This is a very PERSONAL review

But based on 40 years of eating in Matunga (CR) and King’s Circle.

1. Cafe Madras:

#1 in overall rating, arguably serves the best sambhar in Mumbai.

WARNING: Avoid Saturday Evening, Sunday Morning and Sunday Evening as there is a HUGE waiting line.

Monday Closed

The ideal meal for one person here would be

1. Start with Upma with Molgapodi

2. Vada Sambhar

3. Order a Dosa when the Vada Sambhar arrives ( A Set Dosa with White Butter and Molga Podi) or a Pesaratte Dosa

4. End with a nice cup of Filter Coffee

(A+) Top Dishes:

Vada Sambhar, Masala Dosa, Pesaratte Dosa, Appam Stew (available on certain evenings only), Set Dosa, Filter Coffee, Best Sambhar and Molga Podi

(A) Above Average Dishes:

Upma, Idli, Rava Masala, Bisibele Bhath, Tuppa Dosa (Ghee Dosa), Uttappam

(B) Average Dishes

Mysore Masala, Idli – The Coconut Chutney here is also not as good as its competitors

2. Café Mysore:

#2 in overall rating, the best authentic Mysore Masala dosa in Mumbai.

Arguably serves the best coconut chutney of the lot.

Ideal for Saturday Evening, Sunday Morning and Sunday Evening as the waiting line is quite less.

They also have an AC Section

Wednesday Closed

The ideal meal for one person here would be

1. Start with Tomato Upma

2. Idli Chutney

3. Mysore Masala Dosa

4. End with Pineapple Sheera / Lemon Jiuce

(A+) Top Dishes:

Idly Chutney, Khotto Idli, Mysore Masala Dosa, Rava Masala, Onion Uttaapam

(A) Above Average Dishes:

Upma, Masala Dosa,

(B) Average Dishes

Vada Sambhar, Bisibele Bhath, Pulao, Puri Kurma etc

3. Anand Bhuvan

#3 in overall rating, the best Bisibele Bhath in Mumbai. Good Filter Coffee.

Ideal for afternoon lunch.

Tuesday Closed

The ideal meal for one person here would be

1. Rasam Vada/Idli

2. Any Dosa

3. Bisibele Bhath

4. End with Coffee / Day’s special sweet dish

(A+) Top Dishes:

Rasam, Bisibele Bhath, Dal Vada

(A) Above Average Dishes:

All Basic Dosas, Vada, Sambhar, Chutney

(B) Average Dishes

Pessarate Dosa, Kadi Vada, Pulao, Missal

4. Ram Ashraya

#4 in overall rating, best Idli Chutney in Mumbai

In recent times, it has gained tremendous popularity and poses a threat to Café Madras in terms of crowd pull. Proximity to Matunga (CR) station.

Ideal for early morning breakfast as it opens at 5am.

Monday Closed

The ideal meal for one person here would be

1. Upma

2. Idli and Vaati Chutney

3. Mysore Onion Rava Masala

4. End with their Sheera speciality (different sheeras on different days  / time of day)

(A+) Top Dishes:

Good Coconut Chutney (order the vaati chutney at start), Upma, Sheera, Mysore Onion Rava Dosa, Buttermilk, Vada

(A) Above Average Dishes:

All Dosas

(B) Average Dishes

Bisibele Bhath, Pulao etc.

5. Amba Bhuvan

#5 in overall rating, Arguably the best Upma, Kadi Vada and Filter Coffee in Mumbai

Ver old school look with the same furniture, same waiters and virtually the same customers since the 40 years that I know of. Most ideal for Saturdays and Sundays – least crowded of all.

Thursday Closed

The ideal meal for one person here would be

1. Upma

2. Kadi Vada

3. Pongal (Certain Days)

4. Must End with their trademark #1 Filter Coffee

(A+) Top Dishes:

Upma,  Kadi Vada, Kela Bhajji, Filter Coffee

(A) Above Average Dishes:

Idli, Vada, Basic Dosas, Pongal

(B) Average Dishes

All Speciality Dosas, Sambhar and Chutney

6. Mani’s Lunch Home

#1 for Authentic Tam-Brahm Lunch and Dinner.

Unlike the Udipi joints above, this is a 100% Tamil restaurant (Palakkaad Iyers)

The Sambhars (a different one every day), the Rasam and the sabzis are made exactly in the same way as an Iyer’s home.

Warning: You don’t get Dosas, Idlis etc during lunch time

Tuesday Closed

The ideal meal for one person here would be

1. Rice Plate – Limited thali (eat like a King for below 70 INR)

2. Meal – Unlimited thali served on a banana leaf (eat like 3 Kings dining together for less than 100 INR)

3. End with Filter Coffee

(A+) Top Dishes:

Rasam, Chinna Vengaya Sambhar (Madras Onion Sambhar), Rasavangi (Brinjal Sambhar), Avial, Vetta Cozhambu (yummy Tamarind, Chillies and Dal concoction to be had with rice)

(A) Above Average Dishes:

The basic Udipi stuff is all available here, cooked in a slightly different way

(B) Average Dishes

Some may not find the Sambhar and Chutney as tasty as others above

7. Rama Nayak’s Lunch Home

#1 for Authentic Udipi Lunch and Dinner.

