The Night that was March 7, 2014

Andrew Stockdale (left) and Ian Peres (right) playing at Hard Rock Cafe, New Delhi.
Image Courtesy: Balaji Harish Iyer

I’ve been an ardent fan of Wolfmother for the longest time, and when I learned that the Aussie band would be playing at the Hard Rock Cafe, New Delhi, I was excited. The band has been compared to greats such as Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple, and Black Sabbath. Live music is what we live for, and for every rock fan, that’s what runs in your veins, for what is rock if not playing live? The fans, the screaming, dancing, the outright madness…it’s a different world altogether, a world that you live, and would die, for. For the diehard fan, a small thing like geographical locations in Delhi can never be much of a hindrance to feel the music you live and breathe! Hard Rock Cafe at Saket’s Selectcity Walk is certainly not the easiest place to travel to at 10pm in the night, for those without personal transportation; but when the popular Cafe adds Aussie hard rock band Wolfmother to its blooming roll, there can be no excuse for fans. Tickets though were hard to come by, and I had almost lost all hope of being able to secure them. However, it seemed that the Divine had ordained that I would attend the concert, and attend I did, along with two friends.

The atmosphere at the Cafe was stifling. Eager fans were present two hours ahead of the scheduled appearance of the band, and we were not far behind. By 9.30pm, the floor was already crowded, and there was feverish anticipation in the air. The smoking section was full beyond capacity, with fans nudging each other for elbow room to smoke their cigarettes; the bathroom was overcrowded; the bartenders and waiters at the Cafe were flooded with orders for food, mocktails, cocktails and other essential spirits. I glanced at my watch every two minutes, and it was as if the time was still. The hands refused to move from the 9.30 mark, and it seemed forever before the clock struck 10pm.

And then there was magic! “Wolfmother, Wolfmother…!” echoed the hall as the crowd gathered under the stage. There was no room to breathe as fans huddled up, and then, the band emerged. The contrasting silence that then prevailed was intense, as vocalist-guitarist Andrew Stockdale picked up his guitar, Vin Steele settled himself behind the drum-kit, and Ian Perez lifted his hand in a salute to the crowd. It was only for a few seconds, at best, but the whole room drank in the 6’4″ presence of Stockdale. The cheer that followed was deafening.

The Aussie rock trio opened with Dimension from their self-titled debut album, and followed through with popular tracks such as Woman, VagabondCalifornia Queen and Colossal. “Into another dimension…,” the crowd sang along with crazy energy that overcame even the best efforts of Hard Rock’s bouncers that night. The set-list also comprised two new tracks from Stockdale’s album, How Many Times and New Crown. At half-past eleven, the band exited stage left, and the crowd called for an encore. However, they were not be allowed to leave the party midway; a stage presence like the one they had mixed with their musical ability to kick ass legitimized the insanely appreciative response they received and thus, the band closed with an encore request of Joker & the Thief.

The only thing, if any, that could have washed out the party on the night of March 7, 2014, was the sound system. It was clear that the sound system was not the best that the Cafe could’ve afforded, and this was made obvious by Stockdale’s repeated requests to increase the volume. The result was that tracks such as VagabondNew Moon Risingand White Unicorn were drowned out by the chorus of the crowd. Bummer!

The Aussie band truly lived up to its legacy (while Hard Rock Cafe in comparison was a slight let-down). However, this was one gig that ought not to have been missed.

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