Thousands attend Junoon’s London comeback concert
LONDON: Pakistan’s much loved rock band Junoon returned to London for a memorable and electrifying performance 13 years after the band had given a similar performance at the same Wembley venue.
Thousands of adoring fans of Junoon sang, danced and lived it with the band for about four hours as Ali Azmat sang one after another hit Junoon songs and Salman Ahmed presented his own solo sets in between.
Titled “Junoon – The Comeback Tour,” the concert was presented by Geo Television Network to British Pakistanis. Geo’s Capital Talk host Hamid Mir and cricketer Shahid Afridi made short speeches at the start of the concert and emphasized that bands like Junoon projected the real side of Pakistan’s efforts for cultural and social harmony and peace.
The crowd of mostly professional Pakistanis, who had travelled from all over the UK, went wild as soon as lead singer Ali Azmat, lead guitarist Salman Ahmed, producer John Alec, bassist Brian O’Connell, guitarist Omran Shafique and rest of the band members arrived on the stage.
Rock singer Ali Azmat had promised ahead of the concert that the band will give a once-in-a-lifetime performance before their British Pakistani and Asian fans and without a doubt, the band lived up to the promise of putting every ounce of energy into giving their best. The band’s performance also validated Salman Ahmed’s claim that while the band has come together after over 13 years, the Junoon in the band members and their fans never died.
The evening kicked off with hitting the notes of “Sayonee” and from the opening tune till the end of the song, the crowd sang along in an atmosphere that remained mesmerizing, nostalgic and memorable till the end.
As Ali Azmat said on stage that the first half of the concert was run through at the speed of 60 KM an hour – the band performed hit melodies “Khudi”, “Saeein” and “Lal Meri Pat”, “Yaar Bina”, “Pappu Yaar”, “Garaj Baras”, “Dosti”, “Ghoom Tana”, “Jazba-E-Junoon” and Pakistan’s anthem at the end of the show.
Junoon has been away for 13 years but their association with their fans through their immortalized tunes remains so strong that at the Wembley SSE venue, the crowd launched to their feet and matched each and every lyric of Ali Azmat as he sang, joked in between and danced around – raising the temperature.
Salman Ahmed spoke to the audience on Junoon’s reunion but he mainly let his guitar do the talking as he made the guitar weep blood at points. The band’s coordination and connectivity looked effortless and perfectly synched. The famous trio of Ali, Salman and Brian created the perfect magic on the stage that has come to define the band.
Throughout the band’s performance, the security struggled to hold back the youth wanting to go on front rows to sing and dance with the band. As the band tore almost all their numbers, the crowd kept chanting for “one more” and then an evening of magic and reminder of a great past came to a close. The performers came together to thank the audience for their continuing affection. The trio then embraced each other in warmth and tears ran down their cheeks, overwhelmed by emotions.
After the concert was over, Ali Azmat and Salman Ahmed spoke to Geo News and thanked the audience. They said the experience was unreal for them.
“It’s overwhelming to see so many people show so much love. I will call it unconditional love. The response of the crowd was amazing and they made us perform with them. It looked like that each and everyone present at the venue was part of the band. It was like a family reunion and definitely an unforgettable experience,” said Ali Azmat, the powerhouse vocalist.
Salman Ahmed said the Junoon had decided to reunite to carry forward the message of peace and love through music. He said the London crowd had proved that the Junooni philosophy will always remain there.
“Through our music, we promote the message of peace and harmony between nations and cultures. This is what the real Pakistan is. Junoon aims to take this message around the globe,” added the lead guitar player.
Since its reunion on the birth date of Pakistan’s founder Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah, Junoon performed at dozens of venues inside Pakistan and the Middle East. After the successful London tour, the band will be performing in America and Canada.