- The occurrence and development of events by chance in a happy or beneficial way.
- “A fortunate stroke of serendipity“
- synonyms: chance, happy chance, accident, happy accident, fluke;
The above is the definition to the world, but to me serendipity meant watching Bryan Adams live in Bangalore on 13th of October, 2018.
It was just another day at work. I was walking in the aisle towards my desk when a colleague asked me “Sir, did you watch Bryan Adams LIVE in Bangalore?”
I feel some of these younger blokes address me as “Sir” only to remind me of my age and graying hair. Nasty generation of kids out there! It was a double whammy for me with this and realizing the fact that I never had a clue that Bryan Adams was performing in Bangalore. Regret was an understatement here. The feeling of missing the concert aside, I was wondering how I never got any whiff of this event? Perhaps my social circle is also aging with me. I asked Google baba about the concert, curious to read how it was and the set list of the concert. And lo-behold, I was so ecstatic to find out that the concert was not over; instead it was scheduled to occur in the coming weekend. Nasty and misinformed generation of kids out there!
The odds of me going to the concert were really very low though. For the past ten days I was suffering from cold and severe cough and was really under the weather. Having used this excuse to escape the drudgery at home, I did not want to invite the family’s wrath by going to the concert. I just consoled myself that I have seen Bryan Adams LIVE in Bangalore twice already [in 2001 and 2011] and so I will not be missing much. However deep within me, I felt really sick that I will be missing the concert.
13th of October arrived and this feeling just got worse. I returned home dead tired after an hour of swimming. Towards noon I was running a slight temperature, pounding headache and persistent cough. I hit the sack soon after an early lunch. When I awoke after a few hours of sleep, it was already 4 in the evening. I was feeling much better, my head was clear and my fever had subsided. There was a slight cough though, but definitely not as alarming as it was before. I walked into the living room wondering what plans the family had in store. My wife and my two daughters surprised me by saying that they had made their own plans for the evening. The three of them were going to take part in Dussehra celebrations at my brother-in-law’s apartment. They had even decided to travel on their own to save me the trouble of chauffeuring them. I just could not believe it. Within the next half an hour I was all alone at home with nothing to do. It took me a few minutes thereafter to book the tickets for the concert. And at 5 in the evening I was on my way to watch one of my favorite singers perform LIVE with his band!
It was happenstance that I got to know about the concert; recovered from poor health just at the nick of time; absolved from family commitments… just to watch my favorite rock star… if all of this is not serendipity, what else can it be???
The concert was taking place at Ozone Urbana, very close to the Bangalore International Airport. I reached there at about six in the evening. It was a carnival like atmosphere. A decent crowd had already assembled there; there was some music playing and there were numerous stalls for refreshments. Someone called Aditi Singh Sharma performed the opening act. It looked like she was a well-known Bollywood singer. She put up a good show that lasted for about an hour. I liked a particular song from a movie called Roy, which started of like this.
Matalbi Ho Ja Zara Matlabi
Duniya Ki Sunta Hai Kyun
Khud Ki Bhi Sun Le Kabhi
How cool is that?
Aditi bade adieu just about when the crowd was getting restless. A good half an hour went by for the technicians and support crew to get the stage ready for Bryan Adams and his band. And as anticipated, the band took the stage at eight in the evening. The place was packed with people by this time and Bryan Adams was welcomed with a huge cry and applause!
I did not grow up listening to Bryan Adams songs. In fact I started following English bands and music very late, maybe when I was 23 or 24 years old. However, the first time I heard “Can’t Stop This Thing We Started” at a friend’s place, I was hooked to Bryan Adams singing, music and songs. From thereon it was Bryan Adams all the way. It was just a matter of time, before I could sing-along most of his popular songs, ballads and so called anthems from start-to-end. I found his songs to be romantic, mushy at times, youthful and most of all soothing to the soul. His scratchy and atypical voice would emote the songs appropriately and with perfect timing. The music accompanying the songs was a work of art. Bryan Adams has had Keith Scott as his guitarist and Mickey Curry has his drummer for many decades now. And this trio has truly created rock music for the soul which will survive the test of time. Until a few years ago, I was crazy enough to buy CD’s of most of his albums; my car always had his music; my iPhone had his music… I was literally carrying the songs with me everywhere I went. In due course however, I added quite a few other artists to my collection… Linkin Park, Eagles, Mettalica, Slayer, Guns-N-Roses, AC/DC to name just a few. For a while I was even crazy about trash and heavy metal. However in spite of all this, whenever I wanted to be at peace, I found solace only in the music and songs of Bryan Adams. Time and again I would return to it, to be cast in his spell and to be reminded that life is a joy worth living… love music… love life!
