LONG BEACH, Calif. — Stage Paint Productions, in association with Deepak Garg-Smart Energy Water, Chateau Luxe Banquet and Conference Center and Holiday Inn, Hollywood Walk of Fame, presented singers Sonu Nigam and Neha Kakkar with a symphony orchestra in an electrifying and scintillating concert titled, “Klose to My Life,” at the Long Beach Arena here April 6.
As with any concert that Stage Paint Productions present, this, too, was packed to capacity as over 6,000 Indian American and South Asian fans came from far and wide to attend the show.
Kakkar, the peppy singer, started her career as a contestant on a reality show and subsequently climbed up the charts. Nigam, a recipient of many awards, is one of the most versatile Bollywood singers with a musical career spanning three decades.
The lobby was decorated similar to a party, with huge balloons lit up with changing colors. Caterer Dilliwala Indian Kitchen setting up colorful tents selling delectable Indian treats, masala chai and kulfi ice-cream tempting the concert-goers to throng the stalls.
Over 100 6-foot balls with changing colors hanging from the ceiling, both in the lobby and the theater, created a celebratory atmosphere. The interactive gigantic 24-ft. high LED media screen behind the stage, featuring eye-catching graphics, with two huge screens on either side and the brilliant light display with changing hues created a dazzling effect inside the arena.
The audience could sense that the evening was going to be an extraordinary one with these two brilliant artists, one who is fast gaining recognition as a live performer and the other, a veteran of live performances, coming together to create magic on stage.
The show was opened by the talented duo Kunal Pandit and Vibhor Parashar of “Indian Idol” fame. Pandit sang “Bang Bang,” while Parashar rendered “Le Jaayen Tujhe Kahan.”
Vipul Roy, the emcee, set the expectations sky high by saying, “Tonight will be the most humongous night of all,” as he introduced Kakkar as an artist who is the most followed on Instagram and the number one singer globally on YouTube, before inviting her on stage.
As the orchestra played and the images of her previous concerts played on the big screen, Kakkar appeared on stage wearing a glittery skirt with a side slit and a black crop top. The bubbly singer greeted the audience with her trademark megawatt smile and sexy dance moves and thanked them for coming to the show. She started off with her ever popular, “Mahi Ve,” dedicating it to those whose hearts have been broken in love. She followed it up with her original song, “O Humsafar O Hum Nawaz,” and her most melodious and romantic hit, “Mile Ho Tum Hum Se,” which is one of the most liked Indian songs on YouTube.
For the next hour and a half, she rocked the stage along with Pandit and Parasher by presenting one hit after another which made the crowd feel like they are in a popular night club. The audience members danced in the aisles to her Punjabi numbers like “Morni Ban Ke,” “Nakhra Terani,” “Mundiya Toh Bachke Rahi” and “Ek Punjaban Kudi Punjaban.”
She followed it up with some romantic numbers written and composed by her brother, Tony Kakkar. While humbly stating that most of her Bollywood playback numbers are huge hits due to the grace of God, she presented “Aaja Aaja Raja” from “Judwa 2,” “London Thumka Da” from “Queen,” and “Ladki Beautiful Kar Gayi Chull” from “Mr. And Mrs. Kapoor.”
On a poignant note, she sang, “Tu Kitni Acchi Hai Oh Maa,” dedicating it to all the mothers in the audience. She urged the audience to hold the hands of their mothers if they are sitting next to them and cherish them. She ended her segment with “Kaala Chashma” and “Seeti Bhajaye Nakhre Dikhaye.” Before exiting the stage to a huge round of applause, she also took a selfie with the audience.
The second half of the concert was headlined by Nigam, a singer par excellence, who was introduced by the emcee as the most celebrated Indian singer extraordinaire who needs no introduction. Nigam, known as a “living legend,” is especially gifted and has been loved and respected by the Bollywood industry and millions of fans worldwide.
The multi-talented artist has recorded songs in all kinds of genres like romantic, rock, sad, devotional, ghazal and patriotic songs in his three decades’ singing career, proving his versatility. He has recorded songs in many languages such as English, Kannada, Maithili, Malayalam, Telugu, Tamil, Tulu, Urdu and many more. He has also worked as a host and celebrity judge in many musical reality shows, has acted in movies and is the recipient of innumerable prestigious awards. He has also collaborated with several Western artists such as Britney Spears.
As the gigantic video clips streamed in the background and the symphony orchestra played, Nigam bounced onto the stage looking dapper in a black ensemble with a gold jacquard jacket. From the start, Nigam dominated the stage and showed that he is not only a great singer, but a consummate performer and entertainer. He greeted the audience by saying, “Good evening. Namaste, how are you?”
Nigam started his show with “Deewana Mein Hoon” from his album, “Deewana,” and followed it up with “Has Mat Pagli Pyar Ho Jayega,” “Nazron Se Nazre Mili Toh” and his evergreen hit, “Sooraj Hua Maddham.”
The singer mesmerized the audience while singing his favorite songs, traversing the stage from one end to the other, sharing anecdotes, shaking hands and taking selfies with his fans, all the while not missing a beat or a note in his singing.
He went on to present a mash-up of old hits like “Pyar Hua Ikaraar Hua,” “Hum Hai Rahi Pyar Ke,” “O Haseena Zulfon Wali,” “O Mere Dil Ke Chein,” “Bachna Ae Haseeno” as the delighted crowd cheered him on. He continued with more hits from his huge repertoire, enthralling the audience with some of his most memorable numbers from his illustrious career, including “Nagada,” “Mujse Shadi Karoge’,” and “Heeriye Sehara Baand ke Aaya Hoon.”
Saying that he will be most remembered for the title song of “Kal Ho Na Ho” for which he won the National Award, Nigam presented the song beautifully, following it up with the melodious and soulful, “Abhi Mujh Mein Kahi,” from the movie, “Agneepath.”
Towards the end, he called on stage the national promoter, Balaji Entertainment, and the local promoter, Manoj Kaytee, to acknowledge them. Soon after, he invited Kakkar back to the stage and together they presented fun and high-energy numbers like “Laila O Laila,” “Hawaa Hawai” and “Eena Meena Deeka,” setting the stage on fire with their chemistry and camaraderie. They ended the show with the vibrant song, “Om Shanti Om.”