubles? No way. The mother of all problems was still looming ahead.
What would I wear?
So, at 4 in the afternoon, I call up my friend. Imagine my dismay when her mother told me she had left almost an hour ago. Finally, I settled on a black top and red pants.
It made me feel distinctly cheery. All the way to the NSE grounds, I kept belting out hit after Bryan Adams hit. When we finally reached there, we came across the first of our hurdles -- parking! With almost 40,000 passes having being sold, had anyone, I wondered, even paused to consider where so many cars would be accommodated?
But necessity, as they say, is the mother of invention. So what to a normal onlooker seemed an open space under a flyover went on to become a huge, and rather crowded, parking lot.
We had barely crossed this hurdle, when another one raised its head. There were around 20,000 people with legitimate tickets trying to get in through two narrow entrances (these doubled as exits as well, so Heaven help us if there was a mishap!) and hundreds of ticketless others who were praying some kind of miracle would happen and they too would find a way inside. To make matters simpler, or more difficult depending on how one saw it, there were separate entrance lines for boys and girls.
At long last, we entered. By now, it was 6.30 pm. The concert was scheduled to start an hour later. Did that mean we were early? No way. From the looks of it, people must have started coming in right after breakfast.
Having paid Rs 500 for my ticket, there was no way I was going to be content with lurking around at the back of the stadium. My friends and I began the long and difficult trek towards the stage. A shove there, a tug here, a little pushing, a little pulling, squirming, squeezing and Voila! We were... somewhere near the front.
Even those of you who travel in Virar-bound local trains during rush hour would not be able to identify with the crush. Every possible meaning of the words personal space was violated yesterday. Add to that the sweltering heat, the sweat baths and the omnipresent dust. No wonder people were getting impatient. My only thought was, "My God! I have to be in this position till 10 pm."
Just then, Nikhil Chinappa and Maria Goretti -- looking rather cool on such a sultry day -- bounded on stage to present the opening act, Aquaflow. Okay, now that I look back, I have to admit they weren't all that bad. At that moment, though, the only emotion they aroused was irritation. But, then, imagine yourself in my position and in the conditions I described. Here we were, waiting for T-H-E Bryan Adams; we were obviously ready to boot out anyone else who infringed on that space.
Finally, at around 8.30 pm, Bryan Adams was on stage with Back to you. No introductions, no preliminary words. The crowd went wild. We forgot all our troubles and discomfort. Everyone in the audience went hoarse, matching him word for word, song for song. People were jumping, dancing, screaming. Those who couldn't see the stage clambered onto their friends' shoulders. Only to be booed down by those behind them, "Hey, you, we've come here to see Bryan Adams, not your ***."
Others clambered on trees, poles, anything that would get them a view of the stage.
That Bryan Adams is a terrific singer is an established fact. But, after Sunday, Bombay's concert-starved youth will vouch for what a great performer he is. And the best part is, he doesn't lip-sync. At this point, I have to mention his accompanying guitarist, Keith Scott. I could have spent the entire evening just looking at his fingers -- what he could do with his guitar was simply amazing!
The show itself was rather badly organised. Despite the sweltering heat, not much attention was given to stocking enough drinking water. People were seen pleading with each other for a sip; others were actually scrounging through discarded mineral water bottles for a forgotten drop. And, contrary to the proud claims that it did not matter where you were in the audience; the sound would be the same, the people standing at the back complained they couldn't hear the songs very well.
If there was one person who made everyone forget these shortcomings; it was Bryan Adams. The ecstatic faces of his audience were eloquent testimony to his ability as a performer. If I was asked to sum up this concert in one line, I think I would like to quote what my friend said as we made our way home: "Even if I had to pay Rs 1,000 bucks, it would be worth it."
Bryan Adams: 'I'm wonderful, ain't I?'
Simran Thadani's dream come true
Bryan Adams: I don't understand the politics in this country
Photographs: Jewella C Miranda. Design: Lynette Menezes
The Rediff Specials