The idea of compacting hardcore enjoyment in just four hours is a wicked one and a concert is the best way to achieve it.
Oceans away from Pakistan and India, where desi live shows are common, people here counted days on their finger tips to hear live desi rock. Finally, the concert drought was over when a plane flew into Toronto with Atif Aslam, Amanat Ali Khan, Kailash Kher and Richa Sharma, all taken to the Hershey Centre for serious business.
Arriving at the venue a touch too early and still witnessing long wait lines gave a whiff that something wholesome was being prepared on the other side of the walls.
But things went rather smoothly with not a single incident of rowdiness.
The stage was well lit up and the sound was better than any we have heard back home in Pakistan. Talks about a smaller turn out due to high ticket prices was given a good snub when people turned up in huge numbers who were promised artists like Atif Aslam, Amanat Ali Khan, Kailash Kher and Richa Sharma. Attention was more garnered towards the two As, Atif and Amanat but Kailash Kher and Richa Sharma's party was scrupulously enjoyed as well.
The evening started with a dance show, which was an official sound and visual check for many. After a couple of covers by the host Archana, the very talented Amanat Ali Khan took to the stage where the crowd had already thrown away their silent masks.
Every setting on the knob was set to loudness as he belted singles after singles that only multiplied his attraction as a singer and better yet as a performer.
Scoring huge on the Indian show, Sa Re Ga Ma, Amanat crisply performed 'Mitwa', 'Dard-e-Disco' and age-old 'Khaike Pan Banaras Wala' before the crowd. Also giving 10 minute fame to a girl from the crowd, he performed dance hits as 'Bijoria' (Sonu Nigam) as the crowd grooved with him.
Eventually Amanat slowd the pace down with mellow ditties such as 'Jab Se Tere Naina', 'Ankhon Mai Teri' and 'Tuj Se Naraz Nahi' relating stories to each song and sharing his experiences. And these where the songs where Amanat's vocals soared the most, creating a musical aura that cast a trance-like spell on the audience. Amanat Ali Khan is a fantastic singer and even though he is young, he knows just how to move a crowd.
Next up was Richa Sharma from India, who has sung quite a few Bollywood tunes. After blazing through her famed 'Mahi Ve', she covered Abida Parveen's all-time classic 'Mahi Yar Di Ghadoli'. And even though Abida Parveen remains inimitable, it has to be said that Richa performed a superb cover.
And from thereon, she moved to the Bollywood hits such as 'Tauba Tauba' (Kaal) and 'Zindagi Mai Kabhi Koi Aey na Rabba' (Musafir), both sung to perfection.
Before forgotten in the mist of other performances, she recalled Amanat Ali on the stage for 'Billo Rani' off Goal. Together this duo rocked the house.
On a tour with his band, Kailash Kher performed singles from his album but it was when he performed 'Teri Deewani', 'Hans Dey' and 'Chak De Pathey' when the crowd really had some serious fun, singing along, dancing to these well-known tunes.
Kailash Kher is a comfortable live performer and his vocals are in top form, and it has ot be said that he is an energetic performer.
Also, proving that he is a big fan himself, hits of Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan such as 'Dil Nai Lagda' and 'Sanu Ik Pal' were enthralling and reminiscing.
Crowd; which was more enthusiastically rooting for Atif Aslam whom they had been waiting for did seem a little tied and Kailash got the message, paving way for Atif.
Atif Aslam was the star of this show. The man who can charm women while men want to be like him. For those who understand the language, an Atif Aslam show is huge. Not surprisingly, Atif was the finale of the night.
Atif began with his famous hits, 'Bheegi Yaadein' and 'Ehsaas', and his songs were all the crowd needed to have fun. He then belted out other known tunes like 'Mahi Ve' and 'Meri Kahani' and brought the house down with his fiery energy on stage. And it wasn't just sizzling for the crowd; Atif Aslam removed his black velvet pullover to reveal a bright orange shirt as he sang the seasoned Bolly tune 'Inteha Ho Gae Intezaar Ki'.
Even though, Atif's vocals seemed flat on this number, he still managed to keep the crowd grooving.
'Tere Bin' and slower version of 'Dil Haarey' were refined part of his act as the better majority of the crowd gulp down the sentiments that were being thrown to them.
He finished off an outstanding concert with a an extended version of his breakthrough hit 'Aadat'.