LONG BEACH, Calif. — Stage Paint Productions, in association with Chateau Luxe Banquet & Conference Center and Holiday Inn, Hollywood Walk of Fame, presented an electrifying live concert featuring singers Atif Aslam and Neha Kakkar at the Long Beach Arena here May 6, mesmerizing the over 6,000 fans in the audience.
In the lobby of the arena, caterer Dilliwala had set up colorful tents selling delectable Indian cuisine with the concert-goers thronging the stalls. Inside, the arena sported a tastefully decorated venue with tall, silky curtains hung behind the stage. The lighted balls hanging from the ceiling and gigantic media screens flanking both sides of the stage, decorated with brilliant lights that changing hues, created a dazzling effect.
The jam-packed audience in the theater could sense that this was no ordinary event but an extraordinarily huge concert. The sound system was impeccable, befitting a concert this big.
Vivek Mishra opened the show by singing hit songs such as “Mar Jaaoo ya Jeen Loon Zara,” “Har Kisi Ko Nahi Milta Yahan Pyar Zindagi Mein” and Rafi’s evergreen “Ehsan Tera Hoga Mujh Par” before making way for the grand entry of Neha Kakkar.
As the emcee introduced her as the singer of the latest hit songs from India, and the lights dimmed with a large screen playing her groovy party songs, Kakkar entered the stage and immediately connected with the audience by saying, “What’s up L.A., how are you guys doing? This is my very first time in L.A. and I am so happy to be here, and I thank all of you for coming to the show and I want you to enjoy the show.”
Dressed in a black flowing gown with slits on either side, with a cape studded with pearls, the attractive singer charmed the audience with her megawatt smile and flowing black hair that she tossed stylishly while singing with attitude.
From the get-go, she rocked the first half of the show and was warmly received by the audience. She started with the melodious number, “Tennu Meine Pyar Karaa,” and the soulful “Mahi Ve,” dedicating it to all the people who have had their hearts broken in love. Kakkar had the good fortune of singing the recreated song, originally sung by Richa Sharma, as a contestant on “Indian Idol,” which she attributed to God’s grace and people’s love, saying that the song is very close to her heart. She shared her musical journey from being a contestant on “Indian Idol” to being a judge for “Sa Re Ga Ma Pa Li’l Champs” and her upcoming stint as a judge in the new “Indian Idol.”
The singer wowed the audience with her sexy, husky voice by singing her party chartbusters, “Ladki Beautiful Kar Gayi Chul,” “Mein Tera Boyfriend Tu Meri Girlfriend,” and “Aaja Aaja Raja” from “Judwa 2,” in which she has sung all of the songs.
The zesty Punjabi numbers, “Kudiya Toh Bachke Rahe” and “Ek Punjaban Kudi Punjaban,” had the audience dancing in their seats and aisles in groups. She followed it up with Pakistani chartbusters including “Jugni Ji,” “Mera Laung Gawacha,” and Ustad Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan’s “Teer Aisa Laga,” as her fans rushed to take pictures with her and dance in front of the stage.
Before singing her most popular and romantic song, “Mile Ho Tum Hum Se,” composed by her brother Tony Kakkar, which is the most viewed and liked song on Indian YouTube, she asked the audience to turn on the flashlights on their smart phones and wave it in the air, creating a dreamy atmosphere in the arena. She then teamed up with Vivek Mishra to sing the nineties’ hit song “Tu Cheez Badi Hai Mast Mast,” and joked that if she were a man, she would be singing “Mujse Shaadi Karoge” to all the single girls and women, from 16 to 100, in the audience.
On a poignant note, she sang “Tu Kitni Acchi Hai Oh Maa,” for all the mothers, noting that there is no higher force than mothers in the world and no other blessings than one’s own parents. Towards the end, she signed off with a flourish by wearing dark sun glasses and singing the foot tapping “Kaala Chashma,” warming the hearts of the audience by saying, “You guys are so awesome, can I have a selfie with you,” and took a picture with her band and the crowd before leaving the stage.
The second half was headlined by Atif Aslam, a Pakistani singer-song writer and actor. Known for his soulful voice, he is very popular in Pakistan for his pop music and in India for his Bollywood hit numbers. Dressed in a blue velvet three-piece suit, he walked on to the stage casually after the intermission by singing “Tu Rang Sharbaton Ka,” wearing dark glasses which he took off later to reveal his handsome face.
The dashing and handsome singer charmed the audience by singing the foot-tapping Sufi songs “Damaa Dam Mast Kalandar” and “Allah Hoo,” as well as his own composition, “Pardes hoya.” He followed these up with his many Bollywood chartbusters, such as “Jeene Lagaa Hoon Pehle Se Zyada,” “Tera Hone Lagaa Hoon,” “Woh Lamhe,” “Pehli Dafa,” and “Na Jeena Mein Tere Bina,” much to the audience’s delight.
Aslam also sang several classics including “Pehla Nasha,” “Jab Koi Baath Bigad Jaaye,” “Kya Hua Tera Vaada,” “Hoton Se Choolon Tum,” “Kabhie Kabhie” and Rafi’s greatest numbers, “Tum Jo Mil Gayen Ho” and “Gulabi Aanken.”
The singer then called Neha Kakkar to the stage and teased her about her male audience while she teased him about his huge female following, adding that she herself is one of his fans. Together they sang the popular duet, “Dil Diya Gallan” before calling the national and local promoters onto the stage to give them a vote of thanks.
Aslam continued to entertain the frenzied crowd with some fast numbers as he walked around the stage shaking the hands of his fans. Later, he showcased his guitar playing skills, strumming the guitar while singing “Tere Sang Yaara Kush Rang Bahara” “Tu Jaane Na,” signing off with “I love you guys, thank you very much,” while acknowledging the crowd — many from the Indian American community – who wanted more of him.
Together, the two artists set the stage on fire making it a memorable evening of music for all of their fans.