Some mad last-minute air-ticket convolutions notwithstanding, TAAQ made it to IIT Delhi on the night of Friday, the 22nd of September, 2006. The piped voice on the Jet flight gargled that the ‘temperature outside was 35 degrees’, but the gargler was wrong – a sudden shower had decided to cool Dilli down for us.
Gluttons for punishment, Tony and I had signed on to judge the rock competition, slated to stretch through the night. Strangely enough, Nate (our new sax player – yes, our new sax player!) enthusiastically decided to join us. We piled into our special Tata Indica (after finding the dude with the sign that said “Mr. Thermal And Quarter from Chennai”), captained by a Mr. Manish. The rest of the band folk would follow in two other gaadis. Now, this particular Indica was clearly one of those ‘less car per car’ versions, the company somehow having forgotten to include minor details like First Gear, seat belts and so on. Some laborious chugging, many irate honks, and a couple of wrong turns later, we tootle into the IIT campus, where we were contacted, taken to our room in the guest house for a quick howza, and promptly whisked off to the auditorium for the big judging. Many hours later, rapidly approaching catatonia, we shambled out after proclaiming our verdict. What happened inside is another story…
While some parts of the TAAQ family buzzed off to Agra to take in the usual tourist bits, Tony, Chandy, and I chose some shut-eye. Everyone came together again for the most amazing dinner ever, at this place called Karim’s. The best sheek I have ever eaten. Ever.
Soundcheck, some of the usual issues. Drum kit not quite happening, but we soldier on. Tony, Rzu and me are wireless! New AKG system, didn’t mess with the sound as much as I remember the old Shure UHF doing. Nifty little gadget – no beltpack, just a little blob with a tiny aerial, attached to the jack.
And after the competition finals, judged by Chandy and Nate (quite the cutlet, isn’t he?) we get on and start with Look At Me. Goes down well, Nate takes a smoking solo, and we’re off… Shine On You.. was good as well. Galacktiqua, Bend, Paper – quite the punchy set list. Words and Pictures was the one moody song, but that got quite a good response too. Our mangled version of Wonderwall had Nate taking another super little solo. Wrapped up with Motorbyckle this time, no Hoedown. Good gig. The sections of the audience that wanted the heavier stuff left, but everyone that stayed seemed to be having a blast.
First gig with our new sound. And I think it’s working. It’s like a sound I’ve always heard in my head..