AR Rahman concert: The colorful history of musical fiascos in recent times

We look at recent concerts that have gone terribly wrong in India and abroad since this is not the first such case of mismanagement by singers and organizers.
Indian music maestro AR Rahman, Canadian singer Justin Bieber.
Indian music maestro AR Rahman, Canadian singer Justin Bieber.

While AR Rahman’s Chennai event may have left fans scarred and rattled, he is not the only artist whose mega concerts ran into serious mismanagement concerns.

The recent Rahman concert in Chennai that took place on Sunday has been making headlines and for all the wrong reasons. On September 10, the music maestro's gig, 'Marakumma Nenjam', which translates to 'Can the Heart Ever Forget' was definitely an unforgettable event/night for many devout Rahmaniyans due to overcrowding and a stampede-like situation resulting in women being molested, children being separated and many getting injured. 

The Tamil Nadu Police has launched a probe into the chaos that took place at Adityaram Palace City in ECR. Tambaram Police Commissioner Dr Amalraj said they will investigate the reasons for traffic congestion, arrangements for parking, medical requirements and overall arrangements. He told NDTV that measures will be taken to avert a repeat.

While the venue could host around 25,000 people, nearly double that number of people turned up for the event with tickets in hand. With no space to enter, many had to turn back in anguish. There were also comments that there was no VIP section although separate tickets were sold at exorbitant prices. Several fans took to X (formerly Twitter) to share their traumatic experiences, calling the whole thing a scam and blaming the musician.

However, this is not the first such case of mismanagement by singers and organizers. We look at recent concerts that have gone terribly wrong in India and abroad: 

1. Arijit Singh's Ahmedabad concert: Last year's Christmas was anything but merry as there were multiple fans who sustained serious injuries when they tried to make their way into the event. One of the fans took to Twitter to call out the organizers for 'poor management' while informing that a friend of his had to undergo surgery for the injuries he sustained at the concert. The fan, who goes by the Twitter handle @Sarafprasang tweeted, "@arijitsingh look what the mismanagement at the Ahmedabad concert has caused us! A friend is going under surgery right now due to poor management. Zero support from the crew, post this disastrous incident."

2. 'Calm Down' singer Rema's Mumbai concert: Nigerian singer Divine Ikubor aka Rema was in India for his three-city tour. Although he took over the stage this year on May 13 with his electrifying performances, there were a couple of misses at this gig too. The biggest miss here was the event starting extremely late. The concert began around 8:45 pm though the time mentioned on the Paytm Insider (booking website for the event) was 5 pm, approximately 4 hours later than the scheduled time.

3. Beyonce slammed for performing at a private Dubai concert: This was Queen Bey's first stage performance in four years since 2018. She performed for 90 minutes to mark the opening of a luxury hotel at Atlantis The Royal in return for a reported fee of £19.4 million (USD 24 million) which resulted in mixed reactions from her followers. Beyonce, a longtime ally of the LGBTQ community, even celebrated Black queer culture with her recent album 'Renaissance' and dedicated it to her Uncle Jonny, who was gay. Considering Dubai's incredibly strict laws against same-sex relationships (which can even be punishable by death), many fans were confused as to why Beyonce accepted the invitation.

4. Justin Bieber's failed Mumbai concert: The much anticipated Bieber fever which took place on May 10, 2017, left many fans utterly disappointed. Infuriated Beliebers, who attended the concert, gushed their anger on Twitter sharing that Justin seemed completely unprepared as he was not singing himself to even one song. The expectations of 56,000 people who crammed into DY Patil Stadium for the Purpose tour were shattered to pieces as the Canadian pop star didn't try to hide his lip-syncing, even wiping his mouth with a towel mid-song. His attire on that day (casual shorts and T-shirt) also went down badly among some, who had expected him to make more of an effort. Certain celebs even left the premises even before the concert was over.

5. KK's death post-Kolkata concert: This was one of the worst news ever to both fans as well as the industry. Indian singer Krishnakumar Kunnath, popularly known as KK, died of a suspected heart attack at age 53 after performing on May 31, 2022. The singer was in the city for a two-day event. He also posted photos from the concert hours before his death. As soon as the news broke, people from all walks of life paid tribute. 

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