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Their numbers still rock the music world

G.N. Prashanth



CHART BUSTERS: Members of `Michael Learns to Rock' at a concert at Palace Grounds in Bangalore on Sunday. — Photo: K. Bhagya Prakash

BANGALORE: Just as they had hoped, Michael Learns to Rock (MLTR) will return to Denmark with good memories of Bangalore. That's how it was the last time they were at the Palace Grounds. They performed here on Sunday after 10 years. They have brought in no change in their sound in all this time and they have had no new album in the last five years. Yet, Jascha Richter and friends got fans swaying and singing along with them. It was an audience that exceeded the band's own expectation in number as well as in response to their music. You could see not only the younger generation, all of them from the colleges, but a part of the generation that grew up with MLTR, now into jobs — there's still nostalgia for Michael of the old. True, MLTR is not in the league of a Pink Floyd or Dire Straits, but they did well for themselves. Surely, they would not have expected to run out of songs on Sunday.

On a day that saw two other important concerts in the city, with Brit Masala on one hand and Ustad Bismillah Khan on the other, MLTR still held its own. The guarantee seems to be that every genre of music has its fans. MLTR's popularity has not waned. They screamed and whistled soon as they got the hint of the song coming up and then joined the band in singing the Michael favourites everywhere — "The Actor", "Paint My Love", "Sleeping Child", "25 minutes", "Out of the Blue", "Take me to your heart", "Angel Eyes" and "Love will never lie". The songs "Strange Foreign Beauty" and "Out of the Blue" brought out the nice depth to Jascha's voice. But the hit of the day surely was "Someday" with its quick and yet gentle pace.

When the band was done after 19 songs, the audience shouted for more. The band returned and gave one more. It is standard in most concerts for this to happen. But even after song 20, the audience wouldn't relent.

"There are many wild men here aren't they," Jascha said and put out the quicker number "Wild Women". It still wasn't enough. That's when, Jascha, visibly moved by the response, said: "The problem is we don't have any more songs. What do we do?"

The concert finally came to an end with the band acknowledging and appreciating the audience.

MLTR put in a very neat performance with everyone playing their part and just doing what they were good at. There was no excess in the guitar work of Mikkel Lentz, in Kare Wanscher's drumming or Jascha's keyboards.

The (concert) sound was tight and clean throughout thanks to brilliant electronics by Roger's of Mumbai and some phenomenal lighting, both of which brought about the typical international feel. Clearly, their India show has begun well.

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