It was hot, humid, dusty and slightly unfavourable weather conditions for an open air concert in Dubai on Friday. But that did not dampen the spirits of concertgoers who turned out in thousands to hear one of Bollywood’s most-loved singers.
Nigam then went on to fulfill his promise (tribute to the legends) as he belted out a medley of past hits such as Kaun Hain Jo Sapnon Mein Aya and Evening in Paris by Mohammad Rafi; Yeh Dil Na Hota Bechara, Mere Sapnon Ki Rani, Yeh Jawani Yeh Diwani, Zindagi Ek Safar Hain Suhana by Kishore Kumar and Aye Mere Zora Zabi by Manna Dey.
Fans were clearly enjoying themselves as the singer engaged them in an impromptu session making them join in the chorus. “I love the Dubai audience — you people can all singing in perfect pitch,” said Nigam, who’s been regularly performing at shows in the emirate since 1994. “I started performing here when I was very young,” he said.
Among his favourites, Nigam singled out Rafi’s Tum Jo Mil Gaye. “This is one of the most romantic songs ever for me. Rafi was not only my mentor, but like a father to me,” the singer said.
Nigam’s backing band featured a string section, a horn section and a percussion section, a rarity in these times of electronic music. “Today’s band is made up of some the finest musicians [in the industry]. They’re veterans. Some of them are from the era when these classics I’m singing today were recorded – when I was not even born,” he said.
His contemporary tracks included Suraj Hua Madham, Tanhai, Om Shanti Om, Tera Jadoo Chal Gaye, All is Well, Kal Ho Na Ho and Saathiya.
Nigam demonstrated his dancing skills in the track Bijuria as he took off his coat and broke into some fluid break dance moves and moon walk steps.
The singer also dedicated songs to late ghazal singers Mehdi Hasan and Jagjit Singh.
And what brought him to near-tears was a video that was played on the giant screen just before the song showing Nigam at an earlier concert where his mum is sitting in the audience and he goes across to her and requests her to sing and she obliges by singing the track Yeh Sama.
The surprise of the show, however, was Nigam’s son Neevan who joined the singer on stage for Abhi Mujh Main Kahin from the movie Agneepath and rounding it off with the cult hit Why This Kolaveri Di.