On Saturday, June 4, The Express Tribune presented Strings at Beach Luxury Hotel.
Upon entering the venue, recorded songs of the band were being played to eager members of the audience. Expected to start at 9.30 pm, the duo arrived on stage with the rest of their band after 10 pm to an enthusiastic, cheerful crowd.
The concert kicked off with “Koi Anay Wala Hai”, the title song from their album released in 2008. Their next song was “Najane Kyun” which was dedicated to the journalists who had sacrificed their lives in the line of duty. Next, they sang their international hit, “Zinda Hoon”. A mini screen had been set up in the area which was playing videos of the songs while they were being performed. The sound system with the high bass did not do justice to the performances, but the crowd did not seem to care.
After urging the enthusiastic crowd to get up on their feet, lead singer Faisal Kapadia sang “Chaaye Chaaye” and “Titliyaan”. However, the brilliant mash-up of Vital Signs’ “Aitebar” stimulated the audience to no end.
The best part of the evening was its second half, when the sound system got considerably better and Bilal Maqsood performed a beautiful rendition of “Sar Kiye Yeh Pahar”. This song had launched the band 20 years ago, and remains a cult classic today. Needless to say, the crowd went absolutely wild during the performance.
Kapadia then introduced “Ab Khud Kuch Karna Parega” as the first song they ever wrote with a strong social message. “Anjane” and “Lori” followed this performance.
Their latest single, “Main Toh Dekhoonga”, was next. Kapadia stopped mid-song after singing: Jab mulq ko baich kay khane wale/Khud hazm hojaengay. He recalled that when Maqsood penned this song, Kapadia was hesitant about including these lyrics because he was scared of the outcome (“Hum maaray jaayeingay, yaar”). But then Maqsood said if everyone got scared, who would speak up against injustice. Leaving the crowd considerably pumped after this anecdote, they finished the song among massive cheers.
“Dhaani” and “Sohniyae” were performed next. The finale was “Hai Koi Hum Jaisa” which was dedicated to the Pakistani cricket team. “No matter what happens, as true Pakistanis we will always support our cricket team,” said Kapadia.
The concert lasted two hours, where the audience enjoyed themselves and the heat took a back seat. One Mubashar Ashraf, a young man who had not moved from his spot next to the stage, said: “It was a lovely experience, I enjoyed every minute of it. It was truly thrilling.”
While talking to The Express Tribune on Monday, Bilal Maqsood said: “We performed in Karachi after a long time and it was a great experience. The place, the atmosphere, the ambience, everything was almost perfect. We really enjoyed it and the response on our Facebook page clearly shows that our fans enjoyed it as well.”
For Faisal Kapadia, who was quick to point that the weather had not been very kind that night, performing in front of the enthusiastic crowd had been very rewarding. “To see the Karachi crowd come out and enjoy our performance till the very end was just great. The energy was high the entire night and that was indeed very exciting to be a part of,” he said.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 7th, 2011.