Karachi saw some Jazba-e-Junoon on Tuesday night as the iconic Sufi rock band returned to stage after 15 long years.
The original band members — frontman Ali Azmat, guitarist Salman Ahmed and bassist Brian O'Connell — reunited at the Moin Khan Academy and performed some of their most-loved songs. Hits like 'Sayonee', 'Azaadi', 'Neend Ati Nahi' and 'Sajna' made up the soundtrack to a truly nostalgic night.
Junoon also paid tribute to their "dear friend and fellow Junooni" Junaid Jamshed who "wanted our reunion for a long time". They performed their rendition of 'Dil Dil Pakistan'.
The concert was opened by Khumariyaan, Lyari Underground, Tamasha and Sound of Kolachi, who warmed up the crowd well enough for the chilly December night.
We talked to Junoon about the experience:
What did it feel like reuniting on stage after 15 years?
Salman Ahmed: When we decided to come back, we knew in our hearts that anything done with passion will be with similar kind of energy and how the audience responded to us was beyond our expectations.
Brian O'Connell: It was an incredible experience to get up on the stage once again, to be able to connect with thousands of people through music and this is what Junoon was and is about!
What would you say was the best part of being reunited? Did you guys have any fights?
Ali Azmat: I feel we have made Sufi-Rock more relevant to today’s generation and we hope that aspiring musicians and artists can take inspiration from us and our never dying passion to make music for our country.
Salman Ahmed: I don’t think much has changed when it comes to fighting. We are still as tight a team as we were and I think it's needless to say we still fight the same way.
How did you choose your setlist?
Brian O'Connell: Our biggest inspiration is Pakistan and we tried to keep the setlist as reflecting of that fact as possible, this will be our gift to our people.
Ali Azmat: Absolutely, the entire campaign of Sooper Junoon has been highlighting the passion of Pakistani people and our list has been set up the same way.
Brian O'Connell: We also thought of praying a tribute to our dear friend and artist Junaid Jamshed, who has not only been a great asset for the Pakistani music industry but was also a Junooni and wanted our reunion since a long time.
Brian, what was it like to return to Pakistan? What else do you plan to do on this return trip?
Brian O'Connell: Oh, the love I receive from my second home, Pakistan, is always overwhelming. When Sooper spoke to us about this concert, I was really excited to come back and meet my friends and perform for thousands of Pakistani fans. It has been even more phenomenal and humbling this time around!
After reuniting, do you feel like you should make more music together?
Salman Ahmed: It’s too early to say anything but looking the audience’s response at the concert, we just might think about it!
Ali Azmat: Yeah, I’d second that. Too early for us to make any promises but it may be on the cards!