Celebrating Jinnah’s 142nd birth anniversary, critically acclaimed Sufi rock band of yesteryears, Junoon, got on stage in Karachi, putting together a spirited, colourful and melodic musical night for all its fans. Organised and arranged by Sooper, the much-hyped event took place on Tuesday at Moin Khan Cricket Stadium, where Ali Azmat, Brian O’Connell and Salman Ahmad performed to all their tracks.“Hopefully, this concert will bring back live shows and live entertainment events to Pakistan, paving way for upcoming bands to hold their musical nights amidst all their fans, listeners and followers. I really hope and pray the band culture comes back to my country,” Ali Azmat said, while talking exclusively to Daily Times. When the band’s acclaimed hit ‘Sayonee’ began and the familiar music started playing, the crowd went berserk; some in tears, others all smiles. Fans took out their cell phones to record the memorable performance that left nostalgic feelings for allWhen asked if the newly-united group was working on an album now for its fans, Ali Azmat said no. “Junoon ‘s music has proven to be timeless. Last night, the entire 10,000 plus audience was in a state of junoon. We should all follow our hearts because creativity, intuition and truth lives in the heart. Last night’s ecstatic Karachi audience showed us that Pakistanis love their own home grown artists and if we are all prepared to work hard and respect each other, the music will live long and prosper. The government and Pakistani and international brands need to promote band culture. I will be speaking to Prime Minister Imran Khan soon about securing rights of all artists and promoting arts and culture in educational institutions. I, Ali, Brian and everyone in the Junoon ensemble appreciated the hard work of everyone that helped us play the show of our lives. My Whatsapp messages are filled to the maximum with love and congratulations from all over the world. I really enjoyed the music that was on display before Junoon. I loved the sitar and guitar jam. Momo, Kashan, Imaad, Taylor, Ashiq, Kashif and the whole team of sound, lights, animators and last but not the least, the EBM team amplified the junoon,” Salman Ahmad said, also while talking exclusively to Daily Times.Special mention to the creative team behind Walnut for handling the PR and media. The event that began at 4pm and ended after 10pm, was marked with many hits and misses and here is my round-up of what worked and what went down. HITS — prominent celebrities from television and film industry marked their presence to enjoy Junoon’s reunion concert. Stars such as Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy, Ali Rahman Khan, Ayesha Omar, Frieha Altaf, Anny Jafri, Tooba Siddiqui, Deepak Perwani etc rubbed shoulders with the rest of the crowd, singing along and enjoying the night thoroughly.When the band’s acclaimed hit “Sayonee” began and the familiar music started playing, the crowd went berserk; some in tears, others all smiles. Fans took out their cell phones to record the memorable performance that left nostalgic feelings for all.The ticket price was Rs 5,000 per person, so the crowd was filtered. There was no eve-teasing, pick-pocketing or party pooping. Men, women and children of all ages and all walks of life got together under one roof to enjoy this highly-anticipated night.The ticket price was Rs 5,000 per person, so the crowd was filtered. There was no eve-teasing, pick-pocketing or party pooping. Men, women and children of all ages and all walks of life got together under one roof to enjoy the nightThe timing was well-carried out, unlike how the norm is as we all know. The event began at 4pm with Sounds of Kolachi, Tamasha, Khumariyan and Lyari Underground performing and engaging the audience, building the hype for Junoon to appear on stage. Junoon marked their entry at around 8pm and performed for more than two hours on their massive hits such as “Heeray”, “Saeen”, “Hussan Walo”, “Dosti”, “Jazba-e-Junoon”, “Yar Bina”, “Laal Meri Pat”, “Bulleya”, “Ghoom” and “Sajna” to name a few.Food and catering was arranged right outside the concert ground so fans could indulge in snacks and beverages while enjoying the music too.Ahmad’s immaculate jamming with guitar was as good as ever. The musician has been in practice and very much in the music scene even after the band split.There were speakers and screens placed even outside the concert ground, so fans could relax on the ground and enjoy with their friends and snacks without having to make their way in between the roaring crowd.MISSES — as it is with every event, this one too in particular had its share of misses. The sound system within the concert ground was weak, making the voices of the singer drown out and perish.Ahmad might have been in practice but Ali Azmat lacked the young and energetic vibe he used to have. Some of the times it felt as if he simply got tired and jumped to another track to perform on.Published in Daily Times, December 27th 2018.