Lucky Ali Live at Phoenix Market City

It said Lucky Ali Live at Dublin Square. I almost closed the notification when Phoenix Market City caught my attention. OMG!! This was right down my alley and not in Ireland, duh! Well, with the metro, it most definitely was. I began to check if anyone wanted to go to the show and decided to book tickets accordingly. The next day the gold tickets on Book My Show were sold out and I wasn’t going to stand all through the concert, so silver was a no-no. I cursed my luck. I shouldn’t have let the gods of procrastination take over yesterday, I thought to myself. One desperate attempt for tickets led me to where gold tickets were available. Alleluia! I clicked ‘Buy Now’ hurriedly.

I was going to see Lucky Ali LIVE in Concert.

And that was irrespective of the company and the increased value of the ticket but my happiness did not last for long. Well, for starters the tickets were first-come, first-serve seating basis. And then the organizers decided to introduce platinum seating for Rs 1500/- So, I did what any sensible person would do. I purchased a platinum ticket as well. Now I had two tickets in two different categories. Pure Genius! Well, to cut to the chase, I found someone to give the gold ticket to who later backed out, so I sold it online. Bottomline, I was planning to be in the first few rows and on D-day and by god ki kasam, I was at the venue by 5.30 pm for a 7.30 pm show. Yes, you guessed it. I was the first to arrive. Even the counter staff was yet to make an appearance.

Lucky Ali Live at Phoenix Market City

Winding my way through the massive Phoenix City Mall, I finally reached gate 6, the entry point for the Book My Show exclusive patrons. If you are wondering about these unwarranted details, trust me, I’ll come to the point somewhere in this post. Till then, just play along. Being the first, I obviously decided to stand at the gate even as the guard assured me that he’d give me the first spot and I could go window shopping. But me being me, I waited out patiently much to his amusement. We got to talking to kill my time and his boredom. I predicted the door would break the way people were waltzing in and out of it. And it did!

That is when he fearfully asked me, “Ma’am, aap kuch issue toh nahin karnege na.”

To which I honestly replied, “Line main rehkar agar acche seats mile, toh bilkul nahin.”

He knew I was first in line, so he rested easy. And when the gates finally opened, my friends and I had seat nos 1, 2 and 3 bang opposite the stage. I am telling you, our joy knew no bounds. The wait had been totally worth it.

The concert began with an opening act by the bearded bard of Sanyaas The Band. Three songs and they blew us away. Teri Deewani, Maeri and Dama Dum Mast Kalandar. Sharp notes hit with such a precision that it set the atmosphere for a musically superlative evening. A special mention of the event organizers and sponsors who kept the mandatory introductions and vote of thanks, short and sweet. Everything was done and it was now about bringing the most awaited man of the hour on stage. And he came sans fanfare to an audience that made its pleasure known by the applause. Dressed in casuals with a jacket wrapped around his waist, his salt n pepper hair creating a halo-like vision almost like a modern-day Jesus. A simple salutation and Lucky Ali got down to business.

He initiated the musical extravaganza with ‘Na Tum Jaano Na Hum’, the breezy little number from ‘Kaho Na Pyaar Hai’ which was followed by ‘Jaane Kya Dhoondta Hai Yeh Mera Dil’ from his movie ‘Sur’. He then went on to talk about his new collaboration with his Israeli friends who even though it was the holy day of Sabbath for them, had agreed to come on his request. And then with a peaceful greeting of ‘Sabbath Shalom’, the auditorium reverberated with this prayer.

Lucky Ali then went on to introduce us to his band. Mentioning that they are his brothers and some of them have been with him for over 20 years even as they pursued their own gigs. Like Viveick Rajagopalan, the effervescent percussionist who was a delight on the kanjira had joined Lucky Ali when he was 18. Then there was Vidhwan Sri Annada Prasanna Pattanaik popularly know as Buttoji, the flautist who breathed soul in every note and why not? After all, he was a student of Pandit Hari Prasad Chaurasia and it showed.

