Performing in New Zealand for the first time, Bollywood singer KK left no stone unturned for his fans who had a feast at Auckland’s TelstraClear Pacific Events Centre.
Whether it was Awarapan Banjarapan (movie Jism) or Ding Dong (movie Kuch To Hai), KK revelled in all genres of singing to the 3000-strong audience of Bollywood music buffs.
While the ticket-paying audience sat patiently through the parade of sponsors trying to steal a piece of limelight with their better halves, and rub shoulders with KK, the award-winning singer stayed grounded throughout the event.
If poor compering, appalling seating and below-standard venue acoustics were a let down, KK more than made up for it with his sheer energy which not only remained constant but peaked, as the audience left the auditorium with a tinge of KK’s silky-smooth voice.
The softer part of the concert included slow numbers like Yaaron, Zara Sa (Jannat), Tu Hi Meri Shab Hai (Gangster), I Am In Love (Once Upon A Time in Mumbai) , and Oh Jaana (movie: Raaj).
It wasn’t until the second half of the concert which began with KK’s signature song “Tadap tadap ke” (movie: Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam), when KK kept building the tempo with faster numbers such as Ding Dong, ‘O Hum Dum’ (movie: Saathiya) and Koi Kahe (movie: Dil Chahta Hai).
While his ‘prayer’ song Tu Ashiqui Hai (movie: Jhankar Beats) took audience to tears, his fast numbers like Kya Mujhe Pyaar Hai (moview: Woh Lamhe), Khuda Jaane (Bachna Aye Haseeno) got them on their feet, before aptly concluding with “Alvida”.
Commenting on the amateur compering, the event organiser, Sudeshna Chatterjee, says, “Yes, the comperes were amateurs and had youthful exuberance. We designed it this way so that their exposure is kept to the minimum and the ticket-paying public is not exposed to the banters of so-called professional comperes. We feel that every professional start his/her career as an amateur and grow up to the professional level. We will continue to support new-comers in this area.”
There were issues with the seating arrangement. There were some restricted viewing seats after erecting of the sound-system and the light-and-sound control box of the auditorium on the day of the show, says Sudeshna. “We came to know about the specific seats, which had a blocked view of the stage, on the afternoon of the day of the show, when all sound and light systems were set.
“We immediately organised to block sale of almost 200 high value ($65 and $80) seats to reallocate seats to anybody who might face a restricted view. The duty manager and ushering staff from TelstraClear and our event manager were fully aware of this and they re-allocated everyone who complained about viewing.”
Responding to The Global Indian’s observation about a series of sponsors sharing the stage space, the event organiser felt that sponsors “earned that by paying big money in sponsoring the concert” due to which they could bring KK to Auckland.
For a music concert, acoustics are a core requirement, and the event left areas for improvement. “We agree that the acoustics in TelstraClear Pacific Event Centre are a shade inferior to other venues available in Auckland, but it wins in terms of its seating, parking, the pro-active help from the venue staff and other public facilities.
“That is why it has become a very popular venue for hosting Indian concerts. We had to make a compromise here and probably will have to do so in future, in spite of this,” says Sudeshna.
However, credit goes to the organisers for maximising KK’s singing time. “The ticket-paying public has paid for watching KK sing to the maximum and that is what we have given them,” says Sudeshna.