Gig Report: A R Rahman’s “Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow”

Master composer A R Rahman kicked off the concert series celebrating his 25 year completion in Indian film music as music director – Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow – with his gig at the SSE Arena Wembley on the 8th of July. The concert that lasted nearly three hours and played to a packed venue, was replete with moments of delight for his fans based in the UK. Starting with a video montage of some of the man’s career highlights (including the historic Oscar winning moment), the evening saw Rahman and the accompanying musicians regale the audience to some of his most popular songs, both old and new. The best aspect about the gig to me was the fact that the set list included a bunch of songs that are not normally bound to be part of a concert set – songs like Agar Tum Saath Ho (Tamasha), Usilampatti (Gentleman), Aathangara Marame (Kizhakku Seemaiyile) etc. There was also a wonderfully compiled and executed medley at one point, that started with the more melodic pieces (Kannukku Mai Azhagu from Pudhiya Mugam to Avalum Naanum from AYM to Malargale from Love Birds), gradually picking up pace and intensity to end with songs like Columbus Columbus from Jeans and Ellaa Pugazhum from Azhagiya Tamizh Magan.

While the first half of the concert featured – apart from the composer himself – singers Neeti Mohan, Jonita Gandhi, Haricharan, Benny Dayal, Arjun Chandy, Raihanah, Ishrath and Parag Chhabra, the second half also brought to the stage Javed Ali (who joined the composer with the sufi set that ARR had featured in his last concert at the O2 as well). There was also a solo performance by Indian-American rapper-songwriter Raja Kumari who debuted in films with the composer’s Kaatru Veliyidai earlier this year. Another innovation attempted at the gig was the visual additives by way of laser lights and videos featuring the singers (choreographed by singer Neeti’s sister Shakti Mohan – couple of videos even featured Shakti and their sister Mukti Mohan). While the visual spectacle at times proved distracting because of the flashiness of it all, at other times they did contribute very nicely to the song’s charm (particularly loved the colourful visuals for songs from movies by director Shankar, matching the director’s characteristically vibrant portrayal of his songs in the movies). The night came to an end with a short rendition of the staple entry of all of ARR’s gigs, Jai Ho. While I enjoyed most of the vocal performances, once again I sorely missed the original singers of most of the songs – at least for a concert celebrating 25 years of the man’s film music career, the presence of some of the senior singers who helped create a lot of the biggest hits of the career would have made the concert a lot more fun. I have also heard and seen a lot of outrage regarding the increased percentage of Tamil songs in the setlist – I would like to politely remind those people that this was a celebration of the composer’s entire film music career, and given that he has done more songs in Tamil than Hindi, it only makes it fair game that the representation be appropriate. 🙂  And it never hurts to listen to a new song that you did not know of, why choose to be confined to just ARR’s Hindi portfolio when he has done so much amazing stuff outside of it too?

The full song list from the concert below:

  • Instrumental mashup
  • Naadaan Parindey (Rockstar)
  • Chinna Aasai/Dil Hai Chhota Sa (Roja)
  • Tu Hi Re (Bombay)
  • Jiya Re (Jab Tak Hai Jaan)
  • Dil Se (Dil Se)
  • Kaalam Yen Kaadhali (24)
  • Chandralekha (Thiruda Thiruda)
  • Uppu Karuvaadu (Mudhalvan)
  • Usilampatti (Gentleman)
  • Sarattu Vandiyila (Kaatru Veliyidai)
  • Azhagiye (Kaatru Veliyidai)
  • Tum Saath Ho (Tamasha)
  • Enna Sona (OK Jaanu)
  • Mayya Mayya (Guru)
  • Kaadhalikkum Pennin (Kaadhalan)
  • Sachin Sachin (Sachin: A Billion Dreams)
  • Arziyan (Delhi 6)
  • Kun Faya Kun (Rockstar)
  • Kaara Funkara/Patti Rap (OK Jaanu/Humse Hai Muqabla)
  • Aathangara Marame (Kizhakku Seemaiyila)
  • O Humdum/Endrendrum (Saathiya/Alaipaayuthey)
  • Ballelaika (Sivaji)
  • Medley: Kannukku Mai, Avalum Naanum, Malargale, Nenjukkulle, Moongil Thottam, Pachai Kiligal, Columbus, Anbe Anbe, Hai Rama, Kannodu Kaanbadhellaam, Ella Pugazhum
  • Patakha Guddi (Highway)
  • Humma Humma (Bombay)
  • Oorvasi Oorvasi (Kaadhalan)
  • Putham Pudhu Bhoomi (Thiruda Thiruda)
  • Jai Ho (Slumdog Millionaire)


Tags: , , ,