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Rock Concert By Shiva

Rock Concert By Shiva is an event that took place on 05-May-2001 in Hyderabad.
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The concept of rock music is quite alien to most Hyderabadis. And the turnout for the Shiva concert at the HPS grounds only proved the point. Unfortunately, the show turned out to be a damp squib even for the true rock fans.

The minute I heard the two comperes on stage, I made a silent promise to myself never to touch the event managers Entice even with a 25-foot pole. Imagine advertising a 22-year-old band as 'legendery' (even if you ignore the wrong spelling) on the biggest posters and the passes! The male compere needs an extensive course in the nuances of the English language - his bloopers would've put Mr. Bush to shame! He informed us that the event was co-sponsored by 'The Times Of India Today'. And once he asked everybody to 'applause' the band, we knew we were in for a long night! And this guy was a former Mr. Hyderabad!

Some things never change. After paying an exorbitant ten bucks to park the bike in some quicksand, I rushed in so as to not miss any of the great 'rock fest'. Heaven forbid that should happen. The party kicked off eventually an hour late - at 8pm. After the inescapable inanities of the comperes, Sledge came on and the distortion riffs on the sound check sent the metal freaks into a tizzy! This was what they were there for!

The best metal band in the city was a worthwhile opening act, but they probably raised the expectations of the crowd too high. The guys in the crowd wearing black T-shirts with band names and death-motifs on them (yours truly included!), along with assorted body piercings, jumped for joy when they caught the riffs of 'Children Of The Grave' by Black Sabbath.

Sledge kept the rhythm going and the Metallica bells tolling. Heavy metal ruled the night for all of 45 minutes with the lead vocalist Avinash freaking out on Sabbath's 'NIB' and their own composition 'Caught In The Crossfire'. After a passable Rage Against The Machine number, Sledge rounded off with some Sepultura and the classic 'Paranoid', where lead guitarist Prabhu showed the crowd what he was made of. Anjan on the bass and Suman on the drums supported these guys well. If you are interested, you can check out their site - We sure are gonna hear a lot more of these guys in the months to come, trust me!

The real fun and games finished with Sledge. It was drummed into our heads by the comperes that we were going to be amazed by the 'legendery' (if they were being paid every time they said this word, they'd be rich now!) band Shiva from Calcutta - or Kolkata, as the event managers tried hard to be politically correct! Shiva spent nearly half an hour getting their equipment in order - naturally this led the crowd (if you can call 150 people for a rock show that) to believe that they were in for something special from the 22-year-old band. The letdown could be compared to Sachin getting out on 0 in his farewell innings.

For a rock show with many hard rock fans around, it was a crime of monstrous proportions to start with Bon Jovi's 'It's My Life'! Yes, the rock uninitiated jumped around, but what's the point? No wonder Shiva was booted out of the Great Indian Rock Festival for the very same thing. Probably this was the reason for the passes stating very categorically that 'bottles are strictly prohibited' - Shiva could've started a bottling company with the number they amassed at the GIR festival! It was only the tolerant Hyderabadi crowd that allowed them to play on. They moped around in the same vein for another 30 minutes or so with some recent Santana and even Toto's 'Africa'!

I guess it's true what they say about first impressions. Even some Bryan Adams and Guns 'N' Roses failed to enthuse the crowd, which was now further thinning. I guess Gavin DeCunha hasn't been singing too much of late - his lackluster voice didn't do too much by way of convincing people of his talent. It was only around 10pm that they started playing music more from their time than ours. But then rock is eternal, and somebody should have told them that!

As the beginning strains of Pink Floyd's 'Comfortably Numb' wafted through the air, there was this small but noticeable surge of people towards the speakers. That one moment was so heartening to see for a rock fan - may the tribe increase in our good city! Then the suddenly inspired band went on to Dire Straits and lead guitarist Steven Rebeiro continued from where he left off in the previous song. The guitaring was excellent, but seemed a little out of touch and wasn't as close to perfect as it should probably be.

The chants of 'Floyd, Floyd' picked up and even 'Another Brick In The Wall' couldn't quite satiate the audience's thirst for the classics. Sadly, by now most of the knowledgeable crowd had left, disgusted with Shiva's pandering to popular taste. Rock will never be music of the masses, and if you call yourself a rock band, you should have the guts to stick to it!

With general crowd enthusiasm flagging (except for those in 'high spirits') Shiva played some Eagles and Deep Purple's 'Smoke On The Water'. Then came the most 'fun' part of the evening. As soon as they went onto Nirvana's 'Lithium', the crowd decided that enough was enough - a large number jumped over the barricades in front and went as close to the speakers as they could. It was quite nice to see that the organizers had the sense not to force people back, and to let them have their fun.

Well, as all good things, all bad things too come to an end, thankfully! We pranced around to 'Roadhouse Blues' by the Doors and that ended the 'festivities'. There were a lot of fireworks throughout the evening, and that I thought was a smart idea - of course, except for the times when they misfired and exploded too close to the crowd!

Oh yes, I almost forgot! 'Talking AIDS is stopping AIDS' was the theme of the show, and the comperes tried very hard to talk about it at every opportunity they got. Naturally, the testosterone was all over the place when the admittedly attractive Sharon had some advice to dispense concerning the usage of certain rubber products! The major sources of hilarity for the evening were the witty comments one heard when Sharon decided to share with us how she would like to 'do it'! Rock hard man, rock hard!

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