|Posted on July 12, 2012 at 12:20 AM|
As the band came onto the stage, to the cheer of a few hundred people in the audience, I suddenly recalled a flash of images, from when I was around 8-10 years old, of a music video for one of the band’s classic songs – ‘Sleeping child’. Looking around, it seemed that the majority of the people in the audience had been teenagers when Michael Learns to Rock (MLTR) were at the peak of their career, in the early to midnineties. As such, the predominant sentiment at work during the concert was a kind of nostalgia, memories of discovering the soft-pop-rock ballads of MLTR at the impressionable age of 16 and now reminiscing about those days while the band played the sound track to those memories, live. To complete the experience, the fans sang along with the band to the oldies, whose simple, catchy, rhythmic and emotionally packed lyrics always had a quality of imprinting themselves quite quickly in the minds of listeners.
It felt like a special moment for the band as well. The lead singer, Jascha Richter, said at one point ‘I see you guys know who we are. So now, we would like to know who you are.’ It is MLTR’s first time in Bangladesh, and finding a fan base that had a lot of the lyrics memorized must have been quite a trip for the band. Later on, while singing a soft romantic ballad, Jascha Richter came off stage and walked around the hall, between rows of fans, shaking hands with some and simply singing into the eyes of others. Jascha must have been quite aware that MLTR’s melodic compositions over the last two decades have left quite an impression among Asian listeners, in Bangladesh as well. Thus, walking amongst the audience, he seemed quite comfortable as he could obviously feel that he was among fans. The evening mostly featured the band’s old songs, like ‘The Actor’, ‘Complicated Heart’, ‘Naked like the Moon’, with a few new tracks from their latest album ‘Scandinavia’.
The four member band had impeccable chemistry between themselves, which showed itself as perfectly played tunes in flawless rhythm. Given that they have been doing this for 20 years, there were no surprises there of course. But it is always a pleasure to watch a tight band that knows what it's doing. In the later half of the show, MLTR played a song with a local singer Fatiha Zahir Pola, winner of the song competition ‘Sing with MLTR’ hosted by Channel 9. The lucky lady entered the stage, understandably nervous, as the first few notes from her voice emerged a bit shaky. However, she fell into the swing soon enough and delivered a heartwarming performance that she will most definitely remember for the rest of her life.
The show ended and everyone returned from the soothing ride down memory lane, to realize again that they are still in Dhaka, where such experiences are indeed a rarity. The realization does dampen the spirit a little, but also leaves hope that more such internationally acclaimed acts and bands will come through our city in the near future. The organizers of the show deserve applaud in this context. And a resounding ‘Thank you’ should be conveyed to MLTR for gifting their loyal fans with a memorable performance.
(Written by Farhan Ahmed)
Categories: Concert reviews