It finally happened. Backstreet Boys headlined Rock In India 2010. We just had to be there. So we were.
After all the flak that preceded Rock In India 2010, the event finally took place at the Palace Grounds in Bangalore on Sunday, February 21. No metalheads picketed the nearly empty afternoon ticket counters. There were far less black t-shirts than one would expect at a *cough* rock *cough* show. The average age of the audience was 14. A large segment of the audience was from south-east Asia. One dude wore an ‘N Sync Tour 2000 t-shirt, and we’re not sure if he was being ironic.
And then there was the gig itself.
On the bill were Kolkata rock act Five Little Indians, homeboys Swarathma, drum-bashing-mask-wearing-metal-something Jayce (pronounce Jay-s, not Jay-cee) Lewis, South African alternative act Prime Circle, that Richard Marx and those Backstreet Boys. When opening act Five Little Indians took stage, there were only about 400 people in the audience. The audience, while appreciative of FLI’s Indian-emo-alt, was clearly there for one band only. Even Swarathma w/ghodi couldn’t really get the as enthused as they usually do with the animal as part of their set. Jayce Lewis was instantly forgettable, and Prime Circle, while efficient, played a very dated sound.
Richard Marx was welcomed by rapturous applause. He does have a catalog that extends further than ‘Right Here Waiting’. That catalog however sounds entirely like mid-’90s Bryan Adams.
Once Marx was done with his set, a 40-member cleaning crew appeared. Within minutes drums, guitars, amps, grand pianos and any semblance of “rock” was removed from the stage.
As the lights dimmed and the Backstreet Boys AVs began playing on the PA, that familiar girlie-twee-screech of early Beatles live videos engulfed the now 2,500 strong crowd (a far, far cry from previous instalments of the event).
The Backstreet Boys headlined Rock In India 2010. By no means was the gig as its title claimed.
Vijay Nair filled in as lensman for us with Pavan from Swarathma’s camera. Hat tip to both.