May 6, 2012

Firehouse burns down Dimapur Stadium

Written by Al Ngullie

No, not real fire. Since 1990, the foursome isn’t known to wash down burning issues. When they ignite the heat, an eardrum or two is destined to be scourged. May 4’s evening in Dimapur District Sports Complex was a good example of how real-time rockers in the like of American hard rockers Firehouse do their stuff – loud, heavy, extremely tight, good music all the way to leave the amps smoking and charred.

Firehouse pummeled the stadium hit after hit till the poor stadium was sweating.  After 7 years of the first failed date with Nagaland, Firehouse finally got to take her out. And the fans were out in strength to listen to a band whose songs they have had to request All India Radio Kohima at least once to play in dedication to a beloved. Firehouse didn’t disappoint – it was live coals all the way on Friday evening as the thousands rejoiced.
Better Never than Late?

Firehouse’s concert started after the customary observance of the age-old rich Naga cultural tradition of delay. By 6PM, the fanatics had already begun gathering. Women led from the front – a group of confident mothers and their teenage children marched in to take control of the front pit. Rock lovers of all species – including Dimapur’s inimitable males in boxers and vests, and curvy females of the species – marched in eagerly.

Dimapur rock bands, Avancer and Clueless Attention, were Firehouse’s opening acts.  Sadly, they could not bring in the matchsticks due to technical reasons – a source said they had to be cut as there was only a single track console. Firehouse had already pre-set the system and the concert’s organizers feared the worst if the system kept changing for individual bands. Thankfully, the crowd didn’t mind.

That isn’t to say that the hotheads were taking kindly to the delay – you could hear colorful Nagamese sentences that had no commas or full-stops but punctuated by blistering ‘F’ words. An announcer appealed for peace and reconciliation – she requested the fans to be decent with the tacit hint that the American stars are guests and ought to be shown respect. “Dimapur, promise that you will be well behaved!” she shouted. The poor wildlife in the stadium responded “Yes!” Then she added: ‘Good, please be patient as the band has not arrived yet.’ Oops. Wrong move. More ‘F’ words exploded from the pack.

Then, just when the crowd began readying to fire, front man CJ Snare leapt in. You could hear the joyful roar all the way from Dzukou Valley. Never in the history of the volatile Nagas has good manners been restored in mere seconds. The Billboards scorcher ‘Hold Your Fire’ (Hold Your Fire, 1992) exploded. Thousands of hands went up and lungs worked overtime. CJ Snare, Allen McKenzie, Michael Foster and Bill Leverty on stage even inspired dignity of labor in the gathered Naga throng – they started engaging in heavy construction activities such a building ‘pyramids’ and towers by climbing on each other.

Heavy, strong, loud and masculine, Firehouse had no time to water down the heat – good noise in the form of the single ‘Shake & Tumble’ (Firehouse, 1990) slammed down hard as did the #58 hit ‘All She Wrote’ (Firehouse, 1990). Some even danced. As the band played ‘You’re my Religion’ (Good Acoustics, 1996) men could be seen dancing – yes, hips and all – in eternal worship of their girlfriends perhaps.

Even Axemen Sing

Guitar hero Bill Leverty then took to the mic on ‘Holding on’ (Prime Time, 2003). For a people that haven’t traveled that much from the classics, the song didn’t attract many sing-alongs from the tower builders. That was before ‘When I look into your Eyes’ (Hold Your Fire, 1990), one of Firehouse’s biggest hits. The US Charts #8 had half of the stadium calling up their beloved, coochie-cooie darlings and holding up their cellphones so that their babykins and coo-coos would also listen. One could almost suspect that the men were blinking back tears as CJ Snare expounded the message of eternal love. But like an unidentified wise man once said ‘love is naughty,’ America’s most-played wedding song was followed by love of the non-vegetarian kind – the band started ‘Sleeping with you’ (from Hold Your Fire). Naughty, naughty Dimapur.

More followed: ‘Overnight Sensation’ (from Firehouse) and another ‘Here for you’ (from ‘3’). The stadium was the lead vocalist on ‘Here for you’ (yes, the same song you still hear in your village). And would you believe that the stadium starting making calls again to its darling somewhere? Yes, this time Firehouse brought in its #5 smash hit ‘Love of a lifetime.’ By the time ‘I live my life for you’ (from the album ‘3’) came, many had already found a lifetime love affair with Firehouse.

(All Photographs: Caisii Mao ©2012 All Rights Reserved © Al Ngullie Nagaland Music)
News Feature published on May 4, 2012, The Morung Express


  1. Al, I missed it :(( Really wanted to be there. Was working late.. But i'm happy it went well. thanks for update. feels as though i was present there :)

    1. Hi Angla, you can go make it up next time when another big band plays Nagaland, alright :)

  2. Hey Al, I'm part of a website, NH7 which is looking to launch a feature on the music scene from the North East. We'd love to get your input and experience with the scene. If you can please contact me at

    1. Thank you, Uday. I am unsure what demand to the scene my contribution would meet. Nonetheless, I'll be glad to be a part of the music experience you envision.

  3. I missed it. My fave band of all times and i missed it. I would have made it if it wasn't postponed. Grew up listening to them... My mom bought me "Hold your fire" and "3" when i was still in the 4th grade. I can't believe i missed a chance of a lifetime. I hope someday, fate would at least give me a second chance. :) Thank u Al for the updates.

  4. hi!Al thanks for the lively comments.You took me almost there for a moment.Though am writing you lately hope its not too late to know what i love to hear.