Sublime. Thats how I would describe it. Thats exactly how I would describe it. The combination of Black Dog Scotch and Kenny G, performing Live right in front of you, was just sublime. The night was perfect on the terrace of the UB City with a cool breeze and no rain clouds threatening to spoil the elegant atmosphere. Sitting on the terrace, right between the two towering buildings, in a sea of white seats, it was not difficult to sense the anticipation in the air. The couple of hours leading up to the concert were punctuated by the complimentary shot of Black Dog Scotch! They were, after all, the main sponsors and they set the perfect tone with a beautiful young lady handing out the complimentary coupons. ( I now wonder if she would have given me an extra coupon if I had complimented her on her looks…)
60ml Black Dog- On the Rocks: Thats how my evening began! And what smoothness! I could feel the Scotch mesmerizing my tongue and make its way right through to my stomach! So much so, I bought another dose soon after. And with an intention of devouring the Scotch through the concert, I began to have small sips when I heard a small commotion. The commotion sounded like something eagerly awaited and then I saw the man- Kenny G walking through the crowd, with his saxophone, playing as he passed the exuberantly applauding crowd. And then as he walked to the platform right in front of me, in the middle of the audience, and climbed on it to play his soprano sax for about 10 minutes, I just couldn’t help admiring the ease with which he was playing the instrument. And as he made his way to the stage, holding a single note for well over 5 minutes (He would later explain the nasal technique behind the seemingly impossible act!), the crowd applauded, the applause filled with awe and wonder!
At this point, I have to say that it had been a very long time since I actually listened to his music and though I remembered each and every tune, I couldn’t place the tune with its name. But with the names of the songs being displayed on the big screen, that was not to be a problem. He started off his classics with “Silhouette”- the title track from his 1988 album. And as that came to a close, Kenny G took some time out to humor the audience with his almost-perfectly-memorized Kannada in which he went to the extent of saying:
“Namaskara Bengaluru. Nanage illi thumba khushi agtha idhe. Kshamisi, nanage Kannada gotthilla…….
Thumba Dhanyavadhagalu. Iga naanu Havana Haadu haadthini”
Translation: “Hello Bangalore. I am really happy here. Pardon me. I don’t know Kannada…. Thank you very much. Now I will sing Havana”
The crowd applauded his efforts to talk in the local language. But I have to say, the experience of seeing Kenny G playing “Havana” in front of you and savoring a glass of Black Dog- on the rocks – on top of UB CITY with a cool breeze blowing over your face, was a completely unique experience in itself. The song is probably the most melodious one I have ever heard and he was playing the notes to perfection-improvising only where necessary while always keeping the melody intact! He went on to play “Sentimental” and a couple of songs from his brand new album “Rhythm and Romance”. The album happens to be a latin based one with Kenny G playing the Sax and a troupe of Latin music professionals backing him up.
At this point, I have to mention that all the band members were just simply astonishing with their instruments. Ron Powell on the percussions gave a breath taking percussion solo showcasing his prowess in a myriad of drums, bongos and the like. Vail Johnson on the bass gave the longest and a mind numbing bass solo that I have personally seen live. Robert Damper with his keyboard was a treat to watch during his solo in a song that Kenny G played just for the Piano solo. Daniel Bejarano and John Raymond on the drums and the guitar played their role to perfection.
Of course, Kenny G went on to play many more of his classics. “Forever in Love” was followed by a virtual duet with Louis Armstrong’s “What a Wonderful World” which would have mellowed a raging elephant. Louis Armstrong’s rich voice must have come directly from God himself, and with Kenny G’s sax complimenting it in perfect harmony, the result was the epitome of what melody could offer. He left the stage and came back for an encore with one of the most widely awaited songs of the evening- The Moment. The trademark song of Kenny G. And sitting in my chair, as he played the notes to perfection, I realized that my high school dream of seeing Kenny G Live had indeed come true. But I was waiting for one of my personal favorites to be played and well, I was in luck! As he went into “Songbird”, I could really feel my night complete!( I would have paid another grand to see him play Eatside Jam but unfortunately he didn’t play it there.) He went on to play the Sax version of Celine Dion’s My Heart Will Go On which, frankly speaking, was way better than the original-largely due to Kenny’s Sax replacing the ear splitting vocals of Celine Dion! He then wound up the show with Cadenza, the culmination of over 40 years of practice in which he got to showcase his skills with his Saxophone!
On the whole, I have to say, a really memorable night and one that I will remember for a long long time to come. And like I said, it was all so SUBLIME……