Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Adieu 2009 : Reminiscing the roller-coaster ride of the past year - Part 5

Ok. I know there’s been a l-o-o-o-o-ng gap between my previous post and this one, but too many things were happening in the real world for me to manage any time for my ‘virtual’ one.

Anyways. Let’s get straight to business shall we? :D I DO hope you all had a listen to some serious Led Zep and Miles stuff in the meantime? I had asked rather nicely as I recall.

Right about the time we were busy with our Rajshahi and Khulna tour, we got the offer to perform in our very first “Tribute” show, which always takes place at the Sheraton Winter Garden Ballroom in Dhaka. And oh boy, the genre chosen by the event firm was no joking matter. Classic rock. And to top that, we were given one of the toughest bands ever in the history of classic rock to cover. Yup. Ladies and gentlemen, I am talking about none other than *drum roll please* the one, the only... Led Zeppelin!

Now comes the sad truth. There are hardly that many die-hard Led Zep fans in Bangladesh. And whatever percentage of peeps there are, they basically know the two most popular Zep songs; “Stairway to Heaven” and “Kashmir”. Outside these two hits, people here have hardly listened to anything else of theirs. And I can vouch for the fact (as would the zillions of Zep fans worldwide), these people had NO idea what they were missing out on. Gems like “When the Levee Breaks” and “Black Dog” and “Immigrant Song” and... Well yes, you get the picture.

Soon after, the gruelling practice sessions for the show started. We took on board three very talented musicians – Jawad (of the band ’71) as a guest vocalist, Sunny (of ReDhun) as a guest guitarist and Imran bhai, harmonica-player extraordinaire. The former can hit high pitches like he was born to do it, and Sunny... well, I likened him to Jimmy Paige. A fitting thing to do trust me :D As for Imran bhai, have a look at this video to see his prowess over the harmonica.

There was a whole lot of ‘other’ drama involved regarding the whole show. During the months of practice we came to find out accidentally, that apparently this other band was covering Zep in the tribute. Without further ado, we of course contacted the event firm and they assured us that no, we were the only band who will be performing Zep that night. But yes, apparently a senior band in Bangladesh’s music industry were apparently very much against us performing at the Tribute and they had recommended the other band. They’re stance (or pitiful/lame ‘excuse’) for disfavouring us? “What can a funk band know about rock? That too classic rock? Ever since their inception they’ve established themselves as a funk band. Led Zep or any other classic stuff is out of their league.”

Well E-X-C-U-S-E us! Though funk is one of our true loves, it doesn’t mean that’s all we know or understand. I may not know THAT much about music but I can proudly say that thanks to my parent’s, sibling’s and extended family’s taste in music, I have pretty much grown up listening to and appreciating pretty much ALL genres of music. And Saif? One of his top two favourite bands from the world of rock and metal is “Rush” and “Megadeth”. He’s also a die hard fan of David Coverdale. He pretty much has their full discography in CD, DVD or mp3 format.

And we could say the same thing about the said band. “What can a POP band know about other genres of music? Ever since their inception 30 years back, they’ve established themselves as a POP band. Any other genre of music is out of their league.” But we won’t. Because we, for one, can see how baseless the whole statement is.

Well needless to say, this whole business made us even more determined than ever to show them (and everyone else who might have doubted us) that we COULD perform Led Zep songs and do it well.

On the night of the show, we got on stage after “Dreek” who had covered “AC/DC”. We knew we needed to give our very best because after us “Miles” was coming on stage to cover “Deep Purple”. We started with “Immigrant Song” and it was a rather shaky start but after that point onwards, each song we performed boosted our confidence further. By the time we started “Kashmir” (sung by Jawad), we were super high on adrenaline and it showed. We had known, from the very first, that it was this one song that would be our ultimate test with the audience. So when at the end of our set, we came down from the stage and had people and well-wishers telling us that “Kashmir” had actually given them goosebumps, we knew that we had given back the best rejoinder to all those people with no vision and no sense of the bigger picture.

Phew! There! I have vented my pent-up feelings about the whole matter quite enough I believe. So how about I end here before I put you all to sleep?

My next post is of course going to be about our first tribute to Michael Jackson. I say ‘first’ because this coming Friday, we are repeating the show for the second time. This time around, everyone’s a bit more relaxed and not dying in tension about every minute detail.

So till next my next post...Cheers everyone! 

P.S. After the show we all went over to Pizza Hut in Gulshan to celebrate with all things cheesy and beefy :D

Clockwise from top left: dio with the stage backdrop behind him, sharing a joke during the sound check, saif & jawad chatting with the sound guys, saif's 2 mistresses (of many), saif & sunny doing their stuff, the zep gang (partial) at pizza hut for dinner after the show, saif & sunny again, imran bhai on the harmonica

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