Exceptional is one word that describes the third edition of Olamide Live In Concert (OLIC 3) so long as we do not take the now clichéd matter of starting the event 4 hours behind schedule into consideration.
Against the usual grain, Olamide opens his own show, around 11:45pm on a very high note, so fast-paced it is hard to keep up, harder even to match the excitement of his teeming fans who yelled right from the text appearance of General Baddoo on the huge screen, to his swaggered entrance with his coloured hair and then all through his performance.
The choreographed enactment of a herbal concoction seller jiggling to the titillating words of an untiring Olamide as he sings the controversial ‘Story for the gods’ is a pleasant sight which smoothly eases into another popular number, ‘The Money,’ a duet with Davido, made catchy by its appeal to the divine to create wealth, one thing that connects virtually everyone. Then he moves on to sing his part in the collaboration with Kcee and others for Reggae Blues.
Olamide and Phyno thereafter effect a smooth transition which Gambians would make a prayer point. With Fada Fada, Olamide’s oriental cousin penetrated the heart of Lagos music lovers packed into the Eko Hotel Hall and performs a couple more hits, easily carrying the crowd along.
Event hosts, comedian, AY and actress, Funke Akindele then announce their appearance, re-enacting Wizkid’s intriguing moment at the recently held Headies Award, before leaving the stage for other comic acts – Pencil, Ushbebe, Funny Bone and SeyiLaw.
Olamide enjoys enormous goodwill, evident from the large number of top entertainers on the performance list, as well as dignitaries and performers in attendance – including the Lagos State Governor Akinwunmi Ambode.
The second round of performances at OLIC 3 begin with a Fela wannabe who fancies himself a fan favourite but leaves the stage with possibly fewer number of fans than he has upon arrival. Two more mid-range performances before Koker and his Ko Le werk banger come to rescue the tempo from heading south. Dammy Krane thereafter emerges as makeshift priest spitting ‘receive it’ on his track Amin and spreading prophetic Bugattis. I presume Lagos will be overwhelmed by that brand of luxury automobile in the coming year.
Former EME act, Skales is a level or two above the artiste who came before him but his performance is a few notches below his potential. Unable to evoke the ‘noise’ he desired, he gives his best shot with his 2015 track, Lo Le but by the second chorus, at least two persons near me were cursing him. Solid Star, probably not as solid a star as he used to be, comes after Skales but manages to shine some before DJ Consequence and DJ Enimoney take over to great acclaim.
Olamide returns in a double breasted blue suit and his favourite red cup at 2am singing Melo Melo a song of gratitude and immediately declares ‘we are just getting started.’ The ululation that greets the street anthem Who You Epp leaves goose pimples all over the skin, confirming its place as one of the songs with the biggest mass appeal in 2016.
Miss Kedike and former MTN Project Fame winner, Chidinma comes in a to not-so-warm reception but eventually strikes a chord with the audience after switching to her duet – Emi Ni Baller, perhaps more of a street tune the crowd could reckon with.
Olamide’s YBNL acts takes over the OLIC 3 stage after Chidinma, beginning with an unlikely performance by the YBNL Princess. For some reason, her melodious guitar does not command much attention from the audience and Lil Kesh’s appearance is needed to reignite the fire in the room. Sadly however, he does more strutting and lip-syncing for the extended period he was on stage than he actually sang. He probably fancies himself as Wizkid with his displays and it is just perfect that AY recognised the presence of the Starboy immediately after Lil Kesh’s exit. Wizkid will not perform but the applause in the hall is electric.
Adekunle Gold enters on the shoulders of two bearers and the heavy percussion of highlife fused with afrobeat, singling My Life from his Gold album before getting nearly everyone to sing the more popular Orente. Easily the best act of the night, performing live all through and with great stagecraft to complement his voice as he negotiates his popular tracks, Ariwo Ko to Friend Zone and then to Pick Up.
Viktoh, the last YBNL act to perform does well with his Skiibii track before leaving the floor for Ycee who starts slow but ends on a high with Jagaban. Another YBNL artiste, Chinko Ekun is noticeably absent. While the reasons for his absence are yet unknown, there are indications that he was not spectacular at last year’s event.
I am not certain what Oritsefemi’s plan was. After beginning on a soft note with his pseudo-gospel song, Mercies of the Lord, he then tries to go hard with his Igbeyawo track but hardly hits the right notes. He nstead spends half the time doing a mash-up of dancing and lip-syncing, hardly impressing with any until he performs Double Wahala, a more natural way to redeem himself before the OLIC 3 crowd.
Fuji legend, Pasuma comes in at 3:30am with a short and sharp performance that leaves many asking for more but the noise that accompanies Davido’s entry with Dami Duro soon overwhelms that urge. He is thereafter joined by his label act, Mayorkun for Eleko. Ever mischievous, Davido rounds off his quite energetic performance with Bad Baddo Baddest and the famous dig at his in-law, Dele Momodu, pointing the mic to the crowd for the line, “Mr Dele na my boy.”
Jesse Jags shows he still commands some influence and leaves after performing Wetin Dey. A cameo by Instagram comedy act, Mama Tobi precedes Olamide’s final return with the upbeat Abule Sowo, with some semblance to a war chant that gets the crowd into a frenzy. He follows closely with other popular singles like Kodurosoke, Konkonbility and Sneh before bringing the show to a close with the Shakitibobo, the same song with which he closed the 2015 edition of his concert. This time around, Olamide appropriates the Christmas culture and has Santas for dancers.
Olamide may not have had a very fantastic year as an artiste and probably delayed the release of his new album, Glory, for reasons known to him, but his OLIC 3 concert was top-notch. The production was smooth and highly commendable, managing to avoid any glitch with lighting or sound and ensuring fluid transitions among performers save for those few moments when DJ Consequence and DJ Enimoney appeared to drag out their switch-over.
There were not so many new songs performed at OLIC 3, probably Olamide and other artistes played for safety with the audience or it was due to some other reason but that does not in any way reduce the anticipation for the 2017 edition. Olamide has done well but it is no time to drop the ball, OLIC 4 can be better.
A few things to look into include improving crowd management, ticket sales and security. More tickets than available seats were sold and that was clear from all the shuffling that went on in the regular stand where many remained standing all through the night. Some other persons who had purchased tickets had theirs cancelled for such intriguing reasons as the absence of tags.
Journalists with press passes were also treated shabbily by security agents acting as though they were there to beg and subsequently shoved to the regular stand. Incidents of pick-pocketing and other vices at the end of the event also need to be looked into.