A hot summer's evening is not perhaps the best time for a 3 hour concert, especially when the venue is relatively unknown to hosting a show of this kind. Billed as the Guitar God of the world, naturally the expectations were high. Speaking for myself, i'm more of the classic rock and 70's metal kinda guy. The venue, Rabindra Sarobar stadium did not dissapoint. The gates opened at around 6p.m and by that time the huge crowd (as it seemed at that time) were boiling in the searing heat and humidity of one of the hottest summers in the recent past in Kolkata. Once inside the stadium however, it was awesome.
The tickets, priced at Rs.900 and Rs.400 wasn't too heavy for the pockets but that didn't show. For once, i was glad i could only afford the 400 bucks ones as it was much better lying in the grass at the back rather than rattling the jewellery seated in a chair up front. There was a rather stupid mumbai rock act that started the proceedings, Brahma it was called and i hope i got the spelling right. With a cheap impersonater of James Hetchfield on the vocals and a drummer who desperately wanted to make a mark but fell way short, the rhythm and lead salvaged the situation some. And to be honest, the kind of crowd that assembled there deserved nothing more than that sloppy act.
By the time Satch finally came on at 7pm, the stadium was gradually starting to fill up a lil' though i expected the calcutta crowd to pack the place like sardines but either they didn't know or they weren't listening. To come back to Satch, i was glad i haven't heard much of his stuff. Gives me an opportunity to dig into all the stuff i have of him in my ipod. The best part of Joe's performance that night was summed in one word, an Honest performance, for thats what it was. For a guy, who's used to crowds that we can only imagine at an Eden Gardens full house on a Sunday evening, if he was dissapointed in what he saw, he surely didn't show it. Looking at that man in black from so far away though we did have the services of two video screens on both sides, i couldn't help but feel his passion not just for his 6 string but for his humbleness to come to a little known place (at least to him!!) with no expectations and to put up such a kickass show. For a while during the concert, i began to miss the services of some Vocals to add to his mesmerizing guitar but any thoughts on that were blown away by the sheer intensity of his performance and that of his band. The drumming was tight and perfect and the rhythm and base just added so many layers to a guitar sound that seemed to cover so many genres, so effortlessly. An older gentleman next to me was convinced of a blues inspired sound while another well informed fella beside me insisted it was speed metal. For me however, it was the sound of a man who had heard it all and it was putting it all into proper perspective in his own special way. For me, as i'm sure is the case with many other whole hearted fellows who were there that evening, it was an experience of a lifetime, a performance that i thought deserved to be expressed in words (which is why i'm writing this), an appreciation of a man who's two hours with us was surely an experience to cherish for a lifetime.
Thank you Joe,We love you!!
a still dazed bison from Kolkata this 17th May of 2005.