The Concert was a ‘Marmite’ moment in time. You either loved it or hated it!
The BET award winning and self-titled ‘King’ of Afrobeats, Davido’s performance at Expo 2020 Dubai’s Jubilee Park on Saturday 19 March, was a ‘Marmite’ moment in time. You either loved it or hated it!
Davido’s concert was scheduled to start at 9.00, but was delayed, by an impromptu pre-concert interview, that went on longer that expected. During the Interview, he talked about his experience of Expo 2020.
An excited Davido said,” I visited the Nigerian stand and seeing a picture of me there is amazing to see. Walking around Expo 2020 and seeing other communities, show’s how Expo 2020 promotes Unity” He went on to say “I am happy to be representing my country. Ten Years ago, that crowd, would not have been here, Listen to them! I remember when being African or Nigerian was not the coolest thing to be. Keep promoting the culture, I love you, I thank you for all the love and support you show”
At 21:40, forty minutes late, Davido, whose real name is David Adeleke walked on stage. As expected, the crowd erupted with loud cheers, while phones were held aloft to capture the moment for posterity. On the first beat his die-hard fans began to sing along, word perfect at the top of their voices, as he performed a mix of old and new hits including Dami Duro, Gobe, Dodo plus One of a Kind.
The concert would not have been complete until he performed his captivating 2017 hit Fall, which became the longest charting Nigerian track in Billboard history. Davido was after all here to ‘represent Nigeria and spread love and peace’.
Strutting across the stage bedecked in glistening bling reminiscent of a 90’s rap artists, Davido exuded a confidence, bordering on arrogance. In his words this was ‘his concert’. Yes, it was ‘his concert’ that included a DJ using expletives to warm-up the crowd. It was ‘his concert’ that had the less than impressive female rapper Kayykilo perform a single song complete with inappropriate sultry moves. Yes, it was ‘his concert’ and he could insist the lights be switched onto the audience whose faces he wanted to see. But are these the actions of a true performance ‘King’ or that of a Diva? Who knows?
Davido is undeniably one of the Nigerian trailblazers who introduced Afrobeat aka Afro-pop Afro-fusion to the world stage. However, his particular style is now niche. It lacks, dear I say, the melodic sway, positive vibe and general finesse the global audience have come to expect from the genre. Ahead of the concert Davido had promised ‘the audience would not be going home the same people’. He certainly delivered on his word. There is no question about Davido’s popularity, or his ambassadorship role for popular African music or his ability to fill a stadium. As a video entertainer, he is brilliant, but as a live entertainer, I am yet to be convinced, but he did convince the more than enthusiastic multicultural audience in Jubilee Park, that he is indeed worthy of the title King of Afrobeat
Sonia Dixon & Delroy Constantine-Simms