Although this was not the first Bryan Adams concert that was watching, the experience was exhilarating. There was no feeling of déjà vu. He started with a song called The Ultimate Love from his latest album, which he was promoting with this tour. The euphoria that followed for the next two hours was something that I would cherish for many years to come. When he said “I never visited you for 7 years and you changed the name of the city” the crowd laughed and giggled. And there was a roaring “YES” when he said “Please forgive me if I continue to address you as Bangalore instead of Bengaluru”. Soon he launched into some of his peppy rock numbers “Can’t stop this thing we started”, “Run to you” and “Go down rocking”. Bryan Adams had set the stage on fire and he had set the adrenaline flowing in thousands of folks who had turned out to watch him. The biggest party in town was ON!
Great bands are ones that bond and stay together. This was so true about Bryan Adams, Keith Scott and Micky Curry. To me it is a humbling experience to watch them perform in all the three concerts I have seen till date. Bryan Adams went onto introduce Keith Scott who wooed the audience with his guitar riffs and solo. Today there were two more guys in the band to play the piano and bass guitar. I do not recall their name though. He then went onto sing some of his all-time favorite romantic hits “Heaven”, “It’s only love”, “Please stay”, “Cloud number nine”, “You belong to me”.
Just when we were all getting groovy, came the most anticipated song of the evening …. “Summer of 69”. He coaxed the audience to sing most of this song and for sure we folks from Bangalore impressed him singing every line of the song, in almost perfect rhythm and timing. When he started singing “Everything I do, I do it for you”, almost everyone in the audience held their phones, with the flashlight switched on, and started swaying their arms. It was a wonderful sight to watch and all of it was projected on the large display that was put up on the stage. This is one thing that has changed in all these years. When I first attended his concert way back in 2001, he had asked the audience to pull out cigarette lighters to create this effect. And now it was cellular phones.
“The only thing that looks good on me”, “Cuts like a knife” and “18 till I die” followed in quick time. And by the time he sang “Let’s make a night to remember”, it was truly a night to remember for many of us. He performed the “Straight from the heart” all by himself without the rest of the band. He got a bit nostalgic during this part of the evening. He spoke highly of his parents who allowed him to purchase a piano from the money that they had saved for his education. Bryan Adams, one of the greatest rock artists of all time, was humble enough to say that this lent wings to the dreams of a small town boy like him from Vancouver, Canada. Uncharacteristic of a rock concert he spoke at length about his parents and their sacrifices; about losing his father early this year and about watching over his mother. He spoke highly about Indian values, especially about children living with their parents and supporting them at all times. Perhaps the showman wanted to impress certain values upon his audience and it was truly working. He aptly ended his concert with the song “All for love” before signing off for the evening.
He is entering the sunset of his career [not that I am getting any younger], and hence as he walked off the stage, I wondered if I might get another chance to see him perform live. I think I am fortunate to have watched him thrice now… just WOW! My only regret for the evening was that he did not sing “Please forgive me” and “When you love someone”… maybe he has moved on and stopped singing these songs… or maybe the songs are so intense that he does not want to sing them anymore… or maybe it is just my crappy imagination.
Since the first time I saw Bryan Adams perform and now after 17 years, my life has changed a lot and I know for sure that I have changed a lot as well. It was a bit scary to realize that 17 years have just gone by. Even though I was very eager to watch this concert and fortunately made it, I was always wondering if I would enjoy the show at all. I was not sure if I am really game for such things, now that I am a lot older than what I was before. This self-doubt was also underscored by the fact that a lot more things run in mind nowadays than those good old days. Hence I was not sure if the joy of watching Bryan Adams live would be ephemeral.
The concert however bought out the “Best of me”. I felt liberated during the two hours of the concert. Not liberated from the rigmarole of daily life; not liberated from the shit that I feel is sometimes unduly heaped upon me; not liberated from anyone or anything external, past or present… but I felt liberated from myself. It was just a different me and the music and Bryan Adams and nothing else. I knew the lines of most of the songs and so I screamed; I sang; I shouted; I laughed; I jumped; I swayed; I applauded and I smiled… and all of it wholeheartedly. Music, for me, is the best form of expression. And this concert was as good a testimony to this as possible. I was truly expressing myself in the best way possible. I cannot remember the last time I went through such a surreal experience. During the evening, I could sense some of my unknown neighbors casting their weird glances upon me. But I never cared…
Here I Am
This is me
There’s nowhere else on earth I’d rather be…
Given below is the complete list of songs that Bryan Adams and his band played during those two memorable hours.
- Ultimate love
- Can’t stop this thing
- Run to you
- Go Down Rocking
- It’s only love
- Please stay
- Cloud number nine
- You belong to me
- Summer of 69
- Here I am
- When you are gone
- Everything I do
- Back to you
- I need somebody
- Really love a woman
- Only thing that looks good
- Cuts like a knife
- 18 till I die
- Let’s make a night to remember
- Brand new day
- Straight from the heart
- All for love