Thrilling Showfest Debut: Arijit Singh in Concert @ NRG Arena

HOUSTON: I KNEW THIS WAS A BOLD Concept on paper, but I had no idea how far the promoters would take this in reality. Coming out of COVID, most would have taken small steps.  But the creators of ShowFest – Kal Kalra, Anand Dawda and Harry Shah did just the opposite.
During the peak of COVID lockdown in 2020, they booked 32 of Bollywood’s top Artists for a USA tour in 2022.  Not only that, but they also booked all the venues in the top 6 cities in the US for 30 Concerts and 12 Music Festivals. This was more than bold – it was insanity.  But insanity threw the biggest party last Fri MAY 20th at NRG Arena with the ARIJIT SINGH Concert.
When we started the promotions on Masala Radio, I had my doubts initially. But they soon cleared after meeting Anand Dawda.  The creative genius was behind dozens of big Bollywood production shows in the last decade that had toured worldwide.  His focus was to add MASALA to the music – laser lights, moving screens, special effects, and lighted wrist bands usually seen at the wild parties in Ibiza.    As I walked in the NRG Arena an hour before the concert, I heard Arijit Singh rehearsing with his full band.  His voice sounded magical and as he was orchestrating the band, he seemed so gentle, hardworking, and down to earth.  I was mesmerized by the sound that engulfed all the air in the Arena.  In the darkness, the colorful piercing lasers seemed like light sabers from Star Wars.  As if a battle scene had erupted between Darth Vader and a hundred Jedis.  The gates opened and a fun vibrant crowd was ushered in courtesy to their seats. Every seat has a wrist band that would glow up with different colored lights light dancing to the music.
Thanks to Anand & Harry for giving me the opportunity to open the very first ShowFest concert with a few jokes and kick-off Arijit’s electrifying non-stop 3.5-hour performance.  He started with a soft solo on the piano and instantly I heard thousands of screams all around me.  His popularity was evident by the way the audience sang along with all the songs.  Starting with his all-time biggest hit Tum Hi Ho, he threw out hit after hit, and then went into popular dance covers like Aankh Lad Jave and Humma Humma.  I just couldn’t sit and was quickly on my feet dancing.
Earlier, I was surrounded by Who’s who of Houston while shooting behind the screens in the VIP Lounge and got a chance to interview Vijay & Marie Goradia, Arshad & Dr. Ramji, and Gopal Agarwal, among others.  They all enjoyed the Elite experience that Houston has never seen before, from valet parking to a lavish dinner by Dawat serving Kashmiri Pulav to Kanya Kumari Bhindi and other regional dishes.  The show started exactly on time as promised.  The Elite seats were individual recliner leather sofa chairs felt like Emirates business class, and the best part – I have the same seats for all the concerts, I am going to have 4 more experiences with all these people I met around me – warm fuzzy feeling.  We were so close to ARIJIT it felt like he was singing to me, though Sandhya, Preanka, Rinku, Alisha, Pankti and Bhavisha swore he was waving at them too. That’s the magic of ARIJIT, each person felt a personal connection to him in a trance.
The giant screens seemed larger than my three-story house and halfway through the concert they moved through the stage.  This was a next level !  Light sequences, giant confetti, bursts of fog and fire added to magical moments I will never forget.
As if I had seen enough, 3D graphics appeared and changed with each song.  This was nothing short of a Las Vegas show at the grand MGM theater.
I was so proud that my niece Priyanshi and son Sahil said, “if this what all ShowFest shows are going to be like, we don’t want to miss a single one.”  It seems the next generation is ready for the paradigm shift created by SHOWFEST.  Future concert lineups include rewind with Udit, Kumar and Alka.  Then it’s Anil Kapoor, Madhuri Dixit, and a whole host of 90s stars.  The one I am particularly interested in is Hrithik Roshan, Tiger shroff and Nora Fatehi.  Showfest is master planned by seasoned veterans who aim to raise the bar so high, even Elon Musk’s Space X rocket can’t fly that high.

Sunil T with Showfest promoters: Anand Dawda

Sunil T dancing with Showfest promoter Harry Shah.

Sunil T with Showfest promoter Kal Kalra.

Thousands of people cheered, smiled, danced in jubilation at the first concert in 2.5 years.  And it was the modern-day Kishore Kumar – Arijit Singh.  Kal Kalra said, “There is lot more to come from ShowFest so be ready”.    Everyone that bought the Arijit ticket, got one free ticket to Yo Yo Honey Singh concert and one to Salim Suleman’s Sufi tronix – both at Skeeters stadium coming this summer.

I will give the first concert 5 stars.  It was beyond what I had expected.  I danced in jubilation for half the time and the other half soaked in luxury on the second row of the elite section.  Harry shah delivered what he promised.  Sandhya and the masala crew came in through the red-carpet valet parking entrance from the back.
Concert like REWIND, ICONIC ADDICTION,  U-WE3 and 2 Music Festivals Sufitronix and Madness are coming soon at the Skeeters Stadium. I highly recommend getting the MEGAPACK and just knowing that you will have a season to the best In Bollywood for the year is simply mind-blowing.  Memberships start at $1 a day on
Harry was on Masala Radio  98.7fm promoting the features of the elite section, at the concert he made sure every elite meneber got pics with Arijit Singh and himself sent the pics to everyone.   Harry Shah humbly said “I’m sure there were some areas where we were not 100% and we have room to grow.”  Anand Dawda pitched in “fortunately we have 6 more shows to perfect our model and our mission to deliver the impossible… to take your breath away at every one of our events.” Kal Kalra smiled and said “we are already working on 2023.   The success of the first show is such a huge motivation.  Thank you everyone for believing in us and buying the mega packs.”  And those that didn’t believe initially, no problem.   Just go on and join the party.”
The MASALA award for the BEST DEBUT in concert production goes to Showfest.   A new generation has arrived.