The De Lanerolle Brothers: Live in action

  • Can’t Wait for Christmas

The pandemic, with all the anxiety, death, and despair it brought along, simply sucked all the small pleasures of life. But, with Sri Lanka returning to normalcy, or the “new normal”, as we call it, the spirit of Christmas has stirred up and just two days ago, Rohan and Ishan – the De Lanerolle Brothers – were able to take the stage after a year of living in lockdowns.

Of course, the De Lanerolles need no introduction; preceded by their reputation and their concerts that are revered amongst young and old alike, they have revolutionised the genre and established their name.

Brunch had the pleasure to witness one of their concerts live, at Hilton Colombo, under the theme “Can’t Wait for Christmas” on 30 November.

Unfortunately, as the concert began, the duo faced some technical difficulties, but had the situation handled in almost no time. Rohan, taking the stage, mentioned that this was the first time in 10 years that they had to delay a concert. We too, were quite impressed at the punctuality of it all – an hour-long concert that stuck to the agenda – which is not something us Sri Lankans are used to, as the typical mindset is that no event here ever begins on time.

Warming up the audience, the two sung some of their usual hits; undoubtedly, to get the feel of being back on stage in front of a live audience again – a feeling, Rohan told us, that they sorely missed.

The two took a few seconds before they began singing to voice this as well, reminding their audience – all adorned in various shades of red, adhering to the Christmas-themed dress code – that they were missed as much as the audience missed them.

As their first few numbers were performed, the lady next to me, buzzing with excitement, leaned in and whispered that I was in for an experience of a lifetime. Reading the room, we could tell their fans too were overjoyed to be there in person, finally watching their favourite musicians perform after a year long hiatus.

Soon, they sparked the flame of Christmas and went into a few beautiful renditions of carols we all know and love. The duo did the theme of “Can’t Wait for Christmas” justice as they had their audience all feeling the spirit of Christmas; we too, felt warm and tingly and simply could not wait for Christmas!

The first few notes of Santa Claus is Coming to Town, cue Santa’s entrance on stage. Walking in from the side of the ramp, doing a little jig, the audience watched on in high spirits as Rohan and Ishan welcomed Santa on stage to “discuss who’s been naughty and nice”.

This was around the time the two encouraged the audience to sing along with them to everyone’s favourite carols, which they did enthusiastically. We, too, found ourselves tapping our feet to the beat of the music and singing along. Right after, the duo wrapped up their performance and went on to thank the audience for all their support over the years.

Sharing a few words with Brunch, Rohan emphasised how happy he was with the concert and their seamless performance.

To all those who think the De Lanerolle Brothers cater to a mature audience, we can assure you that is not the case. There were a few youth in the audience, including ourselves, of course, that seemed to be having a blast. The two sure know how to put on an enthralling performance and keep the audience engaged at all times – even us, with our generally short attention span – found ourselves enraptured by their performance. We suppose that is what puts them on the top of the list of Sri Lankan musicians.

We must also make note of how strictly, and impressively, Hilton Colombo adhered to the health and safety regulations. The seating arrangement was properly socially distanced – it didn’t make a very pretty picture, nor was the whole stage visible from the back, but Rohan and Ishan ensured to move around on stage to give everyone in the audience a chance to see them properly so no one felt they were missing out. The staff at Hilton also walked around during the concert, prompting those with their masks off to kindly keep them on properly. Hats off to them for doing their part to prevent the spread of the virus.

The reception

Brunch also had a quick chat with a few members of the audience to see what they had to say about their experience.

Binuri Nanayakkara shared that this being her first time to the De Lanerolle Brothers’ concert, she was blown away by their voices. “Even through these difficult times with Covid-19, they brought Christmas cheer in a responsible yet fun manner. Coupled with Hilton’s hospitality, we had a great time!” she added.

Akasha Abeyrathne too, shared similar sentiments. She told us: “It was a spectacular event, as always. Most definitely the best way to start off the season.” Akasha found their singing to be absolutely mind-blowing and had a great time. She added that, from start to finish of the show, everyone had smiles on their faces, and the brothers really brought colour into a monotonous period of time.