By Sonya Rehman
Tall, lean, bearded and with a mop of wavy, dark hair (and even darker eyes) – Babar Khan’s personality was infectious. The kind that was sensitive, welcoming and thoroughly charismatic. A true vocalist in every sense of the word – the timber of his voice would deliver Floyd covers with utmost precision, depth and passion.
Forming in 1994, ‘The Trip’ was one of Lahore’s most promising underground acts, Babar Khan being the band’s lead vocalist, along with band members Cecil Chaudhry, Waqas Khan and Yousaf Para.
‘The Trip’ had made its mark by performing brilliant Pink Floyd covers and releasing its debut album in the month of March, 1997, by the name of ‘Middle of nowhere’.
Since bands such as ‘Co-ven’, ‘Midnight madness’, ‘Mindriot’ and ‘The Trip’ itself had hardly any interaction, it was Babar’s initiative to have a collaborative ‘peace festival’ concert on the 20th of April, 1995 at the city’s most glorious of parks – the Bagh-e-Jinnah.
And now, ten long years later after Babar’s sudden demise (on the 1st of June in 1997), the pioneers of underground music came together to perform a tribute for a dear friend who had been lost. The tribute was held on the rooftop of St. Anthony’s High School – on exactly the same day (20th of April) as it was twelve years ago.
Lit by dia’s and with large pictures of Babar Khan as the stage’s backdrop, along with the school’s beautiful architectural milieu, the night’s sky hung heavy with tender nostalgia, a fond remembrance of Babar and the times long gone (accompanied by a tinge of longing).
The tribute – which was pulled off without any sponsorship – started off with an original recording of The Trip’s single ‘buried in the sand’ (whose video was shot in India) in Babar’s voice.
The acts which followed were Shahzad Hameed, Mindriot Co-ven, Entity (of Entity-Paradigm) and The Trip itself.
From covers to originals, swirls of smoke spiralled into the night’s sky as tunes of rock (both classic and psychedelic) and grunge were belted out by the diverse bunch of artistes present.
From Cecil Chaudhry, Ali Noor, Farhad Humayun, Salman Albert, Ahmed Butt, Waqar, Sikandar Mufti, Omran Shafique, Hamza Jafri, Sameer Ahmed, Shahzad Hameed, Farhan Albert and a plethora of others present to perform and/or in attendance (simply in unanimity and support) – the presence of the city’s best artistes, was overwhelming.
And ‘The Trip’, once on stage after the first few acts, kept the audience spellbound. With Cecil on lead guitars, Sikandar Mufti on drums, Farhan Albert on keyboards and Tauseef Dar on vocals, their Pink Floyd covers were electrifying. The Trip, it seemed had been re-born that night on the 20th of April, 2007.
It was almost as if one could feel Babar standing close by, with his mop of dark curls and even darker eyes – smiling his happy, unaffected and charming smile.
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