Havoc @ Hammersmith
30 November 2003
On Sunday 30th November, in aid of a special India-Pakistan peace theme, Pakistan's revolutionary rock band and music icons, Junoon, performed for a packed audience at the Hammersmith Ponana (Palais) in London.
The event organized by the Global Movement for Pakistani Renaissance (gMPR) was a huge success with fans dancing long into the night, swaying and leaping viscously to a collection of classic Junoon hits and more recent ones as well.
"It was a thoroughly satisfying night," exclaimed one thrilled fan at the end of the night, "They played all my favourite songs and they just kept on going." Unlike so many Asian concerts, this time at least, the audience were left physically drained and financially satisfied.
"It was definitely worth the money this time," expressed another young student of Pakistani origin, "they did not disappoint us with just three or four of their major hits like always, they sung most of their old numbers as well, which brought back so many beautiful memories."
Over a thousand tickets were sold for the spectacularly organized event, with the dance floor constantly packed with loyal fans refusing to rest their, by now, paining legs. Some fortunate fans were lucky enough to grab hold of the hands of the widely acclaimed artists on the night and one especially lucky fan, was invited onto the stage by lead singer Ali Azmat to show off his T-shirt which highlighted the message 'Fair Trade for All'. It was an appropriate gesture for the night, which was organized on political grounds to begin with.
Prior to the introduction of the main performers of the night, an up and coming singer named Tanuja Desai Hidier and her band San Transisto took the responsibility of warming up the eager and anticipating crowd, with great success it must be added. She was widely appreciated and who knows, maybe she will be the one to pull in the crowds in a few years time! But the show-stealers of the night as expected were Junoon, who did not disappoint unlike so many of their Pakistani and Indian colleagues who are not permitted due to time restrictions to perform more than just a few of their numbers. Ali Azmat, the lead singer catalyzed the insane crowd, with Salman Ahmed playing the lead guitar furiously for most of the night. There was also however a rare opportunity to hear Salman's vocal skills as he performed a U2 number, with Ali Azmat taking a backseat and playing the drums for a change. Brian O'Connell played his usual supporting role on the guitar as well. Widely appreciated numbers such as Sayonee and Lal Meri Pat, were definite and obvious favourites of the crowd, although among all the chaos it was difficult to detect. Among the dozen or so other songs performed were, Azadi (From Jinnah The Movie), Jazba e Junoon and Yaar Bina Dil, which are all classic Junoon hits.
All in all the night was a huge success, with spectacular organization and impeccable security and arrangements for various media sources wishing to cover the event. Credit for the success must firstly go to the rganizers, particularly Mr. Kashif A. Shaikh and also the audience, without whose support the night would not have been nearly as illustrious. Incidentally the evening was also sponsored by JP Morgan's and its Pakistani society
headed by Mustafa Jaffar.