#YNaija2020Review: Tiwa Savage, ART X Live, The Experience…The 10 Best Lockdown Performances of the year

2020 was a weird and difficult year.

The coronavirus pandemic shuttered the music industry with one fell swoop as governments issued stay at home and no travel orders in a scramble to keep the raging pandemic under control. Still, artistes found a way to create new music and to present them to the world via internet. The industry adapted and artistes found a way to reach out via performances that were tailored to the moment.

We present our countdown of the performances that took the socially distanced formula and adapted it in the most rewarding ways.

10. Davido Live on the Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon

In July, while the world was locked down, Davido made a socially distanced appearance as a musical guest on The Tonight Show hosted by Jimmy Fallon. He gave a good account of himself singing a medley of D&G and his most internationally recognized hit, Fall.

9. Chike at The Future Awards Africa (TFAA)

At the first online version of The Future Awards Africa, Chike did finely tuned renditions of his Boo of the Booless tunes, Beautiful People and Soldier. The pared down performance was in keeping with a nation still traumatised by a government that appeared to have declared war on its young.

8. Benjamin James- It’s More Than Drumming

The Cavemen band is easily one of the most accomplished live performers working today. A great part of what makes their performances so electric is drummer Benjamin James who attacks the drums with all the excitement of a lover reuniting with their loved ones.

At the It’s More than Drumming (IMTD) clinic organized by Dami Alabi, James’ infectious energy as he performed Me You I from The Cavemen’s debut album Roots was a joy to behold.

7. National Anthem/Growing Wings (Quarantine video)- WurlD

Until Afrosoul singer WurlD arrived with the quarantine video for National Anthem/Growing Wings from his latest album, we never thought that watching a fully clothed grown man jumping and dancing in front of his camera would be so terribly entertaining. While the song is instantly catchy, it is WurlD’s mischievous mastery of the material that sells it completely.

6. Niniola at the YouTube Africa Creator Week Celebration

At the YouTube Africa Creator Week Celebration redesigned for a virtual audience, Niniola gave a totally accomplished set that showed why she is every inch a star- and made a case for why she should be bigger. She switched comfortably between serving sterling vocals and sizzling rump shaking dance moves in her four-song set.

5. The Experience Global Edition

The world’s largest gospel concert in keeping with the ratchetness of 2020 pivoted to an online-only event for the first time in 15 years. It was still a wonder. The virtual ceremony still managed to attract everyone from Tope Alabi to Nathaniel Bassey, Travis Greene to Tasha Cobbs Leonard. The excellence of the production was word class and the live sets were soul refreshing.

4. Burna Boy at the BET Hip Hop Awards

At the BET Hip Hop Awards, African giant Burna Boy was joined virtually by Chris Martin of Coldplay for a powerfully electrifying and timely performance of the Twice as Tall standout, Monsters You Made. The immaculate production of the performance outclassed the song’s original music video and exists as an alternative for people who want to experience the song in its full power.

3. Tiwa Savage at the MOBOs

In a year that was scarred by state sanctioned police and army brutality, Tiwa Savage used her platform at the MOBOs to call attention to the Lekki Shootings of 20th October. In a resplendent set that was impeccably styled Savage performed a jazzy version of her hit Koroba before segueing into an repurposed version of album opener Save My Life.

2. A Day in the Live: Wizkid

The special 3-hour live stream production from the #YouTubeBlack Voices Fund finished off with a final hour featuring an exclusive live concert where Wizkid performed material from his new album as well as from his repertory. Against a constantly shifting chromatica background and backed by a terrific band, Wizkid pulled off perhaps the finest performance of his career, engaging with the music and the space thoughtfully and as precisely as can be expected for a performance directed at a virtual audience.

1. Art X Live! Presents Like Someone’s Watching”

This year, Nigeria’s premiere art fair went fully online and so did Art X Live, the showcase that plays at the intersection between music and art. Directed by Omowunmi Ogundipe, Like Someone’s Watching deployed the fine talents of musicians Oxlade and Tomi Owo, DJ Camron and artist King Jesse Uranta in a mix that was explosive yet mellow at the same time.

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