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Review |  21 Nov 2016 19:41 |  By RnMTeam

Global Citizen Review: The Best and the Not-So-Great moments from the debut edition

MUMBAI: Dozens of reviews and observations have surfaced suggesting the sheer magnanimity and the wonders that resulted at MMRDA Grounds on 19 November. Possibly, the biggest event of the year (or ever on Indian soil, as some have claimed), the Global Citizen’s first experiment in India has been hailed as success beyond belief. 80000 ‘Global Citizens’ turned up for the event on a sunny day with high spirits and enthusiasm that escalated the moment the announcement of British rockers Coldplay’s performance was announced over a month ago. From Farhan Akhtar’s expected set-list to Demi Lovato surprising the audience through her dynamic powered performance and Jay Z’s stage presence proving why he’s been hailed as a legend in the west, the attendees welcomed every passing act with applause and a silent prayer that the next was ‘Coldplay’. Of course, the best had to be saved for the last.

The movement will positively affect the lives of millions of people in India through the two million actions undertaken and donations flowing from several states and Maharashtra government’s vow to create a ‘open defecation free’ Maharashtra in years to come surely highlights the primary goals of setting the festival in the country.

On the music front, there were many firsts, undeniably unforgettable moments and a few of the ‘WHAT?’ reactions (good and bad). Here are three of the best moments from the Global Citizen India and three such instances that, perhaps, simply did not match the hype and the platform.

The Bests

History was created

To sum up this moment in any other manner seems to be a complicated task. Most Indian Coldplay fans, firstly, never dreamt of watching the band perform in India. Such was the low probability of witnessing ‘favourite’ bands perform in the country, back in the 2000s. With Metallica, Slash and almost every renowned DJ finding their way to India, Coldplay fans continued with high hopes for their dreams to come true. On 19 November, not only did Global Citizen put a smile on their faces, but provided arguably the greatest moment for every music aficionado out there. The historic moment began a few seconds after Coldplay concluded its mid-tempo mesmerizing version of ‘Don’t Panic’. Chris Martin introduced AR Rahman, from the end of the stage ramp, as a “songwriter that we admire”, and Martin’s emotions weren’t simply restricted to words. As Rahman walked towards the band on the ramp, Chris Martin, Guy Berryman, Jonny Buckland and Will Champion stood there, in awe and appreciation of the Golden Globe and Oscar winner and the four rockers joined 80000 in unison, clapping and applauding the maestro expressing the beauty of this unique moment in the world of music. Possibly, vocalist of the most popular rock band in the world singing (and dare we say, in a finely composed manner) ‘Vande Mataram…Maa Tujhe Salam’ with the composer himself. Now, tell us, did you even dream of such a possibility ever before?

One-man show

In his hour-long set, Jay Z surely made a whole bunch of new fans. Such was the rapper’s moments-of-glory that began with the one of the most unexpected entrances ever. Once again, it was a Rahman composed song – in this case, Chaiyya Chaiyya – that found a way into Jay Z’s set as the hip hop mogul rapped his way to ‘Bounce’. The effort to impress the Indian crowd on his debut in the country continued with the rapper following the opening track with Punjabi MC’s ‘Mundian Tu Bach Ke’. Jay Z proves why he’s hailed as one of the greatest ever with his gracious presence on the stage, brief crowd interactions and the aura almost became contagious. People unaware of Jay Z’s music now wanted to hear more, and more he offered. Fans sang along ‘Run This Town’ and ‘Empire State of Mind’, and some lost their voices with the conclusion of the much-awaited ’99 Problems’. With thousands of flash lights facing towards the stage upon his request, Jay Z called the view as ‘the most beautiful thing I have ever seen’.

A star was born

The third best moment, too, involves AR Rahman to some extent. As the music composer took to the grand stage with his team for the umpteenth time, as a ritual, Rahman found yet another way to open his set. With a synth-inclined introductory track, for a few minutes Rahman kept the attendees waiting to begin with one of his several iconic compositions. The musician chose ‘Dil Se’, and that opened the window to the loudest cheer of the day, so far. If one follows AR Rahman’s live shows religiously or regularly, the name Mohini Dey would ring a bell. Of course, the young supremely talented bassist – of the Rahman crew for live concerts – showed her worth and justified her presence in the Rahman set-up to the unaware and uninformed audience. The 20-year-old bassist surprised one and all with her minute-long bass solo inviting a proud grin on Rahman’s face as he looked at her producing one of the finest moments on the Global Citizen stage. Fortunately for Dey, the Indian musicians’ performances was aired live, adding to the 80000 witnesses who acknowledged her effort through a thunderous round of applause.

The Not-So-Great Music Moments

A Warning Sign

"Oh god, why is she even on the stage," murmured the crowd (in the Gold zone) confused and disappointed with the newly launched artist – Ananya Birla (also the daughter of millionaire tycoon Kumar Mangalam Birla). The 22-year-old lip-synced her performance and failed to justify her presence with a dull choreographed effort and absolutely felt like an act that Global Citizen could have had managed without. Simply, the most lackluster performance of the entire event, at least the fans watching from the distant zones had the glaring sun obstructing their vision, but sadly, everyone heard sing the song..or lip sync her way through the set. At least now, the mainstream audience would know what they are buying.

The Unnecessary Fillers

Karsh Kale, Midival Punditz and Vishwesh Krishnamoorthy created an ideal set for the fans that were making their way to the venue entrances while the sun started to set. The stage to the left of the main stage provided platform to several acts while the main acts prepared with their necessary equipments. Unfortunately, after Kale’s performance, the stage never welcomed even a decent act. Sure, it had The Vamps, but the boy band did not recreate a ‘live’ sound. The guitar parts were pre-recorded, and that was clearly evident when a song accidentally got played while the vocalist was interacting with the crowd. The clueless band tried to do last minute damage control, and barring a few, most fans did not notice the fact. At that point, no one really cared for The Vamps or Farhan Akhtar or Shankar Ehsaan Loy or anyone, the chants ‘Coldplay’ were just getting louder.

Fans at home tweeted about the poor sound quality of the ‘live’ telecast, while the attendees who volunteered to ‘earn’ a ticket complained about the poor view and the resulting experience of the Global Citizen India. To pull an event of this size in a city like Mumbai was never going to be a cakewalk, and that leads to a few shortcomings, but the organsiers deserve a pat on the back for successfully executing a show featuring a line-up that an Indian music reveler had only dreamt of a few years ago. For that and several similar unparalleled moments, Global Citizen was an incredible movement, and the good news is, there are at least 14 more editions to it.