Tag Archives: Foreigner

Foreigner at Palace Grounds, Bangalore





Question: Who organizes a rock concert and has only chairs in the arena? Who invites one of the biggest arena-rock bands of the 80’s for a performance and expects the audience to be seated throughout the gig? Answer: The ‘organizers’ of the Foreigner concert.

The much-awaited Foreigner + Niladri Kumar concert was terribly scheduled for one. The BJP to celebrate their 1000th day in power had organized a large scale rally in Palace Grounds, where the said gig was to be held. As if that wasn’t bad enough, there was also a fish mela (!) and few other programs happening at Palace Grounds. This meant that the concert was shafted (no, I did not mean to say shifted) to a smaller closed arena within Palace Grounds. The traffic, within a 4km radius of the venue was chaotic to say the least. Now all of this would have been all but forgotten had the concert lived up to its expectations. Alas, the chairs.

I unfortunately caught only the final song in Niladri Kumar’s performance. The dude can really shred on his electric sitar! The crowd, presumably late due to the traffic, was just trickling in. I noticed that the rows of chairs closest to the stage were all reserved for VIPs. This had the feel of one of those pretentious ‘by invite only’ jazz shows that seem to happen often at five-star hotels in the city.

Foreigner appeared rather abruptly on stage and played ‘Double Vision’ to a completely seated, sedate crowd. This obviously affected the band as they were just going through the motions of completing their setlist rather than perform. They listlessly played ‘Dirty White Boy’ and a couple of their other numbers to the half-full/ half-empty arena. The sound was quite horrid and barely audible at the back of the arena.

Fortunately, the venue started filling up and junta ditched the chairs and started showing some sort of enthusiasm. To their credit, they did seem familiar with the band’s music. The band launched into a brilliant rendition of the very Rainbow-esque ‘Starrider‘, a song off their self-titled debut album. I confess to not having heard the song before and it really impressed me with its rock n’ roll riff and soaring solo. The legend Mick Jones, founder and guitarist of Foreigner got a chance to showcase his impressive guitar skills with his extended solo on this song although Kelley Hanson’s vocals couldn’t quite match that of Lou Gramm. They played ‘Feels Like The First Time‘ before launching into what probably is their most recognized song. The guys and their respective girlfriends/wives sang ‘I Want to Know What Love Is’ along with the band. Foreigner didn’t deviate too much from the studio versions of their songs and seemed content with delivering a solid performance showcasing their hits rather than playing their lesser known but not necessarily bad songs.

The band then predictably played their encore consisting of ‘Hot Blooded’ and ‘Jukebox Hero’. Few people in the crowd actually fell for the good-old trick of the band leaving the stage and returning for the encore! The performance wasn’t spectacular but was satisfying as they managed to coax the crowd to sing along to these two songs. Again, the impatient audience scurried to the exit even before the band could take their final bow. Quite pitiful, really.

Thanks to some bad decision-making by the organizers, the gig was not as fun as I thought it would be. Instead it had the air of a snobbish, exclusive event that would be featured on Page 3 of a supplement like The Bangalore Times. On this fateful day, I realized that while playing live, bands always feed off the energy from the audience and it took a ‘Foreigner’ to show me that.

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Sohan Maheshwar

Jack of all tirades, total shirk-off. Follow Sohan on twitter! @soganmageshwar


Where’s all the new music going?


It’s 2011. Yes, over a decade since the big Y2K thing that was meant to represent the future. It’s a beautiful year and technology in all directions is doing bigger leaps everyday¬†– Bangalore may even get decent 3G and a rail system 50ft above the ground!

So why is it then, that at almost every pub and restaurant, every new band is doing covers, and our beloved radio station, is completely obsessed with the 60s – 80s? Yes it was an awesome time for music; it was a revolution. But we’ve grown since then. Our lives are different, our pains, our joys, all stem from an understanding of what has passed and from a hope for a less bleak future.

Yet, walk into most any bar, and you’ll hear Mr. Big, Deep Purple, Bob Marley, The Beatles, Dylan, The Stones, and maybe, if they’re adventurous they may encroach on the nineties with some Aerosmith or Chili Peppers. Don’t get me wrong. I do love these bands dearly and am a giant fan of the era, but it is still the past. It’s before our time and therefore not written for us. It talks beautifully of universal things like love and philosophy, but is received more as a story handed down than a representation of where we are. It’s art after all, and art is nothing without context.

So, where is this rant headed? It’s not a stretch to reason that this stuff is played so much because it’s recognizable and people want to hear it. At the same time, big money is putting their weight behind easy-to-digest pop that most everyone hates, but accepts as an inescapable result of commercialism. This means we have a generation of people that seemingly have no one expressing their emotions, being led by a past of hardship that isn’t theirs, ironically often singing about individuality and empowerment: fighting a forgotten war with no opposition.

It’s the adult version of teenage angst. Sadly, you’ll see this spread past just music. It’s a much larger scale problem. It means we don’t actually know what we want; we’re disaffected but don’t really know why. And as a result, support or oppose things like Anna Hazare’s dictatorship proposition without weighing final outcomes. We’re a middle-class who listen to Lennon cry for peace, love and freedom, but will back a totalitarian regime if it’s packaged tidily and pushes the right buttons. We’re not invested in the world around us, because we don’t relate to it directly. It’s not just music. Think of your top 10 painters; your top 10 (non-Hollywood) movies; comic characters, recipes, clothing styles, authors, how many are from the last 5 years?

The last few big concerts I remember hearing about were Cold Player, Foreigner, Bryan Adams, Led Zepplica, Prodigy, Michael Learns to Rock, Lamb of God, the list goes on. It’s not flattering and we happily joke about India being on the ‘retirement tour’. Nobody new comes down because, when they do, nobody turns up – because nobody’s heard of them, because nobody has been sitting comfy in the sixties, unaware that the world is happy now.

We’ve come to grips with the destructive species that we are, and are fighting to save ourselves, not just say there’s a problem. Go out of your way, find music that speaks to you where you are now; you’ll learn about yourself and believe in the universe more. We can hope you’ll be happier, and maybe honk less and smile more.

Note: Prodigy did do Invaders Must Die, which I adore, in 2009. But the publicity, and the big reason people went was Smack My Bitch Up (The Fat of The Land, 1997). Even then, it was far from packed.

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Ashim D'Silva

Ashim D'Silva is a grinner. He's a lover. And a sinner. He plays his music in the sun. He daylights as a web designer, bicycles everywhere, and bought his first real shirt last year. You should bring him a sandwich. With bacon, and avocado.