Unlike other Udipi joints above, this only serves Lunch and Dinner meals

8. Shri Sunder’s

Average Udipi Joint – no specialities as such but serves various ‘bhaths’ (rice) at all times

9. Arya Bhuvan

Relatively new, bang opposite Matunga (CR) station – main gate

Serves certain unique Kerala dishes like PANIYARAM etc.

The IDLI here is made in the authentic Tamil style.

10. Sharda Bhuvan

Same management as Amba Bhuvan. Same quality too.

11. Mani’s (Ruia College)

Same management as Mani’s Lunch Home.


Above Average Idli, Vada and Dosa place

Very good Filter Coffee

12. Thambi

Newly opened, encashing on its proximity to Welinkar’s, Podar, Ruia college

Decent overall quality

Summary of Top Dishes:

  1. Ram Ashray – Upma and Idli Chutney
  2. Amba Bhuvan – Upma, Kadi Vada, Filter Coffee
  3. Café Madras – Vada Sambhar, Set Dosa, Pesaratte Dosa
  4. Café Mysore – Khotto Idli, Mysore Masala
  5. Anand Bhuvan – Bisibele Bhath
  6. Full Lunch / Dinner at Mani’s Lunch Home

A Proud Moment…

Hi All

Thanks to Heena, I’m one of the few artists in India to endorse Gibson.

Apart from the fact that Gibson Guitars has been the hallmark guitar for Rock & Blues, a Gibson Les Paul has been my dream guitar for all my life! It’s like one of those things you want to live your life for!

Now its a HUGE feeling to be listed in the Artists section of the Gibson website.

Gibson Guitars are fantastic, classy and a matter of pride to anyone who owns it. You can have many other guitars but Gibson Les Paul is a dream. I use the Limited Edition Les Paul GT model on stage and the guitar rocks! From mellow clean sounds to growling fat distortion sounds, the guitar suits all kinds of playing!


– A World-Class Rock Album and a Refreshing New Sound for Bollywood


Though my subject line says it all, I don’t think it justifies the greatness of the album fully hence this review…


Though this is a Bollywood film soundtrack, where you know that the songs need to appropriately fit into the film, Rock On is brilliant as a stand-alone music album mainly because the film’s plot also paves way for a lot of creative freedom in terms of music and lyrics.



Theoretically speaking, nothing can go wrong if you hand over the music department to Shankar Ehsaan Loy. The trio has proved this point time and again where sometimes the film flops but their music is a super hit and of course there are some films that only became a hit because of its music!

This album is no exception to that theory; whether the film does well or not is its own merit, but the album will definitely rock! The quite obvious reason behind this is that unlike most other music composers of today (barring the genius Rahman) Shankar Ehsaan and Loy are primarily brilliant musicians and virtuosos with their respective instruments. For those who didn’t know this, Shankar, apart from being the great gifted classical singer that he is, is also an accomplished keyboard player (FYI: the sarod interlude on Mitwa is Shankar on keys), Ehsaan is a GIT (Musicians Institute  in LA) graduate and a blues-rock guitar specialist while Loy is a boss in jazz on the piano and also plays guitar.

Now Farhan on vocals may come as a shocker to you (fair enough, since you know him just as this brilliant director and son of Javedsaab). No he is not a wannabe rocker using voice filters and key correction as backup. He is a very good musician who sings very well since his school days and also plays the guitar quite well. Please do not put him down as a ‘timepass’ singer. (Check his personal Facebook Rock On Group and the video on his audition where he has played guitar and sung a very cool U2 song!)


The Music:

One cannot deny that this music is outright rock, but one repeated listening will make you appreciate the beauty of the strong melodies which actually sets it apart. The use of live drums, live bass and guitar sounds recorded live with mic-ed amps makes the sound raw and gives authentic vintage feel to the rock songs (A song-by-song analysis follows as a separate section). The songs featuring Farhan on vocals like Socha Hai, Pichhle Saat Dinon and Rock On have great riffs, catchy hook lines and chorus that immediately cling on. The essence of this album quite noticeably is the brilliant guitar work by Ehsaan. The distortion riffs, the solos and the clean guitar work on the ballads are all not just written and composed – They are all ‘crafted’ like a passionate sculptor with great attention to detail. Whatever SEL has done and will ever do, I’m sure Rock On will undoubtedly remain Ehsaan’s pet project! The softer songs including Farhan’s ballad Tum Ho Toh are all rich in melody yet structured such that the lines are not easily predictable.


The Lyrics:

What differentiates a Rock album from other genres?

Its not just heavy guitars and drums; its about the art of songwriting. The concept, the lyrics and song themes matter most. The best of successful vintage rock albums of all time will prove that the lyrics are less about boy-girl mush and more about generic themes on life, questions, personalities, adventures, politics, dark subjects and current affairs. The love songs are also generally deep ballads with mature lyrics rather than mushy schoolboy stuff.

I am sure Javedsaab has definitely researched a lot on this subject with substantial help from Farhan because ‘Rock  On’ as an album on its own, justifies the rock genre songwriting in its true sense. You have songs on life, inspirational themes, on generic questions which have no answers, a dark song like Zehreelay, a thoroughly motivating song on Sindbad the sailor and some extremely soulful ballads.


