Monday, January 30, 2006

Rock on.

Lots of shit been happening. God, I think the last time I had his much fun was back in college. Damn, I miss those days. Final Year was brill.

Where do I start... Right. Last Wednesday this Bangalore band, The Galeej Gurus came down to the BCL for a night of Rolling Stones and Coldplay. They ended up not playing Coldplay but who cares! I came for the stooooooooooones. They opened with Start me up (could it have been anything else?) then Satisfaction and went on to Only Rock n Roll (but I like it) and then Jumpin’ Jack Flash and loads more. They took a twenty minutes break in between while we sat on the floor and watched this DVD of some footage from one of the Stones' earlier concerts. Ruby Tuesday (God, I love that one. Beautiful song) and a couple of others. I thought the break went on longer than it should but hey, no harm done. They came back and got us on our feet with Stones and a few of their original compositions once more.

A concert at the BCL is a really wonderful thing cause it's smaller and intimate and the courtyard is just such a great place. I'm actually surprised that a lot more ppl don't turn out, the passes being free and all. I thought they'd be more music lovers in the city than this! But then again, the crowd at the BCL is really quite different from the normal concert-going public. No kohl-eyed, Black Sabbath-clad dudes, hardly any headbangers, a few oldies and actually a couple of (argh!) kids. But it's cool. It's small, intimate and laid-back without being cold or indifferent. There's a lot of respect at those concerts, for the band, for what they do, for the other concert-goers. A lil more civilised, a lil less raucous.. fun and cool all the same. Didn't stop Michelle and me from appearing on the tabloid section of Sunday's Deccan Chronicle, There we were splashed across the whole colour-back-page, the party whirl section Maybe I'll scan that picture and upload it later.

After that, went to Light Music Night at IIT Saarang on Thursday night. IIT Saarang. What can I say? The last time I was there was with all my college friends in the Final Year. 15-16 of us sitting crunched together in this overpacked stadium waiting for the KK show. That was one of the most magical nights of my life, especially during this slow song, when the lights were all off and the ones on stages were dimmed to a deep red hue, everybody in the audience whipped out their cellphones and slowly waved it above their heads. It was like a million brilliant stars dancing white and blue against the midnight sky. Or the time he struck up the opening chords to Summer of 69. Man, we went wild! Everyone was yelling and screaming and singing and crying.. that moment was pure euphoria. At the end of it, all my friends were hugging each other and practically choking back tears. That was our last big blast. After that, some of us moved to the States, some of us moved to different cities, some of us lost touch... Memories remain.

This night wasn't as great as last time, I knew it couldn't compete in any way but still.. It was fun as usual. Ten of us, new faces, new friends, tightly crunched in an already overcrowded stadium. We were on our feet the whole time. It was a beautiful starry night. I wish they had played something besides all Hindi. Just ONE English song would have been nice. Anyway...
This time at IIT though, there was something else that I was looking forward to. Something besides the light music night that I was waiting for with bated breath as I counted down the days to it.

Led Zepplica @ Rock Night, IIT.

Yes, they're a tribute band. They came, They saw, They conquered. But I'm getting ahead of myself. Parikrama played too. We went in and comfortably parked our asses on the asphalt when they came on stage and opened with AC/DC "Highway to Hell". From then on, it was nonstop pandemonium - Pink Floyd, Deep Purple, some original compositions. A lot of ppl, a couple of my friends included, went down to the pit to headbang, me I stayed back. By the time they finished up at nine, we were just getting started.

Nine Fifteen. Led Zepplica walk on stage. If you're one of the unfortuntate few I call a friend then you know how many nights I have spent (and you have spent, no doubt, listening to me) in excruciating agony, lamenting the fact that I was born 30 years too late. Ever since I first heard Stairway to Heaven belting out of my dad's old gramophone, I've been hooked on Led Zepp.
So what's Led Zepplica? Alright, I'm gonna reproduce the writing on the Saarang website here.
"There's a feeling I get when I look to the west, And my spirit is crying for leaving. In my thoughts I have seen rings of smoke through the trees, And the voices of those who stand looking. Ooh, it makes me wonder, Ooh, it really makes me wonder."

