Sonu Nigam delights audience in Covid-conscious Dubai concert
He belted out a medley of old and new hits to an enchanted audience at the Dubai World Trade Centre on Friday.
The music industry took a massive hit because of the Covid-19 pandemic. Lockdowns imposed all around the world forced people to hit the bunker and put away all their dreams of going to a concert and to be able to grab a wacky selfie in the front row. But Sonu Nigam united fans across the globe with his music, when he conducted his first-ever global concert in Dubai in what was tagged as the first-ever live Bollywood concert with Covid Consciousness at the Dubai World Trade Centre on August 21.
The veteran singer, who has been living in the emirate for over five months, had told City Times in an earlier interview that he was 'missing out on the bliss of live performances' and now for the first time since the pandemic, he got a chance to interact with a live audience.
This was Nigam's first concert with a global orchestra and he was accompanied by an 18-piece band, consisting of musicians from different countries. The set list featured a collection of hits ranging from modern numbers to covers by legendary singers from the golden era. Titled 'Sonu Nigam ~ The Light' and organised by Blu Blood Middle East, the concert was a part of Dubai Summer Surprises and followed all the Covid-19 safety guidelines stipulated by the UAE government.
As always, Nigam was dazzling on stage as he dished out non-stop hits from his vast repertoire. It was a little past 9pm when the spotlight shone on stage to reveal the singer dressed in a pink blazer and trouser combo as he set about his business of delivering top songs starting with Shukran Allah. When the song ended, he regarded the audience with a lingering smile. "I am so happy to be here. performing for the first-ever (Bollywood) indoor concert during this pandemic. We are creating history here (today)," said Nigam.
He then moved on sing hits like Maana Ke Hum Yaar Nahin, Ab Mujhe Raat Din, Suraj Hua Maddham and more. In between sets, he changed the tempo, and the mood, to feature classics like Babul Mora by K.L. Saigal. In the track Bijuria, Nigam took off his blazer, folded the sleeves of his shirt and started dancing, much to the amazement of the exhilarated audience several of whom matched steps with him. The auditorium erupted with applause and cheering from fans as soon as the song ended.
Post interval, it was a more intimate session as the singer came out in more casual attire - blue jeans and a black T-shirt. He soon broke into Aisa Pehli Baar Hua Hain (from Har Dil Jo Pyar Karega), Tumse Milke Dilka Jo Haal and other hits. Just before singing the hit Tanhayee (from Dil Chahta Hai), Nigam got emotional as he spoke of the pain brought on by the pandemic, in particular the isolation. "This song is relevant to what is happening in the world today," he said. The singer praised Dubai and called the organisers on stage to pay an emotional tribute to the departed as he sang Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna.
Nigam is famous for a medley of past hits in his shows, and this time too he did not disappoint fans as broke into a mix of old songs like Yeh Jeevan Hai, Ye Shaam Mastani and more. In the Kishore Kumar classic track Main Hoon Jhoom Jhoom Jhumroo, he yodelled and increased the tempo until it reached a nail-biting crescendo, and the crowd enjoyed it.
Following this, Nigam slowed the pace with a romantic medley. He also brought out the patriotic Sandeshe Aate Hain (from Border).
People who attended the concert displayed a range of emotions and at the end of it all, they were delighted to be able to experience what was billed as the first Covid-conscious live concert in Dubai.
Nathan Gomes is a City Times reader.