Sunday, October 5, 2014

Discover another way to excite the fans!


You think you have figured it all out! You have seen enough of world to know what would work and what won’t. And then something comes along which completely contrasts whatever you know and still achieves better results and teaches you a new contrasting way to do the same thing. It happened to me when I attended Pritam Live in Concert with Mohit yesterday in Singapore.

This was my first concert in Singapore. To avoid disappointment I told myself to keep the expectations very low. I had attended quite a few live shows and was blown over by them. With due respect neither Pritam nor Mohit fit my mental profile of crowd charmers. They are great artists but getting live on the stage and connect with thousand fans and involve them in your performance is a different matter altogether.

This concert reminded me of the Shahrukh - Juhi show which I saw on a cold February night in Bangalore a few years ago. I would say it was a experience of my life time. Shahrukh Khan is a livewire, charming yet sincere performer. He is a superstar, being able to connect with audience comes as naturally to him as batting to  Sachin Tendulkar or Tabla to Zakir Hussain. The crowd went hysteric the moment  he made a dramatic entry on the stage. People were just so excited to see him. He enjoyed his performance. It was very cold and  we wrapped ourselves in shawls and sweaters as we watched him perform. To our surprise, he poured a bottle of cold water on his head before dancing to  “Chhaiyya Chaiyya” just to get the same effect that we see on the screen. He danced, he jumped, he sang, he invited audience to dance on stage, he painted, he teased and romanced Juhi, kicked some basketballs in the crowd and a gathering of five six thousand fans went hysteric!! I heard something similar from those who went for Sonu Nigam show. I thought thats the way to connect. You need to be a star, you need to be a charmer, you need to be larger than life to excite your fans!!

Then I attended Shiv Kumar Sharma, Hari Prasad Chourasia and Zakir Hussain concert. Although, their style was completely in contrast to Shahrukh Khan, that concert was also an experience of my lifetime. All three elderly artists had saintlike expressions on their faces, they walked on stage and greeted the entire audience with - Namaskar - folded hands as if we were their Gods and then got down to their business. Their art was so sublime that they didn’t need to do anything to connect with the audience. They were completely into themselves. Their way of performance was almost like a meditation, they didn’t care too much about the audience because they were performing for themselves. Since they were so talented and experienced, they pulled all of us with them. At the end of three hours every single person in the audience felt hypnotized. I realized this was another way to excite your audience. I saw a few concerts by AR Rehman, Shiv Mani on the screen and I realized they fall into the same category. They didn't need to do anything to connect with the audience, audience connected with them thru their art. The art is so good, so sublime and they performed as if they were worshipping the art the excited their audience!!

Pritam was neither a Shahrukh Khan nor AR Rehman. Then how was he going to excite this gathering of thousands of his fans and followers, I kept thinking as the concert began on a down-to-earth note. No dramatic entry, no greetings to  the crowd, no ice-breaker, as the lights went on Pritam was standing at the center of the stage with his guitar and just started singing his favorite number. I lowered my expectations a little further and decided to enjoy just the live performance of my favorite artist. As the tempo built up I saw the crowd warming up and a few enthusiastic fans tapping their feet. Then Pritam did something unthinkable and unprecedented. He stepped down from the stage and entered the audience and started dancing and singing from a small group of dancers. This was exciting, suddenly he was one among us. Moments ago he was on a pedestal in the limelight so far from us, almost unreachable and the very next moment he was among us. We could touch him, feel him, smell him and sing and dance with him. None of us expected this. Suddenly, more and more dance groups popped up. He went right up to the last row in the audience and got everyone on their feet. This was not all. Mohit who undoubtedly the star attraction of the show was introduced by Pritam. The band started playing and we heard Mohit’s familiar voice but he wasn’t on the stage!! Where was he? And we realized that the man walking past us with a mike in his hand was Mohit!! He danced with a few of us before entering the stage. The boundary lines between the performers and audience vanished. All the stars were among us, we were among the stars. Needless to say, the hysteria peaked. For last few songs, all of us were on our feets singing, dancing, clapping whistling. How we sang or danced didn’t matter because our stars were with us. This was another experience of my lifetime!!

This was another way to excite the fans and connect with followers. Fans know they are special, they are adored for their talent but they can choose to disregard this and  be one among fans!! Discover another contrasting way to connect with your fans and followers!!

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