When Gurugram got a taste of classic rock with a touch of humanity.
When we first caught wind of the Dire Straits Experience making their debut performance in India in March, it was a lot to digest. I mean, we were talking about one of the biggest bands in history gracing Indian soil. Of course the first question on every Indian’s mind was whether Mark Knopfler would be at the forefront of the show and give us an unforgettable experience like he did back in 2005. But, we later got clarification that he wouldn’t be coming and right there began our little investigation. What was the Dire Straits Experience all about exactly? All we knew was that the band’s original members – Chris White and Chris Whitten (yes, it is confusing) would be taking the stage along with Terence Reis in the lead. Joining them were a set of maestros, each talented in their own craft. They had come together to reward fans with live performances of the band’s hit tracks while keeping it as true to the original as they could. We YouTubed a couple of their performances and a few videos down we were convinced that this globetrotting ensemble were going to make their gig here a night worth remembering. And all for a good cause too, with the help of Seagram’s 100 Pipers Music CDs Play for a Cause. So, we picked up our bags and shuttled to Gurugram to catch the legendary act live on 17th of March.
Play For A Cause
It’s safe to say that none of this would have been possible had it not been for Seagram’s 100 Pipers Music CDs Play for a Cause. Standing true to their message ‘Be remembered for good’, the ‘Play For A Cause’ initiative has, since 2014, used music as a platform to unite people and earn their contribution for a worthy cause. Nearly 200 artists from the country have performed for ‘Play For A Cause’ in more than 25 cities and lent their support to causes like helping victims of Nepal’s earthquake, sending food supplies to the underprivileged and more. This year, the focus was on helping provide sustainable drinking water to villagers in Rajasthan. A part of the ticket sales proceeds will be used to construct water conservation structures in target areas which will help close to 6-7 villages. The 100 Pipers ‘Play for a Cause’ partnered with Advit Foundation, an NGO that works towards Environmental Resource Conservation and Livelihood Enhancement.
This is the first time that the initiative has reached out to international musicians and since they were doing it for the very first time, they wanted to make it memorable. We bet things couldn’t get more memorable than The Dire Straits Experience. They took the stage in Gurugram on March 17, 2017 at Leisure Valley and in Bengaluru on March 19, 2017 at Bengaluru International Exhibition Centre.
The Spectacular Night Unfolds
We love those who are sticklers for time. Any gig that starts at the aforementioned time earns brownie points with us. Thankfully, we were well rewarded when we reached the venue, just making it in time to catch one of the hottest Indian bands on the scene take the stage – Barefaced Liar. Popularly known as BLF, the Delhi-based rock group have been enthralling fans with their high-energy live performances since as early as 2008. This night was nothing less. They did a rocking job of getting the crowd warmed up and earned a lot of love in return.
Not long after did the big moment arrive. The Dire Straits Experience gracefully took their place on the stage. Chris White (sax, flute, percussion, vocals) and Chris Whitten (drums) supported the lead by Terence Reis (Lead Vocals and Guitar) while Tim Walters (Vocals and Guitar), Simon Carter (Piano, Organ and Keyboards), Danny Schogger (Piano, Organ and Keyboards) and Paul Geary (Vocals and Base Guitar) immediately got down to taking their awaiting fans down memory lane. The first thing that caught us by surprise was how eerily similar Terence Reis sounded to Mark Knopfler. He had big shoes to fill and he did his best to make it as authentic an experience as a die-hard Dire Straits fan would expect. Coming down to the set list, they played for a good hour and a half, belting out one hit after another. I, for one, couldn’t hold back my tears when Romeo and Juliet was being lightly strummed before the crowd erupted into an encore. Every track would begin with a breathtaking instrumental prelude and conclude with an even better one. Though the F&B options at the venue were pretty reasonable, people did not leave their spot by the stage even for a minute. In fact, as the gig was nearing its end, most of the crowd was spilling right up in front of the stage to capture every last second. When playing Sultans of Swing, we knew this spectacular evening was coming to an end and it pained us to realise that time had passed so quickly. The band came together to take a bow, before being sent right back to their instruments for another round. This time, they put on a show with ‘Money For Nothing’. Now that felt like a satisfying end to an incredible night.
For a gig that didn’t take up too much time, food was perfectly curated to satisfy the little hunger cravings attendees would have after all the screaming and singing. Fuss free and easy to grab, the stalls packed in chaat, momos, pizzas, Kathi rolls and even biryani. It gave people just the right amount of fill they needed before heading out to the nearby pub.
All in all
Seagram’s 100 Pipers Play For A Cause successfully managed to get a good contribution through ticket sales while ensuring attendees got every bit of the experience they asked for. And, The Dire Straits Experience got their dream debut, promising fans that they will be back for more. Now excuse us while we play Dire Straits on loop for another straight week.