RDP rocked Fete de la Musique!

Monday June 19, 2006

It was one of the those days which we will remember for years to come! We had a blast on stage when we performed for the Fete de la Musique at Alliance Francaise on June 17, 2006!

We had just one day’s practice with our new member Balaji on the violin. He did stop my heart beat when he called me up on thursday to tell me that he would not be able to make it to the practice and that he will be landing staright for the concert since he was stuck in a recording for a telugu movie in Hyderabad. But he called in a few hours from then and said he would be coming to practice and I am glad he did because he did not have a clue what we were going to perform and what kind of music we played!

The practice day was full of tension…I cannot help but be tense a day before a concert. Sandeep, our flautist, had bought a new set of bamboo flutes from Delhi and he was having a difficult time adjusting his blow into them. While he struggled, we could only stare at him…but in the evening when we did one final run through of the songs, everything fell into place and Balaji finally had some idea what he was to play! But amidst all the uneasiness I was going through, Anirban, Gaurav and Shiva kept the spirits just right – especially Anirban, he was very confident that the show would rock and he told the band so.

Throughout the day, Vasu Dixit, my younger brother, a film maker and a musician himself, was hovering all around us with his DV cam. We are on our way to produce some kind of documentary on the band.

The D-day started extremely well with all band members turning up on time to the venue and that really puts me in a good mood! The redundant sound check was over in a jiffy – redundant because there was no way Sanjay of Acoustic control could remember the settings (he didnt have the software based settings saving option) when 15 bands were playing that night. Nevertheless, we could get a decent feel of the stage and our positions.
Post sound check, we hung around the campus while Vasu went about meticulously recording every musician’s interview…it was great fun.

We all gathered at 6 p.m at the venue again. The place was flooded with people and there was hardly any place to walk around. Balaji, Sandeep and me logged on some chairs and ogled at the many many pretty women who had turned up for the concert! Bangalore women rock!

We were scheduled to perform at 8.50 p.m. but there was a slight moment of uneasiness when the organisers asked if we could go on stage at 8.00 p.m. ahead of another band ‘Aurko’ since the keyboardist of the band was stuck somewhere in the ever worsening traffic of Bangalore. I really wish we could help Aurko but we had not even tuned our instruments or got dressed. All apologies to Supratik!

Aurko, despite the absense of their keyboardist (he did turn up for the last song though), put up a decent show. Backstage, we had such great fun dressing up for the concert . Gaurav, Balaji and myself were wearing sarongs and I thought we looked the act we were! We got on to the stage precisely at 8.45 pm.

We had a quick sound check and Sanjay was in his elements to get that done quickly. And then there was that audience!!!!!!!!!! We simply love it when the audience is well behaved ;). I just had to mention my now-famous statistics-joke and the audience obediently got up on their feet which till then was lazing on the floor.

First few strains of ‘Hey Bhagwan’ and we knew the audience was with us. There were some really cute kids of 5-7 yrs old in the front row and some senior citizens at the back, and oh boy everyone grooved as soon as Shiva rolled into his groovy reggae drumming! Anirban was at his soulful best and Gaurav at the edge of his humor. Rahul on Tabla and Dholak gave an exceptional performance and really gave a tight groove along with Shiva. I myself felt in good nick of my voice. Balaji was tentative but still pulled off a clean performance looking at the notes he had scribbled on his book which was kept hidden against my guitar monitor! He sure does have a sharp eye! Sandeep, despite all the pressure on him, pulled of an inspiring performance. And at the end of hey bhagwan, the roar was deafening. At that moment I felt alive again! Hey Bhagwan, thanks for this Zindagi-Dubaara!

Mysore se ayee was next and I just had to mention the name and the crowd roared again….this time many in the audience were singing along….this song works everytime, doesn’t it?!

I had just started singing Ambar and Gaurav’s hairy face was next to my ear whispering that we had only 7 more minutes. I lost my concentration and the lovely mood I indulge in whenever I sing that song – I did hover around a few notes. Anirban cooked a fantastic impromptu solo and the crowed simply loved him. We had to end that song prematurely after a single verse to save time for our best song of the nite ‘Har saans mein’.

We lured some of the pretty women I mentioned earlier to come on the stage and be our clapping choir for the qawwali effect! Isabelle, my ex-colleague from Brussels, too volunteered to come on stage!!! I think this song cooked to perfection. Yet again, Anirban’s solo rocked the crowd and Rahul gave a commendable performance on the tabla. The crescendo was accompanied by the entire crowd singing along and I hope Vasu has it all on our video!

It was too short a concert but it will go down in my memoirs as one of my best experiences on stage. Balaji, who has been a studio musician all his life, was ecstatic and totally numb with the crowd coming to him and congratulating him! He swore that he will make himself available for every practice and concert henceforth and thanked Sai Baba a hundred times that night!

Did you attend this concert? Please do post a comment and let me know how you felt being there in the audience!
Did you lose out on this concert? Just email us to music@raghudixit.com and we shall keep you posted about our future concerts.


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