by Tola Sarumi
Heartthrob Idris asked the crowd to give it up for the biggest artist in the world, one could almost feel the tired crowd perk up, ‘Is it Kanye West, is it Jay Z’?! Someone pulled out a Yoruba film style ‘Kabiyesi-Crown’ and placed it on a figure cloaked in a deep red damask, the robe came off, as did the crown, it was D’Banj. Sigh.
The overhyped Koko Concert that took place at the ‘still-under-construction’ site that is Eko At
lantic, promised much.
The erstwhile headliner of the Afro-pop scene, D’Banj had a lot to prove. His abrupt parting of ways with his Mo-Hits crew had his audience curious to see what he could deliver.
The Nigerian acts that preceded the foreign acts did the bare minimum, they performed songs the audience was familiar with but judging from the crowd’s reaction, they were content just dancing. The live stream got over the technical glitch the rendered Burna Boy’s performance silent, the (V)VIP stand collasped, however, thank God for the sub-compere, Basketmouth (Idris Elba was billed as he main host of the show), who did a good job of keeping the crowd distracted.
And the night kicked off from there. The main part of the show started with UK-born Nigerian artist, Tinnie Tempah, whose performance set the bar for the rest of the night.
He performed his songs on clear high quality instrumental tracks, which was a welcomed break from the previous artists who simply lip-synched over their hits. He engaged with the crowd, reminded them that he was one of them and at one point had the boys in the audience waving their t-shirts over their heads helicopter style, he danced, he ran and thanked the crowd.
Next up was D’Banj’s label mate, Pusha-T, an artist with barely any name recognition in Nigeria; he performed his guest spots on several singles, the crowd, as one tweet decribed: ‘looked at the guy like an election poster’.
Everyone knows the Nigerian concert audience is very hard to please, unless an artist is willing to expend huge amounts of energy to get them just like Tinnnie Tempah did or perform hits that they are very familiar with. Pusha exited the stage to a polite applause, no surprises there.
Idris Elba, the Hollywood heart throb, whose presence at the show prompted Lagos chics to buy fresh weaves and wear high heels to a beach concert in the hope that he’d make eye contact with them, made another appearance to introduce the ironically named Big Sean, also a GOOD music label mate. Sean told the crowd he brought his family to experience the ‘motherland’ and even though he lost his luggage, he was keen to put on a good show.
In his ill-advised leather combo, he proceeded to perform his features on songs the audience was clearly unfamiliar with, he re-rapped ‘Mercy Me’, brought out Pusha T again and the crowd was made to ‘swerve’ at least three times! Despite his repeated efforts to amp them up, the crowd was not entirely responsive. Perhaps it was fatigue, it was already 2am by the time Sean, who had since shucked his leather shirt, launched into his hit with Chris Brown, the aptly named, ‘My Last’.
Big Sean exited the stage, Heartthrob Idris came back on, he asked the crowd to give it up for the biggest artist in the world, one could almost feel the tired crowd perk up, ‘Is it Kanye West, is it Jay Z’?! Then there was some more commotion on the already over crowded stage. Someone pulled out a Yoruba film style ‘Kabiyesi-Crown’ and placed it on a figure cloaked in a deep red damask, the robe came off, as did the crown, it was D’Banj. Sigh.
If there was a roar when he revealed himself, resplendent in his shirtless glory, it was hard to hear. He launched into ‘Oyato’ his semi-hit pronouncing himself as a standout on the scene. What was however hard to understand was, the CD track was playing, as was a live band that sounded strangely amateurish. He then gave a long speech, asking the already tired crowd to show him some love before turning to VVIP section and apologizing for what one can only assume was the disorganised natured of the show. Unsatisfied, he turned to main body of the crowd, those who paid five & twenty thousand Naira respectively and asked them to ‘beg the (V)VIPs’! After this revealing episode, Naeto C came on, for a review of his performance, please see the second paragraph.
He then launched into a couple of his GOOD Music era songs, at it was that point that Gbolahan came into view.
#Gbolahan was a member of the crowd, whose body language seemed to reveal what the majority of the audience felt. He kept hands in his pockets as D’Banj performed his GOOD Music songs, shifting from one foot to the other. The hands came out as Davido was introduced and launched into his non-descript hits, he was familiar with these songs, he did a little jig from side to side. He cocked his head to the side in utter bemusement as D’Banj took Davido to the right of the stage because “the people wey pay money dey dat side” and with sweet irony, he announced, “ah won ti lo le” (Ah, they’ve gone home). We knew what Gbolahan, in his No. 14 Arsenal jersey was thinking, ‘My 5k is money too’.
We lost Gbolahan when D’banj decided that at 3am, he would launch one of his yankee acts, who would engage in vocal gymnastics and sing a song no one was familiar with. The crow thinned out at this stage.
To close the show, D’Banj launched in to his single stellar hit on the year, the Don Jazzy produced ‘Oliver Twist’. At this point, Gbolahan reappeared, as D’banj sang, he stood almost still, the hands were back in his pocket. He had stayed till the end, perhaps in the vain hope that D’Banj, the dapper happy-go-lucky star of the Naija music scene would come good. As the song drew to a close, he shook his head and did a slow shuffle to the exit as the ‘Koko Master’ finally thanked the 5 and 20k crowd for coming.
In the end, it was Tinnie Tempah’s show, he performed like someone who knew people had paid to see him, the clarity of the backing tracks he rapped on and his determination to keep the audience engaged made sure, even in the middle of the mediocrity that was the Koko Concert, there was a highlight for the audience to take away.
Op-ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija.