The last time Rahat Fateh Ali Khan had visited the Netherlands, his concert took place in a theater. It was kept small and very personal, but due to great demand, he performed there twice and both his shows were sold out completely. This year, the organization wanted to make this one big, and Rahat was scheduled to perform at Ahoy stadium, an arena in Rotterdam that can seat 10,000 people. Rahat performed in front of approximately 3000 people.
Our hometown reporters Zhunaysha Gajadhar and Nicky Matai went to the concert and gave us a full report on their experience. Zhunaysha is a huge fan of Rahat in terms of his voice. According to her he is one of the few in today’s day and age who brings a lot of feeling into his singing. “I had seen him before in 2010, which was fantastic. The atmosphere back then was exhilarating and I was really excited to cover this for you guys. You know, when he sings a love song, you can feel the love in your heart. When he sings a sad song, it makes you want to cry.”
While Zhunaysha had seen the singer perform live back in 2010, this was a first for Nicky. “I had never seen him on stage. I was familiar with his songs but didn’t quite know what to expect from a live performance.”
According to Zhunaysha he gave the audience a good mix of qawwali’s and Bollywood. “He started off with Allah Hoo. And what a way to start, beautifully sung. He sang all his hits like Ishq Risk from Mere Brother Ki Dulhan and Tere Mast Mast Do Nain from Dabanng. But he also gave us songs like Afreen.”
Talking about Afreen, she says “a large section of the crowd that went wild when he performed Afreen. They were all just singing and clapping along.” But adds “the highlight of the evening was definitely the hit song Teri Meri from the blockbuster movie Bodyguard. That one really got the crowd going. I thought the crowd went wild with Afreen, but then he started to sing Teri Meri, it felt like literally everyone present was singing along.”
And when everyone went wild Nicky was not too impressed. “I love his songs, especially Teri Meri, but it was the whole setting of the show and the organization that didn’t quite appeal to me. The show started later than expected and that takes away some of your enthusiasm, to be honest. And I missed a bit interaction with the crowd. I had not expected something like this.”
When a crowd goes wild, that’s the sign a good show has been delivered. So comparisons to his earlier show are inevitable. “I feel this year, it was a bit more focused Bollywood, which isn’t bad as he has sung so many songs in the last few years. But I was a bit disappointed to see the crowd was more listening to his songs rather than singing along. At his earlier performance, even though it was kept small and personal, people sang along and seem to be enjoying it more. Also this time around, there were more musicians present, but somehow the last show left an everlasting impression.”
She goes on to add, “I know he is not a performer like for example Sonu Nigam. That’s a totally different style of performing. Rahat’s style needs a different approach, which might not appeal to some. But one can easily enjoy a Rahat concert the same way. Just like Sonu, he is a magician when it comes to what he can do with his voice.”
“One could notice that the Bollywood songs are sung with ease; still he sings them with such élan. Yes, he is currently more famous because of those songs, but when it comes to qawwali’s, he just simply shines. He blows you away when he plays with the high notes, the variation he brings in with beats and his voice and the interaction between him and his group of is just simply outstanding and I have to say that I loved those.”
To conclude: “The show is very enjoyable and shows you the many shades of Rahat, while he gives you a mix of Bollywood and Qawwali’s. But its definitely the qawwali’s one should look out for when going to his concerts. The man is sheer magical in that genre, which he himself seems to enjoy more on stage”, said Zhunaysha.
Have you ever been to a Rahat Fateh Ali Khan concert and what were your experiences?