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Bryan Adams concert in Bangalore: damp wet squib

I hadn’t imagined that I would come out a mite tetchy from the first rock concert that I would attend. Alas, that’s precisely the mood I was in after the Bryan Admas concert on Sunday, here is why:

Pathetic Crowd Management: Kevin, Rosh and I found ourselves at the fag end of a queue about 2 kilometers long, eagerly waiting to enter the concert ground. We stood there killing time, but even after 45 minutes the queue moved barely 100 meters. Rosh broke off from the queue, rushing ahead to check where it eventually ended. He came back, beaming, grabbed my hand and pulled us out of the queue. We jogged along the length of the queue and reached the entrance to parade grounds (the venue for concert). Now here, there were no queues; just crowd, squabbling and pushing to get in. We stared at each other, startled. Eventually our instincts prevailed over our sensibilities – we jostled our way through the sea of people and passed through a narrow, makeshift gate that led us into the ground. (Rosh almost picked an argument with an inebriated bloke).

Bad Stage Design: It looked as if the stage was put together moments before the concert. A high platform, covered with a corrugated tin sheet supported on four steel beams, from where the lighting for the concert was suspended. No lasers, no pyrotechnics, no synchronization with music; thoroughly amateurish.

Performances we didn’t pay for: If the sponsor ads weren’t irksome enough, we were subjected to two stretched out promotional performances. The first one was by Channel V’s Pop Stars II; the only thing tolerable about them was the fact that they kept their act down to two tracks. They were followed by a conscript, non-descript rock band called “dragonfly”. They not only stood there crooning for close to an hour, but also pompously kept referring to their yet-to-be-released debut album and upcoming performances in city. The crowd jeered at them, hurled whatever they could (besides abuses) and yet the sub-standard shenanigans went on. Frankly, there were bands in my college that displayed lot more talent (not to mention a little more humility).

Another break: Sponsor ads repeated themselves for another 15 minutes on the giant screens. A channel V VJ then walked on stage, made those hackneyed, done-to-death remarks about how energetic Bangalore crowd was, and with great difficulty came to the main point – Bryan Adams would give the performance we were all awaiting in another 10 minutes. Another 25 minutes flew away; the almost full, pale moon gradually sprang into view from behind the stage. I was missing my camera already. I looked at the sky; plumes of dust, kicked into air by movement of crowd in the ground had mixed with cigarette smoke and hung low bearing close semblance to clouds. It was all so surreal, made even more so by gradual onset of fatigue. A tumultuous roar of people beckoned Bryan Adams’s arrival on stage (never before had the phrase “better late than never” held so much significance in my life).

Atrocious Acoustics: My fears of bad acoustics in the ground came to life as Bryan Adams belted out his first number. The electric guitar totally muffled the vocals. There were times when you would hear just the guitar, or rather what sounded like guitar (with a little imagination). 5 tracks, and the cacophony had sounded the end of our tether. Kevin and I walked out of the concert (Roshan stood their till the end, brave man!) feeling flustered, cheated; the thirst and hunger compounding our anguish. We rushed to a small pizza outlet near the concert venue. The sounds from concert had gradually faded with every step of ours but could still be heard prominently in the background (oddly, we could clearly make out the vocals now). We sat in pizza joint enjoying the remaining concert over pizzas and coke. As I took a large swig from my coke bottle, Bryan Adams had started playing “Please Forgive Me” – I think the apology was called for!

posted: 9.2.04

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