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Fans of the rockers Moksha will relive their heydays at a concert this weekend

Leon Ireland. Two words that can get even the most aggressive headbanger get a little misty-eyed.
If you never caught him singing with his band Moksha in concert — this should inspire a fitting description. He was magic. So much so, that when Iron Maiden performed their first concert in India, the band’s frontman Bruce Dickinson dedicated the song Wrathchild to Leon.
This Sunday (December 18) will make it 10 years since Ireland passed away. He was 34. And remembering the voice of Moksha, the band is reuniting for a tribute show. What makes this occasion even more special for fans is a release of the last album that Moksha was working on over a decade ago, which will finally be available. “These are songs that Leon wrote, like Walk Before You Crawl and a few others, which have been performed on stage, but never been released. There’s even one about his angst against then President Bush, called Mr President.” Ironic about the timing, on this one.
With friends and family flying down from as far as his hometown Kharagpur, and Nigeria, the show promises to be a packed evening of memories and song. Rehearsals have no doubt been spent reminiscing many a conversation with Leon by their frequently visited tea shop on 18th Main Road in Anna Nagar, to the night the police shut down one of their louder jam sessions, and then some. “My first memory of Leon was actually while judging a competition at Madras Christian College,” recalls band mate Timmy Madhukar. “He came out and started singing Sweet Child O’ Mine, and you just knew — this guy’s got it.”
That he did. Expect the unexpected tear to roll down your cheek at this show, in the reverie of music and camaraderie. Also, expect a handful of covers from bands that we haven’t heard in ages like Mr Big, Van Halen, White Snake, Extreme, Metallica and, of course, Iron Maiden.

Christopher Stanley, who sang the track Halena in the 2016 Tamil film Iru Mugan, is possibly the youngest who will be sharing vocal duties at the show. “I never met Leon, but oddly enough, I have him to thank for introducing me to rock. I was in Class XI when I went to the YMCA Royapettah and saw a band called Moksha take the stage. I only realised it when I was asked to do this gig!” And thus, we’ve come full circle.
The tribute show is on December 18 at Bay 146, Savera Hotel, Radha Krishna Salai, 9 pm. Details: 28114700

—Sonali Shenoy


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