The crowd waiting in anticipation for Bassbaba Sumon was poignantly reflected in the opening lines of the song:
"Taakiye thaka shunno drishti te
Deyaal er oparthib alor bhire" - Aushomapto
Awaiting the arrival of the coolest bassist in town, they stared into the blackness of a dark blue illuminated backdrop.
Some people had waited nine months for this moment, while others waited five years – Aurthohin had not performed for four years after Sumon got in an accident, their comeback show was in December of last year.
Thereafter, the 'Adbhut Chele' (Sumon) dawned upon the stage to what was possibly the loudest applause of the evening.
The title of the show 'Headbangers Paradise' speaks for itself. Branded a heavy metal concert, the show was designed to be a haven for fans who like their music on the heavier side.
The up-and-coming local bands that handled the opening sets, like 'Encore', 'Plasmic Knock', and 'Savagery', relished the chance to share the stage with some of the biggest names in the business.
They delivered energetic performances and delivered a strong prologue – covering classics such as 'The Final Countdown', which made for a great sing along.
Things got a lot heavier as Trainwreck, Mechanix and Powersurge took to the stage.
Trainwreck plays pure death metal. Once they start performing, you just know this band was made to live and die on the stage, in front of adoring fans.
'Dhruboshor' by Mechanix had audiences headbanging to the riffs! This song is loved by their fans, who did the majority of the heavy lifting, rather than the vocalist.
A sizable portion of the audience had not recently seen Powersurge perform live. Personally, I've always believed that their most well-known song, 'Mitther Agrashon', has inspired us Bangladeshi metalheads in a similar way to how Metallica's timeless classic 'Master of Puppets' affected the rest of the world.
Vocalist Jamshed Chowdhury, whose presence on stage matches a demon who ascended from hell, asked the crowd to mosh pit themselves into oblivion, which they were happy to oblige. That's heavy metal for you.
The excitement for the stalwarts grew as the evening progressed. A significant section of the audience just entered to experience the likes of Aurthohin, Artcell, and Nagarbaul James.
When Artcell got up on stage, even if it was only for just four songs, it was quality over quantity. By the time they were done, they had the audience in a trance.
It's not everyday that you find a crowd of thousands singing along for ten straight minutes without fail. That's the magic when Artcell performs 'Oniket Prantor' – arguably their greatest ever track.
As soon as the clock hit 10 PM, the pièce de résistance, the crème de la crème, the 'Guru', James took to the stage and what followed was pure bliss. You could tell that the older generation in the audience, who may have not known the earlier bands as well as Nagarbaul, came to their elements as James performed.
Witnessing the entire audience sing along to each and every song you perform must be one of the most rewarding and enjoyable experiences for an artist. James brought in a whole plethora of versatility in his setlist. He had songs of romance, of mischief, of agony and so on. For the fans, it was unadulterated joy.
The audience also sang Sumon's lines in total unison, leaving Bassbaba to act as the chief conductor, as if he were in charge of an orchestra. Only this time, the 'orchestra' was not an ensemble of musicians but rather the filled-to-the-gills crowd.
Ironically, the most emotional part of the heavy metal performance was when Bassbaba Sumon – a bassist with dynamic abilities, dexterity, and virtuosity that even his lead guitarist Shishir would envy – swapped his bass for an electric guitar with a clean tone and performed 'Jodi Konodin' for the first time in his career.
Sumon subsequently remarked, "This is possibly the first time in history when a band performed a track for the first time in front of a live audience, but the audience knew every single word of it. It was made possible by you all. I'm grateful."