I attended the anticipated and much talked about concert on the 14th of September.
My review is a mix of the good and the bad. I’ll spill the bad news first so we can end this one on a good note.
What is event management? A quick Google search revealed that it involves the creation, direction and planning of all kinds of events.
Now let’s get back to the concert. In terms of this definition, they score a 2 out of 3 which doesn’t seem too bad right? However, when it comes to the execution of an event and ensuring every minute detail is set to the T, I believe they failed miserably. Amongst the 3 expectations of a successful managed event, they failed to deliver the ‘direction’ objective which is ironical because you can create all these great ideas and then plan it really well, but if on the day, you fail to direct or execute it properly then it would have all been for nought which was the case when it came to handling the members of the press which included myself.
My correspondence with the event/ press team before the event was laboured. I received a final confirmation email late on the day before the event. And surprisingly, they had wanted us to arrive at the venue to collect our passes 3 hours before the venue was to be opened to ticket holders.
After a torturous wait from 4pm when we were told to arrive, I finally got in at 8pm just as the show started. Can you imagine?! In an industry such as this where time= money, they sure took the piss in devaluing mine. That wasn’t the end of the mediocrity in the direction of their plans for we the press that night. It turned out that we couldn’t capture ANY footage or take pictures of the event. We were only told this when we got into the venue that one of the media houses owned all the rights to the event coverage and wouldn’t allow us to do what we had travelled all the way there to do bar the punishing circumstance of waiting aimlessly outside in the chilly night. However, we were later told that we could take pictures, but since we weren’t allowed close to the stage and instead placed on the second floor where the VIP troops were resident, my pictures of the performances are a little bit juvenile. I apologise dear readers but that is what will have to do. I kid you not!
Before the event, I was informed that I would be given several tickets to hold competitions so some of you dear readers would be able to attend the event, but due to the haphazard planning, this was never confirmed. However, on the day while collecting my press pass, I was given 4 extra tickets which unfortunately went to waste because by then it was too late to ‘summon’ any of you to attend. This in itself shows a lack of effective planning and direction even though the creation of these ideas and wonderful incentives to engage the press and audience was thought of.
Ok, enough of the bad press!
The show itself, started off with a bang! The ever rising star and artiste extraordinaire Abdulala kicked off the performances for the night. The performance of his soulful single Bamidele was rendered beautifully on the backdrop of his equally talented and engaging dancers. Read my previous interview with the musician here. And of course his jam Nugo was also renditioned with such flair and pizazz that I couldn’t help but to sing along and dance to the beat.
The next performance was by the dance group Project G. Their performance was great but due to technical difficulties, the start to their performance was with a few hiccups which was reminiscent of a dance play performed at a school function. Whatever caused the tech guys to play the wrong song 3 times before their tune came on did nothing to help the nerves of this group.
Next up was Mazi Chuks who served us with the hip and catchy single, One in a Million which was released earlier this year. However, his acoustic version of the song was a big fail on the night. I love the song and it’s on repeat on my youtube playlist but the version performed at the concert was poor. He can only get better right? So I’ll be looking forward to better on his next gig.
Following this, HKN Gang a group formed by Davido did their thing but I wasn’t feeling it and will leave it at that. Music can’t be for everyone and some ears are selective like that. Mine, not really included.
Now let’s get on to the CEO Dancers. Wow!! Those girls can dance! They pulled an incredible performance by themselves, but also danced outstandingly while Tiwa Savage graced the stage. The rework of the ballet dance stand was creative and their outfits made sure to hold everyone’s gaze. There was no stopping them! They were one of my best performances of the night.
D3Dnacers also did their thing and performed with the CEO dancers. Do I hear someone say girl power? YEAH!
I’m sure I don’t need to say what comes next. I mean, they were the headlining act for a reason. Davido and Tiwa Savage stole the show, especially Tiwa in my opinion. Davido’s performance was very much anticipated, and he lived up to the hype of the night, but after a couple of songs in, I found myself waiting on his bangers like Skelewu to come on to get me to that high state of groove. A lil bit of advice if I may- throw in a lot of your club bangers and fans favourite to get your crowd going. Don’t let us anticipate only the end of your performance. Wow us from begin to end. That’s why you’re the headliner right?
As for Tiwa Savage, her performance was cotton candy to my ears. And her tribute to recently deceased entertainers and incredible African influencers was touching and heart tugging. It was good to have remembered past veterans even in a joyous moment such as a concert. A life well spent shouldn’t be shied away from celebrations.
Only criticism? Well, she was introduced on stage with a splash. I mean literally. She was served to us in a champagne glass. However, the brilliant and glitzy idea wasn’t followed through to the end because when it was time for her to step out of the glass, what I can only describe as a workman’s ladder was retrieved for her to descend. Come on, it’s show business! A velvet draped or stardust splattered ladder would have been more effective in selling the dreamy facade.
Oh and there was an Azonto Camera to show off those dancing in the audience.
In summary, it was a great concert and although it’s celebrated as Europe’s largest African concert, a little more will have to be done to take it to that higher level we know it can get to. The acts of the nights were really good, but next year’s will have to top this by far. Where was Wizkid? Iyanya? Yemi Alade? Dbanj?
Africans want more out of Africa Unplugged and we know it can get better.
Still, I toast to another good event!
Photo Credit- Sewafolie