From all corners of the country they came. College students and managers. Musicians and journos. eye hitched a ride with the Great Indian Rock Fan who goes anywhere the music is
A sea of heads bobs to the music. Ripples of hands and camera phones. Steven Tyler has danced on to the stage. Joe Perry takes the microphone, “India, do you know why we love you? It’s because you gave us the Kamasutra!” Thirty thousand voices roar back lustily.
It’s a spectacle that has drawn Akshay Dhar, a HR trainee and industrial social worker in Puducherry, to Bangalore. Friends Colin Fernandes and Harsher Singh have flown in from Delhi. They aren’t alone. Guitar slung over shoulders and tattoos on show, college students from all corners of the country have hopped on to trains to be part of this headbangers’ ball. Managers in pinstriped suits have junked their laptops and PowerPoint presentations to catch a flight to the city of watering holes.
Meet India’s new breed of city-hopping concertgoers, who think nothing of bouncing around the country in search of good music. Says Dhar, “The fantastic thing about going to watch Aerosmith, Iron Maiden, Roger Waters and others perform is that we get to experience these bands in our lifetime—live. Just look at the thousands who get together to hear the music. It’s the intensity of the crowd and the passion for the music that makes the difference. Sitting in a bar or in your room and listening to the same music just doesn’t compare.”
When Raghav Modi and his friends, young graduates who have just started working in Delhi, heard about Roger Waters coming to Mumbai, these Pink Floyd fans knew this was a show they couldn’t miss. “There were about 20 of us who ended up going. We knew this was the closest we would ever get to Waters!”
For Dhaval Mudgal, a member of the immensely popular Delhi band Half Step Down, Pink Floyd was as good as it gets. “The Roger Waters concert was a life-changing experience for me not only as a listener, but as a musician. I was blown away by the organisation and the visuals—I absorbed a lot about performance.” Mudgal had to miss Aerosmith last week, but only because his band was performing in Mumbai the same weekend.
Unfortunately, there are always those who miss the show. “It’s always some other city,” cribs Dwaipayan Banerjee, who recently finished a Masters in sociology at the Delhi School of Economics and is off to pursue a Ph.D. at New York University this fall. “We grew up with this music. So of course you want to hear these bands. I only wish that more bands, like Franz Ferdinand, Keane, were coming. And don’t think there is no demand, because even when Herbie Hancock came, and Delhi is not a city known for its jazz taste, it was sold out. So, I really hope more acts follow!”Banerjee’s wish might come true. The buzz is that the next acts in town will be Red Hot Chilli Peppers and Metallica.
Back at the concert, the band is in exit mode. But like all good bands, they come back for one last song. Don’t wanna miss a thing it is. A mite soppy but the crowd loves it—they sure were never going to miss this.