Why We're Blaming It on Burna
Oluwa Burna on stage
Come on now!! Come on now!! If you weren't at Kyalami last Saturday you missed out on a poignant moment for Afrobeats because Burna Boy did the most for 90 THRILLING minutes. Wherever you were, I hope you were also doing the most.
Was the hype around Burna Boy merited?
Apart from the fact that he and a few other Afrobeats artists have been carrying Africa on their back, and that Love Damini is a well crafted album with tremendous replay value, Burna has a testy relationship with SA as a country. Like he mentioned, his last time in SA was 2015, but it was supposed to have been November 2019 in Pretoria for a headline event. At the time, SA was experiencing a very violent episode (for a lack of a better word) of xenophobia on a daily basis, over the period of three or so weeks.
This led to Burna taking to Twitter to cancel South Africa. And so when it was announced in the first week of July that Burna Boy will be performing in Johannesburg, it was mega news. IT WAS ONE NOT TO BE MISSED AT ALL. And it was such a nice thumbs up from the universe - I'd become one with Afrobeats since December last year. I was on top of the genre, I knew and still know which songs are hot and which ones will blow up next. Burna's talent just added to the experience.
How Burna Boy saved DStv Delicious food festival
If you're wondering how the festival went, don't wonder too much, check out Burna Boy's live performance. There's two parts of the festival to consider; the DStv Delicious food festival and Burna Boy's live performance.
Let's go ahead and give the DStv Delicious event a 0/10. Now that’s quite harsh because I do think catering for 20,000 people (the unconfirmed attendance is between 50,000 and 100,000 people) is a difficult thing to do. I'm willing to give some leeway and say 3/10; but for an established event and a powerhouse of a local brand, DStv could have done more - in terms of people flow, ticketing admissions, and layout of the whole event. DStv should have provided a world class experience for its patrons considering the good money spent on the day; very uninspiring from a brand with a desire to reach new markets and new audiences. Brand power goes a long way in the age of social media, and DStv didn’t do themselves any favours.
As for Burna's performance, a solid 10/10 rating. I can't fault any part of his performance; it was stellar, it was full of energy and his usual theatrics, and most important of all - it was full of the essential Burna Boy favourites. Odogwu also took us back in the day by performing some of his golden oldies. I didn't recognise a couple of them but they had me vibing and moving in sync with 20,000 other people.
In terms of lyrics sing along, I would say 6/10. The crowd knew mainstays like On the low, Ye, and Last Last, but struggled with less lyric-friendly tracks like Science and Different size. But overall, we did enough to add to Odogwu's presence.
The Festival itself
People looked beautiful, the weather was lovely, and the energy was for Afrobeats. 20,000 people were all here for Burna. The event had potential to be well curated but the sheer magnitude wasn't well catered for. This led to many individuals taking to the socials to vent their frustrations at DStv and the event organisers. If you could deal with the long queues and extended wait time in the hopes of seeing Burna then lucky you. But then, more problems. Burna's set was delayed by almost 90 minutes. I was barely hanging on, I was quarter to slumping onto the floor and being overwhelmed by the crowd. Suddenly...
Burna on stage…
…the screen flickers and a strutting Gorilla pops up. It was happening, it was time. ODOGWU, HA!! A handful of seconds later, the first beat drop of Science, lights everywhere, phone cameras out, silence...and then EXHILARATING SCREAMS. BURNA BOY was on stage and he was on it, getting straight into opening with Science - my favourite song from Love Damini. The crowd equally gave back, singing lyrics where they could. I couldn't believe it, my favourite song was the opener. Urghhhh, Odogwu, the pressure only got wessa...
Burna Boy's music set on the day
From here on out, it was hit after hit, dance move after dance move, lyrics sing along over and over and over again. The crowd was filled with energy throughout. Burna was soothing the pain and troubles of the day. As a nice bonus, Burna extended his set and performed for 90 minutes (30 minutes more). It honestly felt like just an hour - like WOW!! The presence of an African Giant.
I have to say bye bye ohhh…
And ofcourse he was going to end with Ye and Last Last. When Ye was done, he brought it back and took it from the top. That caught us off guard but we loved it anyways - chalé, we’re gonna build house and still chop life here. And then LAST LAST!! We gon bow for the result ohhh, nothing to discuss ohhh….and the rest is history…or you can skip to 50:49 to watch the full performance of Last Last.
Let’s enjoy a global moment for Afrobeats as one of Africa’s sons fully embraces his role as a pillar of brilliance and talent that rivals all artists, resting or alive. Now, I have to say bye bye, ohhhhhhh…
Some reviews from the crew…
0/10 - Apparently it was supposed to primarily be a food Festival…ai…with Boerwors rolls as the headliner…haha and they are infamous for such reviews.
2/10 - For the organisation of the event, but I do commend them for their effort in trying to innovate; they just forgot we’re in Africa.
12/10 - Burna’s performance, man didn’t want to leave the stage
15/10 - Ahh my guy, did you not watch the same performance? Why are you asking?!
9.8923/10 - For Odogwu only because nothing is perfect. As disappointing as the overall event was, I for one was only there for Burna...so mission accomplished. As someone who felt hard done by missing out in 2019, this was well worth the wait. The strength of the discography since then only made for a better performance. There is always the fear that artists take days off when performing in Africa, but Burna did no such thing. Care and thought in the curation of the set, and power and presence in the delivery. Also shout out to the background performers, especially the Burna Boy look-alike who faked us a bunch of times.