Review: Rahat Fateh Ali Khan At The O2

The Qawalli King performed his Greatest Hits in concert…

Posted: 22.08.16

If you appreciate good music and raw musical talent, then witnessing Rahat Fateh Ali Khan live in concert is something you must tick off your musical bucket list, regardless of whether you are desi or not. The King of Qawalli descended on The O2 in London for the second time, impressively selling out the entire arena – such is his melodious prowess. Pressure must have been insurmountable, having a magnanimous few hundred concerts to his name, touring all over the world, where most of his fans have seen him perform live numerous times before, yet he never disappoints and always manages to draw in the crowds every time. What is the appeal? His loyal fanbase include people from all backgrounds, ages and he always caters to both his Bollywood-loving and classical-savvy audiences.

What was especially beautiful about his Greatest Hits concert, was that he divided the show in two parts. During the first segment, we saw a rare appearance of Rahat Fateh Ali Khan donning a rather suave and slick suit, perched upon a stool with a contemporary Western band, where his musical numbers were given a fusion twist, with the melodies of a guitar or saxophone. 

For the second half of the show, he reverted back to his more conventional salwar kameez attire, still with a touch of glitz, in a more traditional set, whilst sitting cross-legged on a raised platform with his swooning and clapping comrades. Although both the Bollywood and soothing songs were thoroughly enjoyed by all, the atmosphere jolted electric when he sang his late legendary uncle, Nusrat’s evergreen classics like Tenu Akhiyan Udeek Diya and the grand finale of Mast Qalandar.

Apart from savouring a live authentic musical talent, it’s a treat to see Rahat Fateh Ali Khan interact with the audience, as you really get a feel for his fun loving, uplifting personality – he even threw in a joke or two! A particularly endearing moment was when he dedicated romantic Bollywood number ‘Samjhawan’ to his wife.

Next year is Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan’s 20th death anniversary and we hear that his beloved nephew who is continuing his legacy, Rahat Fateh Ali Khan will pay tribute and commemorate his memory in a special way. Watch this space…

Find out more about Rahat Fateh Ali Khan here.

Review by Fariha Sabir

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