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Adnan Sami Thrills Boston

Divya Srinivasan

It was 8 PM on Sunday March 31st, and the audience was ready. They had been waiting for 7 years, and it was clear that the wait was worth it when the man walked onto the stage. Adnan Sami captivated the audience from the start to finish of what was a phenomenal three-hour concert.

Kickstarting the concert with a rendition of Mehbooba Mehbooba from Ajnabee (2001), Sami engaged the audience with some playful back and forth singing of the song’s main motif “oila oila oila.” Embodying the vibe of the song, Sami was able to get a tired crowd on a Sunday night on their feet through his charisma and energetic dance moves. Following this high-energy number was Dil Kya Kare from Salaam-E-Ishq (2007) and Dil Keh Raha Hai, two songs that showcased his depth vocally and brought out the emotions from the audience.

In the latter piece, Sami proved that he indeed lives up to his reputation as the fastest piano player in the world with a high-octane interlude that had the audience mesmerized. However, Sami also enabled the artistry of his accompanying musicians to shine through mini-musical “Follow-The-Leader” performances. In Dil Keh Raha Hai, for instance, Sami would go back and forth with his dholak artists, daring them to try different rhythmic progressions and making humorous expressions when he tricked them into doing something else.

Next up were Chain Mujhe Ab Aaye Na and Sun Zara from the film Lucky (2005), which had a more jazz and contemporaneous feel and highlighted melodious tunes on the flute. Sami then featured a single, Roya, from his new album Press Play.

Refreshingly, Sami was able to connect with his audience not only musically but also through a dialogue about his triumph over his struggles with weight loss in the seven years since he had visited Boston. Going from 230 to 75 kilograms, he described his visit to the doctor’s office in which the physicians had told him that he either had to lose weight or face severe consequences within six months. Peppering the anecdote with humorous quotes, Sami’s conversation with the audience ended with him thanking the audience for their support and love. An emotional moment, the concert became an avenue for the enraptured listeners to connect with Sami, an opportunity they hadn’t had in a long time. Sami then sang Aye Khuda, Shayad Yahi To Pyar Hai, and a medley of a number songs including Aye Udi Udi from Saathiya (2002) and Kuch Lafda Hai from U Me Aur Hum (2008), which left the audience on an excited note before the intermission.

After the break, Adnan jolted the audience into a dance mood by singing Nain Se Naino Ko Mila. A testament to his breathtaking range, speed, and vocal depth, the song literally had the audience on their feet by the end of it. Following that piece with the song that started his career, Kabhi To Nazar Mila, Sami delivered the audience favorite after some banter with the audience. Tera Chehra Jab Nazar Aaye and Bheegi Bheegi Raathon Mein were met with equal enthusiasm from the audience and the reaction from the crowd was a tribute to some of the songs that make Sami such a legendary musician. After much anticipation and back and forth with the crowd, Adnan Sami bid adieu to the audience with the famed Lift Karadey to overwhelming appreciation. Sami’s visit to Boston left the audiences wanting more. Until then, I know I’ll be listening to these songs on repeat.

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