Pakistani Sufi rock band Junoon will take to the Expo 2020 Dubai stage on February 18 as they perform live at the DEC Arena, which saw fans throng at the venue to catch Coldplay in concert earlier this week.
The trio, led by founder Salman Ahmad, lead vocalist Ali Azmat and bassist Brian O’Connell, will return to city after their November 2019 gig where they performed to a sellout crowd at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Stadium.
Having found a foothold in the mid-90s amid Pakistan’s burgeoning pop industry, Junoon’s music was an eclectic mixture of rock, qawwali-infused vocals and a dash of Punjabi folk. The diversity in the band’s music saw the trio carve a niche for themselves across Southeast Asia, performing to sold-out venues and reaching the pinnacles of success until the band called it quits in 2005 to pursue individual interests.
But in 2018, they embarked on a highly-anticipated comeback trail after a 13-year hiatus that many loyalists, who call themselves ‘Junoonis’, hope was the start of a new legacy for the band. More than three years into the reunion and Junoon appears to be still going strong.
In a chat with Gulf News right after Junoon reunited in 2018, Ahmad had revealed what ultimately banded them together once again. “I’ve lost in my life some very dear friends at a young age. Great musicians… I knew them from the age of 19; we thought we would grow old together and my friend Juniad Jamshed [former lead singer of Pakistani pop group Vital Signs] died in an air crash [in 2016] and that was a wake-up call for me,” Ahmad revealed at the time. “I called up Ali and said we love doing music and there’s no better way of going forward than by playing music.”
In 2019, Azmat also spoke to Gulf News, talking about their comeback trail, saying: “It’s much better than we hoped for; greater than anticipated. At the last concert in Dubai, the audience was crying, which made me cry. So much love [has been] exhibited by the fans. You can’t help but be taken over by it.”
If you are a fan or a ‘Junooni’ at heart, then brush up on your playlist with tracks such as ‘Sayonee’, ‘Khudi’, ‘Bulleya’, ‘Yaar Bina’ and head over to Expo 2020 Dubai on Friday to catch them live. Expo tickets are priced at Dh50 and are available online. The concert is free to attend for ticket holders.