The Songs:


Socha Hai – Farhan Akhtar

A great opener for the album. Neat slow riff followed by harmonics, enter the bass, and then vocals enter simultaneously with drums. Farhan sounds fresh and the lyrics are a clever mix of witty, comical and amusing spoonfuls of brain salad scooped out of a typical metrosexual youth’s brain. Listen to it and you will know what I mean.


Pichle Saat Dinon – Farhan Akhtar

This is an outright arena rock song (which is why you will also find a live version of the same) The correct way to appreciate this song is to close your eyes and place yourself in the middle of a rock concert and sing along the chorus lines “Na-Na Na-Na-Na” Try this and then comment J


Rock On – Farhan Akhtar

The ‘title song’ as one would call songs from a typical Bollywood soundtrack. The sheer simplicity of this signature riff and its repeated appearance through the verses and interludes is the body of this song. The chorus line with ‘Rock On’ is immediately identifiable. In my books, this riff will go down as India’s own Smoke On The Water J


Ye Tumhari Meri Baatein – Dominique Cerejo

For those who don’t know Dominique, she and Clinton (her hubby) are the reigning duo for vocal arrangements for almost all Bollywood / Indipop projects in India. This soulful track with its fine textures, the rich overtones and the clarity of words showcases Dominique’s talent as a super vocalist. Check her out especially in parts where she smoothly moves into falsettos and comes back with equal ease.


Zehreelay – Suraj Jaggan

You may recall Suraj from the title track of Johnny Gaddar. But fyi Suraj – the voice is the one behind the Vodafone jingles ‘You and I’ and the more recent ‘Everyday I Want To Fly’. He being chosen to sing this track comes as no surprise for people who know him, as in his earlier days Suraj was the lead vocalist for Mumbai band – Krysys. The composition with its lyrics are intentionally kept dark as one can imagine a rock band competition where Farhan’s band is confronted by a rival band who belong to a different genre of rock (Death Metal types if you want to categorize it). Guitar lovers, check out Ehsaan’s speedy yet bluesy lines in the solo.


Tum Ho Toh – Farhan Akhtar

Enter the first ballad in this album. The track has SEL signatures written all over it with the guitar intro that evoke strains from Kaisi Hai Yeh Rut, Kal Ho Na Ho and Maa. The nuances of vocal mixes with feedback voices and harmony chorus lines are the highlights of this song. Check out Farhan’s vocals closely especially towards the end of the song. He is really good.


Sinbad The Sailor – Farhan Akhtar & Raman Mahadevan

This is the most enjoyable song in the album, an inspirational and motivating song using Sinbad’s life as a backdrop. The most interesting part in this song is the sudden change at around 4:30 minutes where Raman enters in. It’s a very intelligent change because till this point the song is all about Sinbad and his traits and as to how we must all get inspired by him and his successful venture. And then suddenly this change in music! and the lyrics!? Now this guy digresses and is talking in first person to a woman who is his real inspiration in life! Superb!!! Simply Brilliant!!!


Pichle Saat Dinon (Live Version) – Farhan Akhtar

This is the live version of track 2, with crowd cheers and clever live band arrangements where the vocalist starts demanding his share of cheers from the audience, starts crooning and drums enter much later.


Phir Dekhiye – Caralisa Monteiro

Ballad #2 – this time by a female. Caralisa’s voice is out of this world. Check out the bright warm tone of Ehsaan’s acoustic guitar with lovely piano in the background which beautifully creeps into the foreground  on occasions.


Technical Details (as much as I could gather):

Ehsaan has used the PRS 513 guitar with a mic-ed amp on all the rock tracks barring Rock On where he has used a Fender Stratocaster through a Line 6.

Darshan has played the Tama drumkit.

Adi has played on his 5-string Yamaha bass.


Bottom Line:

Listen without prejudice!



5 / 5 stars

1. for a sincere effort

2. for the excellent sound engineering

3. for SEL’s brilliant musical arrangements

4. for Javedsaab’s lyrical bliss

5. for Farhan’s vocals (and Dominique, Caralisa, Raman & Suraj)




So you want to step out of the clichéd world of pop, rap, remix, hip– hop etc and you want to join the ‘elite league of extraordinary people who listen to ROCK MUSIC’? Well, here are 22 albums in listening order (not chronological) complied as a step by step progress to attain a beginner’s certificate for entry to rock music. Once you finish this list, you will be open to hearing more ‘exquisite’ stuff. 

 Bryan Adams - Reckless

1. Bryan Adams – Reckless

A wonderful album to start off, each and every track is a classic.Adams had six songs topping US/UK charts includingSummer of 69’, Run To you, Heaven, One Night Love Affair, It’s Only Love, Somebody(Other album recommendations: Cuts Like A Knife, Waking Up The Neighbors) 

Bon Jovi - Slippery When Wet 

2. Bon Jovi – Slippery When Wet

This is the album that made Bon Jovi a super band. Classic tracks include Let it Rock, You Give Love a Bad Name, Livin’ on a Prayer, Wanted Dead or Alive and Never Say Goodbye(You don’t need to hear anything more from these guys, since you’re now going to step into real rock!!!) 

