All eyes were on A.R.Rahman as December 29th, the date for his Thai Manne Vanakkam concert approached. Thousands of fans assembled at YMCA grounds, Nandanam for the event to witness the Academy Award Winner in action. After a little scare by the rains, the event produced some great music and a memorable night for everyone present at the venue.
Performing in Chennai after several years, A.R.Rahman started off the proceedings with the 'Udal Mannukku' theme, which led to the patriotic 'Undhan Desathin Kural' as powerful orchestrations and expensive sound systems made sure every nook and corner of the large grounds got to listen in. As the crowd cheered at the completion of the first song, Rahman quickly proceeded to his next. Everyone knew Elay Keechan when the music kicked off again, a song, which is the talking point of every music listener in Tamil Nadu these days.
Next came two veteran singers in Hariharan and Mano who exchanged songs in a miscellany including popular songs Arima Arima, Veerapandi Kottayile, En Peru Padayappa, Vaaji Vaaji etc. By then, the crowd were on their feet, standing on top of chairs to witness the stage having forgotten all about the rain which made them feel so gloomy not so long ago.
Packed with stars, the concert produced a lot of different music. The likes of Karthik, Chinmayi, Naresh Iyer and Benny Dayal joined in on the fun as another medley consisting of Omana Penne, Girlfriend, Endrendum Punnagai kept the crowd on their toes, ready to dance and cheer. There was certainly a lot of musical excellence packed into the night
The on-looking Mani Ratnam and Shankar had good reason to be smiling as the concert unfolded as songs from their movies came flowing one after the other. There was a spotlight for Rahman's latest album, Kadal, from which five songs were performed in total, including. Shakthisree Gopalan was present to give us Nenjukulley, another track that's soaring high on the iTunes charts. The harmonious Moongil Thottam with Abhay Jodhpurkar and Harini was a delight to hear. Even Magudi, the offbeat rap number from the album was a part of proceedings and was rendered by Dinesh Kanagaratnam.
One of the picks of the night however was Adiye, another song from Kadal. Sid Sriram's vocals resonated through the crowd, almost as beautiful as the original version and got a lot of cheering and whistles. In what might be the singer's first ever appearance in an ARR event, Sid impressed as he scaled pitches and notes live on camera. Another star of the show was Neeti Mohan, who got a handful of songs to her name including Hello Mr.Ethirkachi, Thaen Thaen Thithikkum Thaen, Akkadanudaanu. She also featured in the chorus of several songs, and even shook her leg to a few numbers.
Long term associates to Rahman, Chitra and Hariharan came up with another medley with numbers like Nila Kaaigirathu, Uyire Uyire etc. Soon, ARR brought out the harpejji, an instrument new to him, just as everyone else who
witnessed it. Together with Chitra, he produced some of his classical best with Kannampoochi Yaenada, Anbe Sugama, Enge Enadhu Kavidhai. With so much action going on, we just had to see A.R.Rahman come up with his best songs and he did just that in the lead up to the end of the concert.
In a huge array of hits lined up one after the other, Irumbile Oru Idhayam and Oorvasi Oorvasi got the crowd going more than anything else. The crowd jumped and danced in joy and people even asked for a song to be performed once more. They just couldn't get enough. The concert came to an end with Jai Ho and Vande Mataram, two songs very close to Rahman and matched the name of the concert - 'Thai Manne Vanakkam'. The crew soon came together to have an advanced celebration to ARR's birthday next week and brought a close to proceedings.
As the day got completed, the rains were gone and forgotten and the crowd's appetite for great music for filled. We wonder when we would get another chance of this magnitude.