What a fabulous way to kick start the month. Mani Productions decided Nairobi needed a bit of oomph and pledged to do something that has never been done before — two concerts in two weekends. International acts in Kenya are not a rarity but when stars do descend upon us, it’s always a great treat.
In June this year, Mani Productions had treated us to Arijit Singh as well, and this weekend we can look forward to Benny Dayal.
Once past the Thika Road traffic at 7.30pm on a Saturday night, being ushered into the fantastic Safaricom Indoor Arena in Kasarani, Nairobi was nothing short of relief.
The Securex security was polite but firm, as was expected for an international performance of this magnitude .
Mohit Chauhan was doing Nairobi, and the excitement in the auditorium was palpable!
A sumptuous dinner by Haandi was served before the performance and appeared to be enjoyed by all, including those tethered to the bar. After all one cannot survive on libation alone.
Entry into the world class Safaricom auditorium was orderly and efficient. The promoters Mani Productions had done a great job.
Hosts of the evening – Riya Sharma Shah and Vikash Pattni of the The Rush East FM. Riya look fabulous in a gorgeous salmon coloured lengha with intricate embroidery and dashing Vikash carried his suave self in a jacket suit.
So now all we awaited was the arrival of the world renowned Mohit Chauhan. In the meantime five screens showed the credits . Partners, contractors, the lot,had done their bit to perfection.
And so the show starts.....
On came Ameeta, Mohit Chauhan’s troupe’s female lead singer, Top 5 Star Voice of India has, the first act. Pretty and well trained, she did a sterling job of getting the crowd nicely warmed up. Contrary to popular belief, she was not lip synching. The delay between the audio/visual and the sound was about a second apart so it was thought she was lip-synching.
Then came the man himself....
With much fanfare, reminiscent of a Jethro Tull concert, through mist and light came the maestro himself.
By way of comparison to some other shows recently in Nairobi, the sound system was fabulous, as behoves the fabulous Safaricom Indoor Arena. Obviously nothing was spared on the spectacular light show.
After a couple of popular introductory numbers, which got the audience twitching in their seats, Mohit played ‘Dooriyan’, for those away from home. They loved it.
The audience screamed when he started Tum Se Hi. That was the transformation. Audience to participants. Mohit had them. They were his.
Then came ‘Sadda Haq’ and the concert went to another level. The audience went into raptures! It was the ideal time to introduce the band.
First the flute; a piece worthy of the best. Joined by the keyboard and then the foot stomping base. By this time if there was a leg not shaking, it was outside the auditorium. Come the acoustic guitar twanging away in a western rail inspired piece. The background singers “yay yay yay” gave the ensemble soul.
With them all introduced, Mohit joined into and broke into ‘Illahi’ by A.R.Rahman to an incredible audience reaction. They shook the rafters with their applause!!!
That was a great concert staged by Mani Productions. Nairobi is now counting down to Saturday when Benny Dayal hits town and parties with us.
Additional reporting by Sudheer Punj.