Eagles - Greatest Hits 

3. Eagles – Greatest Hits (Compilation)

Right, you have heard of them, and you’ve heard Hotel California some hundred times and some Scooty ad you’ve heard was also some Eagles track? Yeah that was Take it Easy. That and several other classics (mostly ballads) from this album are cool. After they split, vocalist/drummer Don Henley and guitarists Glen Frey, Don Felder and Joe Walsh had pretty successful solo careers, but nothing could beat their success together, hence they reformed and released Hell Freezes Over which proved a super hit yet again.(For albums, Hotel California, One of These Nights, On the Border & Desperado can be worth a try) 

Dire Straits - Brothers In Arms 

4. Dire Straits – Brothers in Arms

How can a rock list be complete with out mentioning Dire Straits? A band loved by all, be it a pop listener, a jazz enthusiast or a hard rock fan. Dire Straits is the brainchild of lead singer / guitarist Mark Knopfler whose easy flowing songs with almost essay– recital type singing backed with amazing guitar interludes form a completely new form of music. Brothers in Arms had the chart toppers Walk of Life, Money for Nothing, So Far Away and Why Worry. (All their albums are classics: Dire Straits (debut album) with the evergreen Sultans of Swing, Communiqué, Making Movies, Love over Gold and On Every Street)

Police - Synchronocity 

5. Police – Synchronicity

The Police became the stepping stone to singer/bassist Sting’s amazing music career which has only seen growth, and as we read this, will keep growing.Synchronicity is a fine bridge between their earlier reggae– rock albums and chart topping pop songs. Every Breath You Take, King of Pain and Wrapped Around Your Finger are the highlights from this album(Recommended albums: Reggatta de Blanc, Zenyatta Mondatta and Sting’s solo albums like Dream of the Blue Turtles and Nothing like the Sun)

U2 - The Joshua Tree 

6. U2 – Joshua Tree

U2, along with REM is amongst the earliest traces of alternative music to emerge from the post– punk era of the 80s. Joshua Tree is the band’s highest career point and contains classics like With or Without You, Where the Streets Have No Name and I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For.(Recommended albums: October, Boy, War, Unforgettable Fire, Rattle & Hum and Achtung Baby) 

Beatles - Abbey Road 

7. The Beatles – Abbey Road

If you’re wondering what Beatles is doing here in this list, chances are that you haven’t heard this album at all. It is one of the first psychedelic concept albums ever made and has clear indications of LSD influence in the band’s writing and compositions. Here comes the Sun, Come Together, Something, You Never Give Me Your Money etc are the classics from this album.(If you liked this, you can try other albums of Beatles post 1967 like Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, Let It Be and The White Album) 

Doors - The Best Of 

8. Doors – The Best Of The Doors (Compilation)

Well if you haven’t yet heard the classic Roadhouse Blues, go and get it NOW!! This album is also for the dudes and dudettes who have only heard that one song.The Doors were Jim Morrison with his deep voice and refined poetic lyrics accompanied by guitarist Robbie Krieger, keyboardist Ray Manzarek, and drummer John Densmore. This double album contains most of their basic hits including Light My Fire, Break on Through, Crystal Ship, Love Me 2 Times and many more…(Recommended albums include Soft Parade, Morrison Hotel, An American Prayer, Waiting for the Sun, The Doors, And Strange Days). 

Pink Floyd - The Dark Side Of The Moon 

9. Pink Floyd – Dark Side of the Moon

This is the best album to start off with, if you haven’t ever heard the band (other than the pop hit ‘Another Brick in the Wall’). The ideal way to listen to this album is in the evening, with lights out and high volume (not blasting) Please do not skip tracks; Dark Side of the Moon along with many other Floyd albums are concept & theme based, so the tracks flow from one to another. This album, engineered by Alan Parsons, has also set new standards in recording & sound engineering.(Once you finish this you can try the other albums like The Wall, Meddle, Saucerful Of Secrets, Umma Gumma etc.) 

Jethro Tull - Aqualung 

10. Jethro Tull – Aqualung

Very few people must have heard of this band, but Jethro Tull has toured India twice and is fronted by the charismatic Ian Anderson who sings and plays the flute and guitar apart from several other instruments. Though my favorite album is Songs from the Wood, Aqualung has proved to be the best selling album for Tull, and contains the classic songs Locomotive Breath and Aqualung.(Other albums include Thick as a Brick, a concept album containing just one song that goes on for 40 odd minutes, Songs from the Wood, Stormwatch, Benefit, etc) 

Santana - Abraxas 

11. Santana – Abraxas

With singles like Smooth, Maria Maria and Corazon Espinado, Santana as a solo artist is a well known figure in today’s pop scene. But earlier, Santana as a band proved to be the primary source for combining Afro– Cuban rhythms with hard rock. Led by lead guitarist Carlos Santana, the band first appeared live at the Woodstock and since then there’s been no looking back, Abraxas includes the classics Black Magic Woman and Oye Como Va.(Recommendations include Santana 1, Caravanserai, Santana 3 and Shango) 

Guns n’ Roses - Appetite For Destruction 

12. Guns n’ Roses – Appetite for Destruction

Though initially referred to, as a poor man’s Aerosmith, G n’ R deserve credit for their fantastic debut album Appetite for Destruction, which was a superb way to revive classic raw energy rock amidst the Pop era of the late eighties. With 4 evergreen singles like Welcome to the Jungle, Paradise City, Mr. Brownstone and Sweet Child O’ Mine, this is a welcome album in my list.(Other albums include the well appreciated Use Your Illusion 1 & 2)

