Thursday, 20 August 2009

London Diary: A year in Music

(All photographs by Anvita Lakhera)

It actually starts in Amsterdam with tickets to two shows: Mark Knopfler and Gogol Bordello. But the move to London coincides with both. A day after we fly out Mr. Knopfler performs at the Heineken Music Hall. Damn! But we manage to catch up with Gogol Bordello in Hammersmith. Good band. Bad venue.

How can you sit and listen to “Start Wearing Purple”? Clearly someone had not heard the music before selecting the venue. A more appropriate setting would have been Victoria Park. Radiohead plays at Victoria Park. It’s a stone’s throw away from home. Love the Park. Love Thom York’s commitment to the cause. Then there is the music…

But next came Leonard Cohen. A man after my heart. A concert that will be remembered for ages. Or at least for as long as all those who attended it walk this earth. The grace. The dignity. The voice. The words. And an atmosphere resonating with all that is good and hope inspiring about the human race.

Naturally when he came back we were there again. And sang along with an audience that broke all age barriers, “It’s time we began to laugh and cry and laugh about it all”.

Then came the big one. What would be considered the biggest event of a musical lifetime. Bob Dylan Live. But we had been amply forewarned. Big venue, moody singer-well prepare to be disappointed. And so we were. Disappointed.

That coupled with the fact that the big screens were covered and so most people didn’t even get a glimpse of the man…much like listening to Dylan at home but with people going out to get another beer every few minutes.

Then Pearl Jam. And what a contrast. What a concert. Everything that one expects from music and musicians. Great songs. Good, solid performance. Interaction with the audience. Love. Humility. Respect. Gratefulness on both sides. And a minor act of protest.

Plus the fact that Eddie Vedder is the coolest man. Ever. And you can't find a better man.

No comments: