Friday, December 21, 2018

Wizkid VIP Experience: Starboy Is King, Again And Again

Wizkid knew he didn’t need the energy that welcomed him when he hit the stage at a few minutes past one at Eko Convention Center, Lagos. Spread out for as far as he could see, were beautiful tables, lined with rich people who had paid for the concert that was sold as a “VIP Experience.” The problem was, these VIPs aren’t the type to stand up and give him the energy he deserves. They’re rich. They paid to sit down.
And just as I have seen him do before, he performed ‘Sweet love’, and ‘Fever’, and called out to the louder people at the back; The non-VIPs, who were projecting good vibes from the back.“Allow some of my people come forward. Bouncers, allow them to come front,” he ordered. Like ants crawling towards sugar, ‘his people’ left their distant spots, broke protocol and raced past the tables to the smiling singer. Excited for their arrival, he stretched out his hands and slapped a few hands.
Welcome to the Wizkid VIP Experience. Shall we begin?
People shuffled from side to side, looking at their wristwatches, and cursing under their breath. It was past 12 am, and there was no sign of Starboy. Earlier in the night, around a few minutes past 8, when I arrived, Wizkid was walking out of the venue in shorts and a sports vest. Soundcheck had just been concluded and he was headed home. But interestingly, while they waited and complained, not one person could complain online. It was strange. For once, offline frustration at a music concert wasn’t making it to Twitter. Strange, no?
But yes. Of course, they would wait. For most of the people who made the trip and coughed the cash to be present in this venue. It wasn’t a concert. It was holy ground, a Mecca for today, where Wizkid, Afrobeats most revered son, was leading the worship. Outside the venue, little boys offered to drop freestyles for me, in order for me to help them with access. Inside, people who held tickets were urging the security to throw the doors open. Wizkid commands a lot of respect and affection. And that affords him the patience of the people.
But it was worth it. Twice, during the performances, a young fan climbed the stage to join in the performance. Twice Wizkid’s personal bodyguard went in to remove the possible threat to his charge. Twice Wizkid stopped him and synchronised with the intruder to execute rhythmic Zanku steps. It was a show of love to his fans. And the hall grew warmer for it.
Onstage, the cameos kept coming. Tiwa Savage brought the other half of the sauce, to complete the stew, as they performed Malo together. Skepta carried his verses on ‘Energy’, with Wizkid singing “Bad energy stay far away.” Interesting. Behind the ecstatic crowd jumping and screaming their lungs out, the table VIPs were fuming. When the host for the night asked, “Are you enjoying the show?” They responded in their numbers. “No.”
“Bad energy stay far away.”
Huge emotional moments were littered all through the set. Teni Makanaki, Nigeria’s newest arrival in the star department, hugged him, and together they performed Askamaya. It was a beautiful sight. The King and the upstart, side by side, working in harmony. The noise from the fans was deafening. They were winning again. Chinko Ekun was a huge surprise. His hit single ‘Able God’ has earned him the biggest stages, and this was one of them.
The most tear-jerking moment was reserved for the arrival of Dammy Krane. If you know the story of Wizkid and Krane, you would have known all the different stages of friendship. Fights, accusations, creative assistance and more drama have been the headlines from their relationship. That was not the case tonight. Krane performed ‘Amin,’ and ended on a flourish as he shared an emotional embrace with Wizkid, who took over the song and offered some prayers. Amen, somebody. Amen and Amen!
As Wizkid moved in step to Ojuelegba, the hall swayed too. This was the end of the show. Lagos had come through. The celebration has been rocked to the highest.

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