Aerosmith - Pump 

13. Aerosmith – Pump

Aerosmith, the band that clearly inspired Guns n’ Roses and the likes, were very popular in the 70s for their new raunchy swaggering style of music which was trendsetting. Pump released in 1989 showed the same power and aggression as their 70s albums like Toys in the Attic & Rocks. An instant hit in US, this album contains Love in an Elevator, Janie’s got a Gun, The Other Side and the trademark power ballad What It Takes.(Album recommendations: Rocks, Toys in the Attic, Permanent Vacation, Get a Grip) 

Deep Purple - Deepest Purple 

14. Deep Purple – Deepest Purple (Compilation)

Deep Purple, along with Black Sabbath can be credit to be among the first bands to introduce a sound that’s now called HARD ROCK. Progressive rock, with patent guitar sounds, riffs that will become eternal, lyrics about fast cars and knights and warriors and demons and space, wow you must listen to this album.The band has gone through several line-up changes, but this album features songs from two of their best lineups – Mark 2 with Ian Gillan on Vocals and Mark 3 with David Coverdale on vocals. Each track is a gem, listen to all!!! (Great albums include Black Night, Machine Head and the latest Bananas) 

 Led Zeppelin - IV

15. Led Zeppelin – IV

Then God said “Let There Be Heavy Metal!!!” and lo and behold Led Zeppelin was formed in 1968. Out of the remains of the highly acclaimed Yardbirds (which featured Eric Clapton in their earlier lineup), and resurrected by lead guitarist Jimmy Page, Led Zeppelin would become the first band to combine the forces of blues with distortion guitar; a genre that would soon be defined as ‘Heavy Metal’. Radically titled with 4 Symbols, this album contains the legendary immortal eternal classics like Stairway to Heaven, Black Dog, Rock n’ Roll and the amazing Misty Mountain Hop.(Each and every album they have recorded are classics in their own, so you can listen to them all – Led Zeppelin 1, 2, 3, 4, House of the Holy, Physical Graffiti, Presence, In Through the Outdoor and Coda) 

Iron Maiden - Somewhere In Time 

16. Iron Maiden – Somewhere In Time

Iron Maiden gave the term Heavy Metal its true meaning right from the word go. With twin leads by Dave Murray and Adrian Smith and piercing strong operatic vocals of Bruce Dickinson, the galloping bass and compositions of Steve Harris and the gripping drums of Nicko McBrain, Iron Maiden is any budding heavy metal band’s dream line-up Somewhere in Time is a great album to start off with, including great tracks like Caught Somewhere in Time, Wasted Years and Heaven Can Wait. (All their albums are outright classics including Number of the Beast, Powerslave, Piece of Mind and Seventh Son of a Seventh Son)  

Van Halen - MCMLXXXIV 

17. Van Halen – MCMLXXXIV (1984)

Yes, the awesome lead guitar played in Michael Jackson’s classic song Beat It was by this super– guitarist called Eddie Van Halen. With his band, Eddie Van Halen redefined how to play the electric guitar with his self– taught techniques of tapping, hammer– ons, pull– offs and incredible sound effects. 1984 is perhaps the band’s best recorded album ever and it was their last fling with fellow vocalist David Lee Roth. If you’ve seen the flick Back to the Future, Michael J, Fox uses this album beginning to frighten his father (in the past) with UFO sounds. That apart, songs like Jump, Panama, I’ll Wait and Hot for Teacher are fresh and demand repeated listening.(Must-hear albums include : Van Halen 1, Women and Children First, 5150 and For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge) 

Ozzy Osbourne - The Ozzman Cometh 

18. Ozzy Osbourne – The Ozzman Cometh (Compilation)

This is an ideal compilation to introduce you to the Prince of Darkness Mr. Ozzy Osbourne. It features a few tracks of his earlier band Black Sabbath as well. Paranoid, War Pigs, Crazy Train, Mr. Crawley, Bark At The Moon, Mama I’m Coming Home, No More Tears, the list is endless.(Recommended albums: Blizzard of Oz, Diary of a Madman, Bark at the Moon, Tribute to Randy Rhoads) 

Judas Priest - Painkiller 

19. Judas Priest – Pain Killer

If you want to experience sheer power of dual lead guitars, double bass drums, screeching vocals, and shredding bass lines, Pain Killer is ‘The Album’. Suddenly out of nowhere, arrived a new revitalized Judas Priest, with new sound, new style and surprisingly the same old lineup. Songs like the title track Pain Killer, Night Crawler, Touch of Evil and Metal Meltdown, are the highlights of the album.(Other albums I like are: Ram it Down, Hell Bent for Leather, Stained Class, Sad Wings of Destiny, British Steel, Point of Entry and Screaming for Vengeance) 

Metallica - Metallica 

20. Metallica – Metallica

This was a ground breaking album with great sound engineering & new low sounds never heard before. A must have album to complete this list, this album includes classics like Enter Sandman, Sad But True, The Unforgiven, Nothing Else Matters and Wherever I May Roam.(Other albums worth a hearing are Kill ‘Em All, Ride the Lightning, Master of Puppets and …And Justice for All) 

Nirvana - Nevermind 

21. Nirvana – Nevermind

When we speak of Alternative Rock, Nirvana has a huge, huge fan following and after Kurt Cobain’s shocking suicide the band’s music became more popular. Just listen to the album, maybe you’ll like it. Though the roots of alternative music date back to REM and the likes, the credit of making it a popular mainstream form of music goes to Nirvana. 

Pearl Jam - Ten 

22. Pearl Jam – Ten

Pearl Jam became one of America’s most popular bands in the nineties with this album. Ten is easily one of the best alternative albums ever recorded and can be credited amongst the primary albums that made the Grunge & Alternative genre more popular. Ironically however the success of Nirvana’s Nevermind actually increased the records sales for this album and eventually Ten outsold Nevermind! 

That’s it for now to kick start your collection.You can continue hereon on your own research on this beautiful subject. Some acts recommended are Rolling Stones, The Who, Cream, Uriah Heep, Yes, Emerson Lake & Palmer, T-Rex, Supertramp, Frank Zappa, Steely Dan, Velvet Underground, Black Sabbath, Grateful Dead, Credence Clearwater Revival, Jimi Hendrix, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Queen, Rush, Steely Dan, Traffic, Whitesnake, Rainbow, AC/DC, Grateful Dead, and a thousand more. The list is endless… Long Live Rock n’ Roll!!! 

Iron Maiden’s Somewhere Back In Time Tour, February 1, 2008 – MMRDA, Mumbai – India


We greeted Lauren Harris and her band, and then of course our very own Parikrama were cheered too. But then we all knew whey we were there, so though we made ourselves available much ahead in time, we were waiting for “Somewhere Back In Time”; frankly, our minds were in an “excuse us please” mode till around 7:45pm.That was precisely when Bruce and his Army – Iron Maiden declared war on stage with the opening riff of Aces High. Mr. Dickinson of course was not visible on stage through the entire intro music, and then like a flash of lightning and a jump that was higher than any basketball player alive, he sprang out with the line “There goes the siren…..!!!!!!” 

Alright, now first things first,

The Set: 

  1. Aces High
  2. 2 Minutes To Midnight
  3. Revelations
  4. The Trooper
  5. Wasted Years
  6. The Number Of The Beast
  7. Run To The Hills
  8. The Rime Of The Ancient Mariner (Can you believe they played this FULL ???)
  9. Powerslave
  10. Heaven Can Wait
  11. Can I Play With Madness?
  12. Fear Of The Dark
  13. Iron Maiden
  14. Moonchild
  15. Clairvoyant
  16. Hallowed Be Thy Name

 So what’s missing there????Nothing practically… It was like a Best of Iron Maiden CD being blasted live, except the enduring Somewhere In Time, the symphonic Seventh Son and the soaring personal favourite Flight Of Icarus. We actually waited for a while after Hallowed, thinking they’ll come back for an encore with Caught Somewhere In Time, but that didn’t happen, wonder why… 

Show Highlights: 

With an intro like Aces High, the band had already set a bar so high that one could only imagine if it would ever get better than that… but that’s Iron Maiden for you, the show only kept getting better and better from there. The energy levels were so high and so well maintained throughout, that one could only imagine what keeps them going at 50+. Of course I got a chance to hang out with the band at a post show dinner where I realized that these blokes don’t drink nor smoke. Perhaps there lies the key… Now apart from the great teamwork which made all songs sound like CD perfect (it almost seemed like they were purposely improvising & deviating from the original song just to tell us that there was no minus-ones!!!), each member had his own agenda on stage. 

Let’s start with the left-flanked Janick Gers; everyone plays the guitar – but this gentleman can also play ‘with’ the guitar. I have never seen anyone play ‘with’ the guitar as much as Janick did yesterday. Of course we’ve seen Hendrix, and yeah Pete Townsend and the rogues throw the guitar around, and we all know how Steve Vai can make love to the guitar on stage, but man this was something else!!!  He was swaying it wildly, throwing it up in the air, grounding it and yeah I forgot to mention… all this was while he was also playing it!!!! 

Nicko McBrain’s agenda was very clear, he was the human metronome that day and didn’t budge one split beat! His drums kept him covered throughout and all we could see was his angled profile on the screens from an upward-facing camera under the drums. He also had a cute little ‘Eddie’ atop his bass drum. The tight-as-a-cd sound credit goes totally to him. 

Adrian Smith as usual stood out during his solos and was using a Gibson SG for a couple of songs apart from the regular Fender Stratocasters. He changed a lot of his regular leads and improvised a lot within his space and yet had his trademark bluesy playing written all over.

Dave Murray – now what can you say about this man! (Before I go ahead with this, I must tell you he is the best cool / warm person combo you will ever meet. Cool headed and warm hearted! I spent almost an hour at the post show party, just chatting with him; this was when he handed me his personal pick!) Murray with his Fenders set the stage on fire with his blazing solos that cut through the sounds like a sharp knife running over water.

Bruce Dickinson’s vocal prowess, stage antics, athleticism, and timing were just the same as one could see in the earliest of their live shows from the 80s. His swaying hand gestures and crowd screamers were also as fresh as ever. One could not help but notice the kick he got from repeatedly stating “Scream For Me Mumbai!”  

