Simi was going to perform in Lagos again in 2018 and while it would be an overstatement to say that I was super thrilled at the news when I first heard, I certainly still considered attending the show from the moment I knew about it.
That was chiefly because I like her [I think the only person in the whole world who doesn’t like Simi is my editor] and also because I missed her concert in 2017, which I really wanted to attend at the time.
PS: I was not so, so hyped about seeing Simi because that sentiment is reserved for events like seeing Asa perform for the first time in Lagos. In 2016 I did, birthing this mad article here, and this one after seeing her perform for the second time in 2017.
I had seen Simi perform about three or four times before now but never at her own concert, never at an event with her name, brand, presence and essence stamped and infused all into it. I had never been at an event which she headlined - the closest thing to that was one Valentine thing she and Adekunle Gold alongside Praiz had at Muri Okunola park, Lagos. So her second Lagos concert which began on December 9, 2018 and ended less than one hour ago at the time of typing these words was my chance at redemption.
And, boy, I do feel redeemed!
I feel thrilled. I feel ecstatic. I am buzzing with adrenaline. A good feeling, a positive zing is still coursing through my body, finding escape through my fingertips, into the excitedly-written words you are reading now, Symply [pun very intended here] because I saw Simi do her thing. It was unbridled delight for me, a night that will remain in my mind for a while.
For all that has been held against the 30-year-old X3M artiste, her music has always spoken for her. It is been the music that has been louder than the voices of discontent risen against her, particularly for her relatively unconventional fashion sense [Actually, I think I will need some long lecture to actually understand what her last outfit at this concert was about.]
Simi knows her art and she is one with it. That much is undeniable. Although little rough edges sometimes rear in her performances here and there, she definitely knows her craft.
Especially after tonight, one gets the feeling that she is on a relentless journey to being a better musician; constantly tweaking, reformatting, putting in the work and making all the necessary modifications to an already beautiful gift in order to become the quintessential Nigerian musician, a performer beyond peers, a more spell-binding magic to watch.
During her set of about two hours which included Zoro [whom I think could have done better when he came out for their joint performance of ‘Stainless’], Falz and Adekunle Gold, Simi shimmered and shone and she brightened the stage with her presence and our faces with happy smiles.
But although she couldn’t have done many things differently on that stage, she surely left a lot to be desired off it.
Ok, I will try to not sound very pissed in this piece but my frustration, much of which was documented in this Twitter thread here, needs to find expression here, too; for it is that frustration which birthed this article more than my desire to come tell you about Simi’s awesomeness, something you probably had an idea of, anyway.
For starters, why on God’s green earth did a show billed to begin at 6PM on a Sunday begin at almost 10PM, despite the foreknowledge of Simi and organisers that the next day was a Monday in Lagos, and that many of the fans who spent their money on tickets, transported themselves to the venue and devoted time to watch her would need to be at work the next day?
Of course we see this all the time. Many other events, concerts and comedy shows waste fans’ time with blatant disregard. The commonness of this does not make it right though, and this is why I, you and other consumers of their art must hold these artistes to higher standards. Or at least, call them out and let them know how bad it is that a show would begin more than three hours after it was slated to.
Let's be frank; apologies shouldn't just make it right without questions asked. Wouldn't it be better if it was just avoided altogether?
I attended Adekunle Gold’s concert in 2017 and he was late for about two hours, too. Okey Bakassi’s comedy show earlier this year, same. Even both of Asa’s concerts which I hold in high regard both for the quality of music and organisational excellence did not begin promptly. I was at Johnny Drille’s uber-fantastic concert earlier in the year, too. That did not begin on time either. His and Asa's were late by just 30 minutes or thereabouts I think.
These are just but few events I have personally attended and witnessed. All concert goers in Nigeria will tell you as well, how rotten the tardiness of our performers are, and how lackadaisical they are about it most of the time.
Simi began performing at 11pm, at a time that the show should have ended if she kept to time!
I mean, she apologised when she came on, citing ‘logistics’ problems for the gaping hole in promised time of delivery and actual time of delivery.
As I already said, the performance was grand and pleasingly entertaining, but only for those of us who waited. Many could not. I saw mothers in there with their babies. Could they have been expected to wait till 11PM, let alone 1AM when the show ended?
Another thing that really baffled me all night long was how there were about five or six opening acts despite the show starting over three hours late. Why did we still need to see those people when so much time had been wasted!? Before these artistes came up, the audience was agitated and angry and some members of it had been cursing back at the sounding-like-a-charlatan MC who was weakly trying to rev them up with silly questions like ‘are you having fun tonight?’
One would expect that given the situation on ground on the night, the process of bringing up the headliner would have been faster than it was. The organisers had other ideas, sadly.
And really, what were DJ-using artistes doing at that show? When you go to a live performer like Simi’s concert, you want to see other performers, too, not some act asking the DJ to play track 5!
It’s fine to give the yungins and up-and-coming artistes the opportunity to show themselves but couldn’t the organisers have given the stage to those who align with the kind of good stuff people were expecting to see from Simi later?
Isaac Geralds, Nonso Amadi, Adekunle Gold, all performed live. That’s what one hopes to see at a concert like Simi’s - from the big guns who came to support their friend to the young ones hoping to blow - a consistence in content type.
With ‘logistics’ being so badly executed to the point that over three hours was wasted, with concert goers being deeply dissatisfied, and with overall music content being slightly diluted and not-so-consistent, memories of Simi Live In Lagos 2018 have been blemished by errors and choices that should not be associated with a night of glorious music and magical artistry like what Simi eventually threw down on that stage.
The saving grace here, thankfully, is that fans are forgiving. So when Simi [and all other tardy Nigerian artistes] call[s] next time, we will turn up, though with a higher expectation - for the music, logistics and organisational distinction.
Hopefully, we won't have to live through another subpar time-of-delivery.