Entertainment

Chris Norman-less Smokie to rock Aizawl

Dave Chhakchhuak
Would the "new age" Smokie left with only one original member be strong enough to smoke you out of your home to go to the AR Ground? That too with Rs 500 for the cheapest ticket! However, if you feel like helping spastic children around you anyway, you can forget that the revived Smokie is a Chris Norman-less Smokie, that only original bassist and backing vocalist Terry Uttley is left in it.

Come November 24, Smokie will give you a hopefully big rock and roll treat at your favourite ground here in aid of Mizoram Spastic Society. The rock group which is currently touring Asia has cancelled its scheduled Sri Lanka concert in favour of spastic children in Mizoram. Organised by Jerry Inc, an Aizawl-based event management group, the Smokie Aizawl show is "brought to you" by Greyhound Finance, a business house, in aid of the spastic society.

"If not for the spastic society, the world famous Smokie would not have been invited here. We had to forget the cost for the cause. We have taken the risk with a hope that the spastic children would benefit at least to some extent," Greyhound MD Mapuia has said in a press conference here last week. Mapuia also pointed out that the group had reduced their fee in favour of the spastic children.
The spastic society has made a number of unsuccessful attempts to raise funds through world famous celebrities.

"We have invited Sylvester Stallone, whose son was also a spastic child, but in vain – others, all in vain. This time the Smokie is responding to our invitation, thanks to the Greyhound Finance for financing it," chairman of the society expressed. Smokie, the original Smokie, has been an all-time favourite band in Mizoram since the 70s, particularly for the charming voice of lead vocalist Chris Norman. A 40-year-old father and his 18-year-old son in Aizawl are equally touched by immortal numbers like Living Next Door To Alice (not the 'who-the-@#**-is-Alice' version), Mexican Girl, Stumblin' In.

In view of this, a "Smokie in Aizawl" would have been really a dream-come-true for fans. What seems to have troubled music fans here is the ticket prices - Rs 1000 and Rs 500 - for the "we-miss-you-Chris" concert. One headline of a music column of a widely read local newspaper went like this: "Too costly for watching Smokie's bassist."  

"While we can go to a concert of contemporary band like Michael Learns To Rock with as low as Rs 200 why not to a concert of a fading group?" asked one music columnist. Smokie will visit no other parts of India except for Aizawl. For outside Mizoram tickets will be available at the Mizoram Houses.                                                                                           (2006)