David Guetta – a name that lately, cannot go unnoticed without causing a stir of excitement. His latest album, Nothing But The Beat was an immense success. Collaborating with artists from R&B, Hip Hop and Pop like Lil’ Wayne, Usher, Snoop Dogg, Nicki Minaj and Sia, there was no way that this album could go wrong. Being number one in the Billboards across seven countries, this album was one of the biggest things that released in 2011. Guetta has been touring since July of last year to promote this album. Early in January, it was announced that he was coming to India and I was lucky enough to attend the event in Pune.
Having kept the venue as the enormously large Amanora Park Town, getting from the entrance gate to the Box Office was in itself a long affair (literally!). The first opening act, Dualist Inquiry, started out his set by 3:30, and it was an amazing set. Full of feel, he really did know how to handle the crowd. Right after Dualist Inquiry, came Anish Sood. The sun had gone down, the lights had come up. Playing remixes and dance versions of ‘Wonderwall’, ‘Californication’ and a lot more; he really had the crowd’s attention.
At 7:50, the opening acts were over.
The lights were dim, and then there was an explosion of music. Strobe lighting filled the entire audience, and the words “NOTHING BUT THE BEAT” ricocheted across the stage. Uncountable whistles, cheers and shouts greeted the man himself. David Guetta started out with the song ‘Sweat’. And with that, everything was forgotten – the heat and the time spent waiting for him to come. Everyone just let go as the sounds took over.
One thing I noticed about David Guetta’s set live was that it was VERY different from listening to a record. The beats are more prominent, and to watch him on stage is just something else! He makes sure that he is INVOLVED with the audience. With little cues that the audience had to sing, he went into all the hits from the album such as ‘Turn Me On’, ‘Where Them Girls At’, ‘Titanium’ and ‘Without You’. In the middle of the second song, he looked to the left and suddenly, he was jumping up and down and running towards that side. He ran back to his stage, and to everyone’s utter and complete surprise, he brought back Akon with him! EVERYONE was going mad, including David Guetta himself! It was an amazing surprise, and trust me, NO ONE saw that coming.
After a couple of songs, he played a beat to the crowd which no one had heard before. Of course, that was because, (as he claims), he made it in the hotel room one hour before the show. He told us that he was going to name the song, ‘Mumbai’. And then Akon came running on top, and said that the song should be named ‘Pune’. After a five-minute tiff of what to name it, finally, he decided to name the song ‘Pune’! Look out for this song in his next album.
Apart from the new album’s music, he played his usual favorites such as ‘Memories’ and ‘Love is Gone’. In the end, he took the mic and said, “I thought that people over here, wouldn’t even know my music! I was so overwhelmed by this response! But I just have one problem. Akon came all the way here and surprised me, and didn’t sing for us!” Roars from the audience followed that, and then Akon came up and sang ‘Sexy Bitch’ which in turn, had the crowd, including me, going mad.
Now, it was my first time watching such a gig, and I didn’t go with huge expectations, but man, what an impact it had on me. I have never seen such energy running through an audience before, and I’ve never seen the artist himself take so much interest in the crowd. Taking videos of the crowd from his phone, to making the audience sing a lot of his songs, to playing music from people like PitBull and Flo Rida, Guetta showed us how versatile he is as an artist. The gig was nothing like I had expected it to be – it was a hundred times better! Having said that, this is definitely a huge stepping stone for the music scene in India and I do wish to see other artists in this field visit India soon.
Photographs by Naman Saraiya | Courtesy of Little Big Noise