Dec 4 2017
On Saturday, December 2 was the annual Hennessy Artistry concert. I was excited. Over the spirit Olamide was the headline act, and to assist him was Falz, Ycee, Patoranking, Tiwa Savage and Timaya. As opening acts, we had Mayorkun and Small Doctor. This was the A-team of Nigerian music.
On paper, they had enough in them to win any performance contest. I was already thinking how my life was going to change automatically as enjoyment slowly kills me. Everybody will die one day, but on that hot pre-Harmattan night, I chose to reach heaven by the warm gentle hands of enjoyment, supplied by the live music.
At the venue, things started out well. Just by the entrance of the venue at Eko Atlantic, there were cocktail stands that supplied me with the right lubrication to ease me into my music death. Trust me, music always taste better with alcohol. It soothes your nerves and allows the music penetrate your bloodstream into your brain, where things go dark as it poisons you.
But Olamide did not poison me when he went on stage. He ruined the entire experience.
The Hennessy Artistry over the years has been a platform where artists with an expansive live performance skillset do their thing. They bring their best selves on to the stage, and have just one job: Scatter the concert with the best records, bring everyone to their knees with your performance, and ensure that the experience is something to write home about.
Everyone did that, even Mayorkun. They utilised live bands, turned up with dancers, Tiwa and Falz surfed the crowd, performing and hugging their fans as they sang and rapped. I was almost about to get hugged my Tiwa Savage, but a fan who looked like he needed it more than me shoved me and got the best 10 seconds of his life. I was happy for him. A win for a random guy is a win for all of us with balls and testosterone.
The electricity was flowing until Olamide came on stage to turn it off. First, he had no band member, or no backup. Only DJ Enimoney set up his deck and prepared to kill it. Of course, he killed it. He killed the vibe, the rhythm, the flow and everything nice about the event.
Olamide came on stage to ‘Goons mi’. The song played for a minute, and from the start, his energy was off. Baddo gave off the air of someone who was performing against his will. He was nonchalant, didn’t sing along, and tried to attempt what looked like dancing. For some of his high energy records like ‘Bobo’ and ‘Durosoke’, which involved dance moves. Olamide’s dancing was juvenile. It was like watching an upcoming artist who begged his way to the stage.
Nothing was artistic about the show. Just before ‘Bobo’ came on, Olamide paused it, gave a little speech which ended with the abusive word ‘Smellos.’ Shouts rang out in the hall. As if on cue, DJ Enimoney began to have problems playing the song he just paused. He struggled for what felt like an eternity. At some point, he was assisted by Olamide’s manager, Alex Okeke, who was pointing and fidgeting at the laptop.
You have to pity the fans. While Olamide was turning down the night, they were resisting him. This was an artist that was dearly loved, and that emotion showed with the people who refused to accept what was happening on stage. They wanted him to do better, move better, rap better, sing better, and turn up better. But they didn’t succeed. You can’t force a horse to drink. No matter how much you spur it on.
The show of shame carried on. He briefly tried to introduce ‘Saysaymaley’, a record off his new album “Lagos Nawa.” But nobody was buying it. You don’t introduce a new song with the energy of a snail.
And finally, it was time for ‘Wo’. This was his biggest song of the year, and people had longed for it. But if you think all he did before was torture, this was where he took the fatal shot. As the song came on, and everyone screamed in anticipation of finally seeing the light at the tunnel.
Olamide ordered Enimoney to kill the beat. It was shocking. People wanted to lose their home training to Olamide, but he took that opportunity away from them. I saw betrayal in the eyes of fans, as everyone turned to their neighbour seeking answers to questions that Olamide made them ask.
Was he not paid? Of course, he was. Did someone annoy him? No idea. What happened to Baddo? No idea.
It was the ultimate vibe-killer, and it left a sour taste in our mouths. Olamide had submitted a manual on ‘How Not To Headline A Concert’. The Holy Book of Bad Performances. The Gospel Of Turn-Down.
A fan who felt it the hardest was talking to a friend on our way out of the concert. He looked like his dog just died. And the only words I could hear was “That guy just broke my heart.”
I tapped his shoulder and said. “Don’t take it personally. Look around you. He broke all of our hearts.”
He looked around and saw people in more pain. Olamide didn’t ruin the night for me. He destroyed it for me, that fan, and everyone else who showed up with the expectation of seeing a decent performance. For once, Baddo was bad for us.