By Osagie Alonge
Nigerian singer Darey Art Alade held his ‘Love Like a Movie 2’ music concert on Saturday, February 15, 2013. The two-hour show was a night of glamour and good music and overall, a great show – despite an initial technical hitch that occurred during headliner Kelly Rowland’s first set. .
Darey shocked the Nigerian entertainment industry last year when he hosted the debut edition of his music concert ‘Love Like a Movie’, raising the bar for musical and performance concerts in Nigeria to a whole new level. Suffice to say, it is still the best produced live music show in the country ever.
A year after, the Nigerian singer proved to out-do himself when he announced a sequel to be held a day after Valentine’s Day. The show would feature US Pop/R&B act Kelly Rowland as the co-headliner with other Nigerian acts Waje, Tiwa Savage, Timi Dakolo, Muna, Eva and a few others as performing acts of the night.
The concert was held in the open at the Ocean Grounds of Eko Hotel and Suites, Victoria Island, Lagos. In what can be described as a brave move from the producers of the show (daring the somewhat unpredictable weather condition in the city). The much spaced stage was creatively setup with colour-changing translucent tanks piled up on each other, leaving pathways for artistes to conveniently make their entry and exit off the vertical stage. There was also a screen setup right behind the tanks with a projector beaming from about 200 meters away.
A crane hovered over the stage which just got many excited, building up anticipation for the show to start. The co-ordination on stage was very commendable and transition seamless (except for the Kelly Rowland technical goof). The side attractions like gymnasts, acrobats and dressed dancers during the performance were enthralling but managed not to steal the essence of the show – the performances.
Unlike the 2013 debut edition which kicked off immediately at 7PM, guests who attended LLAM2 were forced to wait two whole hours before the concert started. The show which was announced for an 8PM-starting time dragged and dragged until 10:55PM. The time lapse might not have mattered as majority of the guests arrived late and those that came early (like me) were provided the opportunity to watch the red carpet session which was beamed on two large digital screens placed at the edges, halfway in the venue.
Last year at LLAM 1, Kim Kardashian said she was confused with the type of outfits Nigerians wore to the event, explaining that in the US; they’d rather wear sweat shirts and jeans to a concert. Nothing changed this year as guests (especially the ladies) wore their best outfits at LLAM2 as well. Women strutted (uncomfortably, if I may add) in their high heels and tight dresses to their seats. You’d think they were attending a wedding!
It’s taken me two years of attending events to realize that VIP, VVIP or table tickets might not be your money’s worth at a concert held in Nigeria. Guess who got the best of the show on the night? The VIP? No. The Silver Table? NO. It was the regular ticket holders!
On the night, the seating arrangement paid off for the regulars who were seated at the rear of the venue with a total view of the whole stage, screens and movement from the crane above, savouring the concert in detail. The silver and gold table guests were fixed right in front of the stage and would have to tilt their heads to an uncomfortable position to see the movements from the crane. They also couldn’t switch from screen to stage to enjoy the performances in detail. It was worse for the VIPs who were attached by the side of the silver table guest, watching the show from an awkward position.
Interestingly, I was told by one of the organizers that the producers initially wanted the Silver table guests to sit where the regulars were to fully enjoy the show but sponsors didn’t approve of the arrangement saying the highest paying guests had to ‘always be in front’.
Performances were grouped into themes described as Darey’s experience with different genres of music – R&B, Pop, Reggae, Naija, and Classic with a bonus titled Destiny’s.
Darey kicked off performances with a grand entrance, making his way onto the stage from 50 feet above standing on a silver designed box. He kicked off performances rendering Seal’s ‘Kiss from a rose’. Despite appearing conspicuously stressed, Darey who had been working tirelessly to put the show together, still nailed all of his performances. Now that’s a true performer there.
Top Performances of the Night
Waje: The very talented vocalist started by rendering Whitney Houston’s ‘I will always love you’. Waje as expected nailed her performance, wasn’t as smooth as the late singer but nailed it still. She returned to sing a magnificent duet with Darey – a rendition of Lauryn Hill and Bob Marley’s ‘Turn your lights down low’.
Lamborghini: The Pop singer was probably the most surprising act of the night. His duet performance of Shabba Ranks 1993 single ‘Mr Lover man’ with Darey’s Soul Muzik label act Zaina was quite outstanding. He eloquently delivered the patios lyrics to the delight of the crowd.
Timi Dakolo: Timi’s voice one again did the magic trick. His performance of ‘When a man loves a woman’ was a packed power punch of emotions that got the crowd screaming and yelling in approval.
Zaina: After a near perfect performance at The Headies 2013, Zaina continues to glow on stage. Performing on five different sets, glammed up Zaina smoothly executed her songs with much energy with a touch of finesse here and there.
Eva Alordiah: Well did Eva surprise everyone! The rapper, clearly showing signs of seriousness stepped on stage with a whole level of confidence, giving a very sultry performance of her unreleased song ‘Dance with me’ along with Darey. Eva was in charge of the stage as Darey complimented her brilliantly.
Worst performances of Night
Kelly Rowland: You’d think Ms Kelly would bring her A-game to the show but sadly she didn’t. Her performance started with her 2002 hit single ‘Dilemma’ which got the crowd immediately signing along. Kelly Rowland arrived the country two days before the show but clearly didn’t do her homework; by the time she moved on to perform her 2013 single ‘Kisses down low’, the crowd stood motionless, they apparently didn’t know the song. Suspecting what was going on, Kelly stopped her performance halfway through the song and proceeded to the next joint ‘Motivation’. The only problem was that her performance was sequenced (and not a live band) so it had to finish the previous track before going into the next. It got more awkward as the singer stood on stage, waiting for ‘Motivation’ to come on, it didn’t. Kelly embarrassingly walked off the stage and never came back to perform the Lil’ Wayne-assisted hit song. This caused the show to stop for 20 minutes.
And even when Kelly came back to perform her David Guetta produced ‘When love takes lover’ and other songs like ‘Like this’, it wasn’t top notch but just basic. There was nothing electrifying about it. Her rendition of her former Destiny Child band’s songs like ‘Survivor’, ‘Independent woman’ and ‘Bootylicious’ and ‘Soldier’ however got the crowd hyped up.
Chioma: Despite her energy and impressive stage craft, her performance was close to horrible. Chioma successfully messed up two performance sets (one with Eva, the other with Muna and Zaina) with her poor vocals; she was either shouting or going off key. Not a good way to make a debut.
Darey was smart enough by not trying to replicate last year’s show – picking a more defined theme, taking up a new approach to setting up the stage and infusing the choice of performers is quite commendable. A big thumbs up to the true King of R&B.
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