Great performances were the highlights of the night, but poor time management and power cuts mar African concert.
One Africa Music Fest has been a great idea so far.
Planned and executed by entertainment mogul Paul Okoye, and his firm, Upfront & Personal Global Management Consultants, the event travels through different cities of the world, celebrating African music stars with live performances from the best of the continent.
Last year’s show in New York City was engaging, and this year was promoted to be just as unforgettable.
The UK was chosen to be the start of it for 2017, and the show pulled in at the SSE Arena, Wembley, London, streaming live on TIDAL. And it did retain some of its original elements.
First up was the inclusion of a live band to support unplugged artistry. And then there was Banky W.
The newly married Nigerian actor and musician came back for the second time to host this year’s showcase. And he did a fine job with the audience, keeping them engaged and spirited as he bounced and pranced along the full length of the stage.
Performances came in hot, with a very bloated lineup of stars billed to perform. But the show was delayed and didn't start on time.
Eugy, Sonoman, Praiz, Emma Nyra, Victoria Kimani, Atumpan, and more came through quickly to get the night rolling.
Cassper Nyovest was on hand to represent South Africa and the Hip hop movement from Johannesburg. He was electric, performing hit records ‘Mama I made it, Doc Shebeleza, and Tito Mboweni. His performance was rivalled by Sarkodie, who ran through ‘Pon di ting’, Azonto, Adonai remix and the newly released ‘Painkiller’ with Runtown.
There was also M.I Abaga for the Hip hop contingent. The Nigerian rapper rolled through the years performing records from his earliest albums. ‘Action film’, ‘Anoti’, Overkilling remix, and more were rolled off. He also added diversity to set by bringing on Koker and Yung L to perform their singles 'Kolewerk' and 'SOS'.
Legend Awilo Longomba rolled back the years in style, employing extra help including comedian Eddie Kadie and singer Mohombi to produce one of the most memorable sets. He performed ‘Karolina’, ‘Gate le coin’, Bundelele, and his all-time classic ‘Coupe Bibamba’.
9ice had a very poor showing, with his lack of vocals impeding the satisfaction of his fans, and affecting his set badly. He was lacking in energy and coordination, which made his set fail to flow smoothly. The veteran singer performed ‘Street credibility’, ‘Living things’, and ‘Gongo Aso’, which he rounded off by bringing on German remixer, Niki Tall to join in. Niki's grating vocals and pronunciation challenge made the set gritty. That didn’t go too well.
Time was poorly managed, and it ran out on the concert, making the next set of performances rushed. Falz has the best hype-man in the industry, as he was spurred on stage to produce one of his best ever performances. Tekno got the crowd moving with a rendition of his best records. Tiwa Savage was elaborate with a colourful retinue of dancers. Although she was cut off due to time.
Phyno and Olamide, did their best to unite their performances. The two rappers jointly performed ‘Fada fada’, but had limited time to properly thrill the audience. Davido was rushed too. The pop star ran through ‘Dami Duro’, ‘Gobe’, ‘Osinachi’, The money’, ‘Skelewu’, ‘Aye’ and ‘If’ in record time.
It was a huge disappointment. You don't pack superstars like these and plan for them to not shine on a big stage and provide the audience with their best. It was extremely rushed and impacted negatively on the general enjoyment.
Time was against the concert, but the organizers were allowed 20 minutes extra to wrap up the show. But they still failed to take advantage. They spent half that time getting up the set for the next set of performances which was taken by Flavour and Psquare. The acts once again breezed through their sets, before power to the venue was cut off by the authorities.
Banky W had one more performance up his sleeve to announce for the night, but the powers at the SSE Arena , Wembley had had enough. We Africans had managed time poorly, and we had to bear that.
The venue managers pulled the cable, the power went out, and puzzled concert-goers slowly exited, with the promise of an afterparty.
The power cut was disastrous for Jidenna, who could not perform because of the mismanaged time. The US singer addressed it on Instagram.
"Cheers to the artists and organizers of #OneAfrica," he wrote. "I was supposed to perform 2night but the show was cut off as I waited backstage. I'm disappointed that London wasn't able to see me 2night. Regardless of whose to blame, to make this our time we must be on time #OneAfrica ."
Until next time folks.