Steve Harris and his crystal clear galloping bass lines were the highlight of the evening, It was a high for any bass player to actually hear the bass so clear in the PA system!!! He was running his usual 100-meter sprints on stage and it was amazing to hear the bass lines of 2 Minutes & Rime.  

Post Show Dinner:

Now this was the moment I was waiting for, I was among the privileged few who were invited for a brief post-show unwind session organized by EMI (thanks TS for that!!!). With the usual Western Express traffic making the 15-minute distance from Bandra to Juhu into a one hour crawl, I was dying in that stupid auto… then finally I reached only to find that the auto dude didn’t have change at all and neither did I, (trust me Murphy is alive and kicking) but then that day belonged to me, so nothing could stop me, thanks to dear ol’ James I cleared the auto fare and rushed in. The venue was the cozy Family Lounge at Marriot and thankfully I was amongst the few who had come in, the band was yet to arrive. First up were Steve & Janick, followed shortly by Murray, a little later Nicko turned up & we had to wait for a really long time for Smith and last was Dickinson. What a sight!!! To see these wild warriors on stage become chilled out gentlemen, easy going lovely people signing each and every autograph, posing for each and every picture and chatting with anyone who walked up to them!!! Here I must mention a very special thanks to Dave Murray & Janick Gers for talking to my dearest pal Sarosh on my phone. Sarosh, who can be considered one of the greatest Iron Maiden fans in India, had to miss this show because of a prior commitment as a guitarist for Shaan’s live gig in Vizag!!!

I’ll also post the pics but for now this should work fine as a cool post for Maiden Fans!!!! 



One of the finest Bass players in India, Tony Vaz is no more.

He passed away on 29th June 2007. May his soul rest in peace…

A favourite of RD Burman (who saw him play in a hotel once and then never composed any songs without him), Bappi Lahiri and a host of other music directors including Vishal Bahrdwaj who used him for the film Maachis.

Tony Vaz  was suffering from severe diabetes and after a paralytic attack forced him out of the circuit, his last days in bed were sadly miserable with no help from any of his friends or relatives.

This was an article published in The Times Of India  on 4th September 2003.
I always respected Vishal Bhardwaj as a musician; after reading this article, I respect him more for the person he is.

Some of Tony Vaz’s cool bass lines:

1. Tu Tu Hai Wohi – Ye Wada Raha
2. Jaane Do Na – Sagar
3. Tujhse Haseen Dekha Na – Harjaee
4. Pyar Hame Kis Mod Pe – Satte pe Satta
5. Mera Kuch Saman – Izazat
6. Silk Hawa Choo Gayi – Libaas
8. Tujhse Naraj Nahi Zindagi – Masoom
9. Aisa Sama Na Hota – Zameen Aasman
10. O Babua – Sadma
11. Mere Khwaab Me Jo Aaye – DDLJ
12. Tumse Milke – Parinda
13. Pyar Karne Wale – Shaan

… there a thousand more gems like this.

Tony Vaz is not there anymore, but whenever you are listening to a classic from the 70s, 80s and 90s and hear distinct bass lines, chances are that he is standing right besides you and enjoying the song with you!


Photo Courtesy: Manish Kulkarni – Ace Bassist and student of Tony Vaz Sir

Saturday, March 17, 2007, 6:30 am – I am already awake much before the alarm goes off; the mission today is simple but pretty much different from the clockwork agenda. (No, this has nothing to do with the India-Bangladesh skirmish; we all expect that India will wash them out anyway…) This is something bigger… The biggest concert by one the biggest rock bands of all times, this is IRON MAIDEN rocking Bangalore! I get up, get ready and as soon as my buddy Rajesh arrives, we head down to our very own Chhatrapati Shivaji Domestic Airport to catch our flight to the City of Rock, Bangalore…

As usual, “Why not Mumbai?” is the frustrating question that we ask ourselves whenever we hear of concerts in Bangalore, and we know the standard list of answers and we know the solution too, someday maybe…?  

Saturday, March 17, 2007, 11:00 am – We land in Bangalore and head to Jatin’s place, a nice and cozy home in a quiet area called Cox Town (I had met up with my school friend Jatin over some beer where amongst other things he suggested that we put up at his place in Bangalore).

Saturday, March 17, 2007, 6:00 pm – After a much needed afternoon siesta, we head to the Palace Grounds. The guest band Parikrama (the lucky ones eh?) is performing and the crowd is gathering. The next performance is by rock vocalist Lauren Harris, the daughter of Steve Harris. The guitarist is monotonous but pretty good with what he is doing. The vocals, well… better left unsaid. It’s getting darker and the crowds are still pouring in. We park ourselves at a place near the centre of the ground to the left of the sound console. The view looks good and the sound too is full.

The crowd as told by the press next day was around 45000!!!! 

Saturday, March 17, 2007, 8:05 pm – Its dark, the lights come on, the Palace Ground is packed. The fans are ready for what they came here for… IRON MAIDEN is on stage and with a brief intro music followed by the intro riff of A Different World (also the opening song in the latest album A Matter Of Life & Death) the band has set fire to the stage. All of a sudden the crowd goes mad, there is a huge rush, pushes from here and there and before we know what hit us, the good view of the stage we had, is completely gone! All we can see is a sea of heads and raised hands in front of us! There is nothing that we can do about this, so we stand and we hear and we try to look at the stage. I am 5’11” and I somehow get to see the band but Rajesh and I guess another 80% of the crowd just cannot see anything except the back of the guy standing in front of them. 


This was a typical Iron Maiden show pretty much similar to the DVDs we’ve seen before. Steve Harris running around the stage with his galloping bass lines following him, Bruce Dickinson jumping around while also screaming in perfect pitch, Dave Murray in a corner firing away to glory, Janick Gers bang on target with his leads, Adrian Smith with his guitar swirling antics and Nico McBrain blasting away on the drums. Bruce was on a different high and with what he mentioned between the songs, it was clear that he too did not expect such a mad fan following in India. Amongst other antics he pulled, he climbed all the way up on one of the light pillars and descended sliding down the pole like a fireman on a rescue mission. Of course the band’s core member Eddie was also present. He made his first appearance on a tank and then also walked the stage. The crowd chanting the entire song including the riffs of Fear Of The Dark was the highpoint of the show.

The Set List: 

  1. A Different World (from A Matter Of Life And Death)
  2. These Colours Don’t Run (from A Matter Of Life And Death)
  3. Brighter Than A Thousand Suns (from A Matter Of Life And Death)
  4. Wrathchild (from Killers)
  5. The Trooper (from Piece Of Mind)
  6. The Reincarnation Of Benjamin Breeg (from A Matter Of Life And Death)
  7. For The Greater Good Of God (from A Matter Of Life And Death)
  8. The Number Of The Beast (from The Number Of The Beast)
  9. Fear Of The Dark (from Fear Of The Dark)
  10. Run To The Hills (The Number Of The Beast)
  11.  Iron Maiden (from Iron Maiden)
  12.  2 Minutes To Midnight (from Powerslave)
  13.  The Evil That Men Do (from 7th Son Of A 7th Son)
  14.  Hallowed Be Thy Name (from The Number Of The Beast)

  Some quotes from Bruce:

“I’ve been told that it is not just Bangalore but our fans have come from all parts of India and we also have some from Nepal” 

“Some of our fans here have waited 17 years for this, and I promise that you won’t have to wait for 17 months till we come here again” 

“There was this fan on a bike who saw our car on the road, he jumped off the bike and came down to our car and screamed that he would be right up in front centre at the show. Where is he? Aaah there he is!!! Keep rocking guys!” 

“This is the first time since 1984 in Poland we have felt the energy of the crowd. We are looking forward to coming back next year….maybe Mumbai”  


Apart from the live stage energy, one thing very surprising was that every song they played was note-to-note perfect as one would hear on a CD. No individual solos by any of them nor did we see any breakaway live jams at all. The only thing we heard different was a slight change in the groove of Hallowed Be Thy Name.  I am extremely upset at the event organizers for:

  1. Not anticipating this kind of a crowd
  2. They could have easily had 2 shows in India
  3. The least they could have done is set the stage a bit higher
  4. The sound was not up to the mark at all. Roger would have done a 1000 time better job than that stupid Reynolds team.

So all said and done, while I must thank Iron Maiden for making it to India, I must also mention that most of us have forcefully satisfied ourselves by claiming to have enjoyed the show just by the fact that “we were there!!!” but the feeling deep inside is that we would have really loved it if we could see the band live rather than stand and hear them live.  

Bottom Line: The question that I have yet to answer is “Was I there?”


At this point I also want to share with you some of the other concerts that I have attended and the kind of “luck” that I have had… 

April 7, 1995 – The Deep Purple sound check in Andheri Sports Complex, where we are among the 50-odd people present right in front of the stage, watching them perform live and then we (members of my band Pythagoras & The Right Angles) actually ended up chatting, drinking Heineken and clicking photographs with the band post sound check. Sarosh (our guitarist) also accompanied Steve Morse to the loo! How did we do it? Wizcraft, the event company was looking for volunteers and there we were. 

August 9, 2001 – The Scorpions concert in Palace Grounds, Bangalore where we were inside the stage enclosure through out the show and the highlight was of course Mr. Matthias Jabs personally handing me his pick!!! I must also quickly mention here that as per me, this was the best rock concert that India ever saw. 


Europe & Nazareth – Front Row

Robert Plant & Jimmy Page at the Channel V Awards – Front Row

Bryan Adams – Front Row

Jethro Tull – Front Row

Jeremy Spencer – VIP Enclosure

Roger Waters (Bangalore) – All Access

Roger Waters (Mumbai) – VIP Enclosure

Bon Jovi – Boring Show, but then again Front Row

Trilok Gurtu – Stage Enclosure

Zawinul Syndicate – Stage Enclosure

Shakti with John McLaughlin – All Access

Jean Luc Ponty – Front Row

Mark Knopfler – Front Row

Paul Di’Anno (Pune) – All Access & dinner with band

Joe Satriani – All Access (I Also Met Him)

All the One Tree Festivals – All Access

…and many more I don’t recall at this point of time. 

God has been kind, and more so, friends, colleagues and people have been kind too…

I Was There!!! That’s Me Alright