Welcome to the time portal at Saarang where we take you 30 years back in time to pay tribute to one of the greatest rock bands in history, Led Zeppelin. Yes, Led Zepplica is here to rock Saarang. Led Zepplica has been performing in concerts since 1989 and has developed a reputation of being the next best thing to a live Led Zeppelin concert. With over 90 performances since 2001 all over the USA they are coming here to rock you. Their shows are charged with such emotion and realism, that people who attend these performances often forget that they are seeing a simulation.

So that’s Led Zepplica. Now you know.

The atmosphere was electric. These guys have everything down, right down to Plant's flick of the wrist. It was beautiful, everything I could have ever hoped for and more. Immigrant Song, Heartbreaker, Livin Lovin Maid (She's just a woman), Since I've been loving you, Ramble On, Moby Dick.

During Moby Dick, the lights caught fire. I am assuming those were flares. The entire set of lights that were above the drummer on stage caught fire and shone brilliantly and it rained sparks all over the drums and the drummer. I bet that was the first time anything like that ever happened to him, he's up in a flash and down to the front of the stage. And then Joe (Plant) cracks a couple of jokes about him being a scaredy cat and then he's back on the drums again!
You know, this is what amazes me. If it were any other band - Moksha, Parikrama, Euphoria, Strings, whatever. They'd have jus walked off stage in a huff. No explanations. No words to the audience. Here's your mic back, thank you very much, I value my life, I'm not staying on and performing. It’s not safe.

ANY other band, I bet. But these guys... these guys are jostling each other about it - 'Maybe it’s a pepsi commercial! Come on then, do a Michael Jackson and get back on the drums and under those sparks!' So he does. Gets back on the drums and goes straight into his drums solo on Moby Dick. It really was an amazing thing to watch.

Finally, It's the last two songs. Stairway to Heaven starts wafting thru the speakers. The audience goes wild. I'm sitting here and it's really something else watching a bunch of guys who look like Led Zepp and sound like Led Zepp actually playing Led Zepp. Everyone sobers down, it's already a few minutes past eleven and about half the stadium empty (fuckin posers! Go back to your warm beds then! *shakes an angry fist*) the ones that have stayed back to hear Stairway to Heavem go silent and get lost in their own personal universe. And the band played on.

TILL... right in the middle of the song, the lights go out on stage, the music's cut off and the stadium flood lights zap into life! We're mad and angry and upset and everybody starts howling and after a few minutes the lights and music's back on. There's police on stage. Surely, it's not that stupid eleven pm curfew on concerts and public events that they'd come to uphold! But really, in the middle of the fucking song. IN THE FUCKING MIDDLE OF STAIRWAY TO HEAVEN!!?! What kind of sadistic Asshole would pull the plug in the middle of that performance!

Led Zepplica's visibly shaken. They play for about ten seconds longer and it happens again. Now we're really agitated. The security forces come into the stadium. Riot control? Who the fuck cares. What does it matter now.

To the band: I'M sorry. I feel personally responsible.. as a Led Zepp fan, as a concert goer, as a decent human being, I want to say *I'm* sorry and we love you and all I can feel right now is shame. Because If it WAS the 'moral' police that pulled the plug and cut you guys off in the middle of 'Stairway to Heaven', f@#k them cause you know what. It doesn't matter. Tonight was one of the best moments of my life.. and that’s something you cant jus pull the plug on.
I did post that on the led-zepplica forum. Apparently so did a couple of other concert goers (and IITians?) If you were there that night and you saw what happened and whatever the hell it is that you are feeling right now.. Go there and post!
Led Zepplica, you guys rock. Peace out

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