Lindsay Dmello and Vibhas Titu Rahul on drums, John Jaideep Thirumala on bass guitar, the adorable Subhash Pradhan on Lead Guitar and Bharat Kumar on the keyboard formed the remainder of this eclectic mix. And that is when it hit me. Lucky Ali’s music has traversed time because of the cultural melting pot that it is acoustically. Pick any song, and it was memorable for the sound. The lyrics were in sync with the music and the music video was often a story that connected them all. And that is what good songs are made of.

For the next two hours, the evening breezed through as Lucky Ali belted one number after the other. And we were singing and swaying without a care in the world even as Luke Kenny was doing the same in the wings. Lucky Ali delighted us by mentioning that the crowd was great and then invited us to sing with him. What more could we ask for! He was in a trance and he took us there with him. No mean feat when modern-day artists rely on theatrics more than the acoustics. Not Lucky Ali and his band. No sir. They barely took a breather in those two hours and took us to the highs and lows of every song that he has ever crafted even as they were sweating buckets. The atmosphere was that electric.

And that is when it happened. Remember all those details at the beginning of this post, now is when it comes handy.

Three chairs were laid right in front of us to accommodate some latecomers. I was livid. I went and had a word with the one gentleman who apparently was handling the ropes and told him it was unfair. He tells me it wasn’t and in fact that there would be more chairs coming in. All this, irrespective of the fact that we were platinum ticket holders who’d come way before time to claim those seats as it was a first-come, first-serve basis. Now here’s the thing that I have been meaning to ask the organisers, Perfect Harmony Productions – the event curators and Radio City who led this musical initiative.

Lucky Ali Live in Concert

a) I don’t think they were platinum ticket holders at all. They weren’t wearing the red bands like the rest of us.

b) Even if they were, if you are late, then you don’t get benefits, no? Certainly not the best seats in the house.

c) What about all the other folks who were standing then? They did so without batting an eyelid, so why were these three an exception?

d) If they were guests/VIPs/friends, well then I am sure you do have a special enclosed area for such patrons. You don’t take away from the paying audience to patronize them, I am sorry. Make better arrangements next time.

e) You possibly couldn’t have increased ticket prices and introduced a whole new platinum category without taking into consideration the logistics.

I was told by my friend that at least one of them belonged to the music fraternity. So, here’s a little something for them three. All the more reason that you respect the artist and his craft to show up on time because you belong/know someone of the tribe. If you are only going to sit and WhatsApp or simply take pictures for better part of the show, stay at home. If your only remembrance of an artist’s work is a singular song from his repertoire, one that he’d already sung in the first half of the concert that you missed, then there is not much I can actually say to you but this. Next time when you talk about privilege, remember you exercised that on the evening of March 9, 2018, irrespective of what your reasons might be. If you were here for the music, you’d be on time.

And to that event manager, who was not only rude but also obnoxious, yes black t-shirt and spectacles, I am talking to you. I could pick you out from a lineup. Don’t ever underestimate the power of an ordinary woman. She might be a blogger who might not say much at the venue because she is there to have a good time, but she will take pictures, and then write about it and make sure it remains in digital space for a long time to come. And she will also ensure that this post goes on the social media pages of all those involved in making this event a reality so that you don’t miss it.  Next time, do the job you are hired to do but make sure you remember you have the job in the first place because of fans like us and not the guests you invite, perhaps for free. Had you been polite, I’d probably be writing about that here right now.

Well, apart from this unpleasant incident, the evening was perfect. The crowd was well-managed even as food and drink flowed openly. Lucky Ali made us a part of the evening and this is how he did it. I have snippets of videos and pictures because for once, I was giving my undivided attention to the here and now. And boy, was I rewarded. You can check some pictures of the event by Phoenix Market City.

Lucky Ali, the professional that he is, ended the show on the dot. He was done at 9.54 pm and we spent the next few minutes giving him the standing ovation that he deserved. He even tossed the bouquet handed to him into the audience and walked away with us still cheering him on. My friends and I went and shook hands with Viveick and Buttoji and offered them our gratitude for that fabulous performance. And as we stepped out of the venue with a million memories, we couldn’t help but talk about how we had newer versions of all our favourite Lucky Ali songs. Unplugged not remixed. That itself is music to the ears, no?


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