As I mentioned in my last blog, I was planning to celebrate Nepali New Year 2069 with a concert by a Nepali band, Nepathya in Sydney Town Hall.
I don’t want to admit it but may be I am getting older since my wedding, I haven’t been partying and clubbing as I used to. One of the main reasons was that the few times I went out I felt so out-of-place and I couldn’t stand the loud and wild crowd around me. It is a big contrast to the life I used to have before my wedding when I used to go to dance parties at least a few times a month. Anyway, when I heard that Nepathya was coming to Sydney, I told AS and my friends that we have to go and have some fun.
For all who don’t know Nepathya, it is a popular band from Nepal who are known for blending folk melodies into new, youth-friendly pop and rock tune. The band members are Amrit Gurung (Vocals), Suraj Thapa (Keyboards), Subin Shakya (Bass), Nikhil Tuladhar (Drums), Niraj Gurung (Guitar), and Hari Maharjan (Guitar). They were really popular when I was in Nepal in the 90s and are equally popular today as well. Some of their popular songs include Resham, Tal ko Pani , Chekyo Chekyo, Jomsomai Bazaar Ma, Yo Mann ta Mero Nepali Ho etc.
So on Saturday, all of us were ready with our tickets and reached Sydney Town Hall by 6 pm. Just judging by the crowd outside the venue, I knew that it was going to be a very big concert. Sydney Town Hall is an international venue and Lady Gaga had her ‘Monster Ball’ concert there last year. It is the first time that any Nepali events was conducted in an international arena. I later came to know that more than 2000 tickets were printed for the event and it was all sold out leaving lots of people who came thinking to buy tickets at the door disappointed. No wonder the place felt very crowded as during lady Gaga concert, there were only 800 in the audience.
We waited outside for the venue to be opened as it said in the ticket, the concert will start at 6 pm sharp but to our disappointment, we had to wait another 30 minutes before the door was open. Most of the people were already there so there was a long queue to get in. As I had been to this venue before, I was not worried about being last in the line as I thought we would be standing for the concert so no need to be the first inside. But I was surprised to see the sitting arrangements. There were chairs everywhere. When we got inside, the show had already started with local artists performing some songs. As we had gone in a group, it was really hard to find place in one row with 10 empty seats. Also it was already dark inside so we had to split with friends and try to get a sit wherever we could. Some of my friends were in the middle of the hall while me and rest of my friends were at back of the room. The worst part of this sitting arrangement is that people were walking in and out all the time and as we sat in behind the corridor, my view was constantly blocked. On top of that, as there were not so many empty seats left, people were putting their friends on their laps which blocked my view permanently. I was really disappointed thinking that I couldn’t enjoy the concert.
I would have preferred numbered sitting, if the organisers were planning to have chairs, so people who went in a group could sit together, if they bought tickets together like in any international event. Anyway, there were more dances by local artist on the stage and we were frantically searching for another area to enjoy Nepathya. Unfortunately, everywhere we looked it was full and there were lots of people who couldn’t find a seat and were just wandering around or standing next to their friends. At 8 pm, they promised, Nepathya would come on stage but due to some technical difficulties, they played videos of Nepathya’s songs on the big screen for a while instead. By this time I almost gave up hope to enjoy this concert as the guys in front of us kept standing and blocking the view even after we have told them not to stand there. Not only couldn’t I see the stage now, I could hardly see the big screen as well. On top of that, as the town hall does not have sound absorbers as it was not built for a concert, the sound bouncing off the walls was really irritating.
I felt really luck when my friends who were sitting in the middle of the venue came and told us that there are a few empty seats around them. I was overjoyed and went to join them with the rest of my friends and it was the perfect timing as Nepathya just came on stage.
Once Nepathya took the stage, everyone around us started to stand and we did as well but it wasn’t a problem since from that side of the venue, I could still see the stage. Rest of the evening went smoothly and I really enjoyed the whole show.
Amrit Gurung was such a great performer and kept everyone captivated for more than 2 hours straight. When he sang ‘Yo mann ta mero Nepali ho’ (This heart o’ mine is still Nepali), there was not a single person in the hall who wasn’t singing along. He sang a few songs that I haven’t heard before (must be new) but still the melody was so good that I enjoyed them all. When he sang ‘Resham’, the crowd were dancing and the audience got really loud and crazy. Overall, Amrit Gurug proved why they have been in this business for so long and still successful. The connection they made with the audience was undeniable. The guys who played the maadal (Nepali drum) and guitar did a great job as well.
Making it clear to the crowd just how much he loves Nepal, Amrit Gurung at one stage draped a Nepali flag, that was given by the audience, around his shoulders. He delivered a few really heart touching words for people living abroad as well. One of the ones I really liked was
“Mero desh lai padhe lekhako hoina safa hreedhya bhayako manche Ko jarurat cha. Matribhumi ko pukar sunidine bhitri kanbhayako maanish chahiyeko cha tashaile saknu huncha bhene Nepal farkinush haiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii” –Amrit Gurung
(Translation: My country doesn’t need scholars but it needs people who have a clean heart, one who can hear the country’s pleadings, so if you can, please come back to Nepal.)
I also got to know that he was involved with a lot of charities in Nepal where they look after poor and needy families. What an awesome human being. Going to a concert like these always draws me back toward Nepal and good people like him make me feel good about this world. I am still hopeful that things will get better in Nepal one day (hopefully soon) and we should always support people who are thinking of the betterment of Nepal in every way.
The organisers did a great job organising this event in such a big scale and was even proudly saying that it was a historical moment in Sydney for Nepalese people but I will definitely hope that they will be more organised in the future so that everyone one can enjoy the show without getting stressed out. Just one suggestion to the organisers for future events, if you are going to have seating arrangements, please number it .It makes everyone’s life easier.