Concert review: Farhan Akhtar Live 2018 (London)


Date: 4th November 2018
Location: Indigo at the O2, The O2
Organisers: Rock On Music

The super talented Farhan Akhtar has been travelling around India and sometimes to other parts of the world with his band Farhan Live. This year it was the UK’s chance to see his musical magic live as he debuted in concert over the last few days, first in Leicester on 2nd and then in London on 4th November. Accompanying this headline act were three contestants from ‘Sa Re Ga Ma Lil Champs’ – Jayas Kumar, Shanmuka Priya and Dhroon Tickoo.

Host Natasha Asghar was the first on stage to thank the relevant sponsors, as she promised a show which the audiences would enjoy to the max. With previous ‘Indian Idol’ contestant Sakshi and the ever popular Kadam Verma, the evening was kicked off with the downstairs of the Indigo O2 being made into a standing space for the show. Following their acts, the Lil Champ contestants took centre-stage, singing hugely popular songs, warming up the audiences. Shanmuka Priya’s rendition of Humma and Kaala Chashma, Dhroon Tickoo’s performance of Swag Se Swagat and Slow Motion Angreza as well as Jayas Kumar singing Chalti Hai Kya Nau Se Baara and One Love were the highlights. Having said that, these acts took up the whole of the first half of the show which made the audiences even more eager – and somewhat impatient – to see Akhtar, the headline act, on stage.

When Akhtar entered the stage with his accompanying talents, the crowds were not only already warmed up by the up-beat tracks sung by the younger talents in the first half, but they were more than ready for Akhtar and the Farhan Live band’s takeover. Starting off with part of his famously recited poem from 2011’s ‘Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara’, Akhtar’s voice was enough to get the audience screaming even before he entered the stage. When he did finally make his first appearance, he was greeted by loud cheers as he broke into his first track, Sinbad the Sailor from ‘Rock On!!’ (2008).

From there on in, the hits didn’t stop and Akhtar’s anecdotes about the songs were also interesting to keep the audiences engaged. Main Aisa Kyon Hoon, Socha Hai, another part of the ‘ZNMD’ poem, Manzar Naya, Pichle Saat Dino Mein were all met with loud approval noises from the audiences. The downstairs audiences were dancing and jumping along and the seated viewers from the top decks were also getting up from their seats enjoying the spectacle, as Akhtar had been encouraging of.

Then followed a slower track in Khaabon Ke Parindey, sung beautifully by female vocalist Shannon Donald who accompanied Akhtar in that as well as previous and following tracks with such ease. Teen Kabootar and Woh Ladki Hai Kahaan‘s signature moves were copied by the audiences after that, and then the soulful Tum Ho Toh was a treat to see live. Soon after, Akhtar’s teasing of the audiences continued in the middle of the performance of Wazir (2016) song Atrangi Yaari, during which Akhtar decided the audiences were simply too good for him to continue. He walked over to one of his musicians for a short while, returning to centre-stage and doing push-ups to rev himself up
before continuing with the song in the same soulful and rock fashion. He won audiences’ applauds from the pushups, as well as the continuation of the song.

Senorita followed this, which was a song the audiences were waiting eagerly for and with Donald, Akhtar lent his vocals to the male portions. Raman Mahadevan joined the stage at this stage, joining the vocals for Ik Junoon, once again from ‘ZNMD’. The title track and Gallan Goodiyaan from 2015’s ‘Dil Dhadakne Do’ came next, with Akhtar, Donald and Mahadevan playing off each other in the vocals and dancing on stage in sync. A highlight performance was on the cards next with Koi Kahe from ‘Dil Chahta Hai’ (2001) which was Akhtar’s directorial debut. 2013’s Maston Ka Jhund from ‘Bhaag Milkha Bhaag’ was one of the following tracks, again with Akhtar, Mahadevan and Donald coming together to wow the audiences.

After a short break, the audiences cheered Akhtar and his accompanying artistes back onto the stage for the title track of ‘Dil Chahta Hai’. The night then came to an end with the final song being the title track of ‘Rock On!!’ which the audiences were waiting in anticipation for. Akhtar was then asked to remain on stage as Star TV and Ria Money Transfer adorned him with an award for his charity work outside of entertainment.

The highlight performances of this concert were many and it’s difficult to pinpoint any in particular of the mix – not least because Akhtar is a powerhouse of talent and all those who perform with him add to this. He knew how to handle the audiences well, mentioning early on that performing in London was something he’d always wanted to do. Both he and the others were forthcoming in saying the London concert audiences were quite something and evidently this was also obvious when, towards the end of the night, pretty much the whole arena was on its feet dancing and singing along to each song that was being performed.

Kudos to the main act and his band, who quite literally painted the town red at the Indigo at the O2 on Sunday night. One can only hope London and the UK get to see this happen again sooner rather than later! was the official online partner of Farhan Akhtar’s debut UK tour.

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