Wizkid's decade-plus career has finally gotten him here: to the coveted The O2 after recording the top Afrobeats single of 2020. Most musicians dream of selling out a show once, let alone three times in under 15 minutes - but given that the Nigerian sensation has released a faultless album like 'Made In Lagos,' it's understandable.
When you go into The O2, it feels like you're at the Black Met Gala, with everyone dressed up to watch the Starboy. DJ Tunez gets the celebration started, and with lots of Afrobeats hits and retro reggae on his playlist, it's evident right away that today is the night to celebrate African brilliance.
Wizkid's colleague is also in charge of welcoming him to the stage. "It’s that time. Time is of the essence. Tunez jokes, "Time is of the essence," referring to the artist's Billboard hit "Essence." The crowd bursts into a deafening roar as a sea of light-up wristbands glow red and green for opener 'Joro,' with phone lights in the air. Wizkid touches his mike stand slowly and solemnly as he serenades the large audience.
From there, he keeps the momentum going, combining hits from "album of the year" 'Made in Lagos' (another aside from DJ Tunez) with cult cuts like 'Don't Dull,' 'Come Closer,' and 'Caro.' Even yet, the crowd is the loudest for tonight's series of unexpected visitors: On the summer smashes 'Longtime' and 'Energy (Stay Away),' UK legend Skepta lends a hand, and the two share genuine on-stage friendship. It's no surprise that their collaborations cause such a stir.
Wizkid in London
All roads lead to 'Essence' as the crowd is bathed in green light – yet as the hit single fills the venue, the response is a little muted. Even so, the audience enjoys the show – it's a crowded, sold-out crowd, no doubt – and emerging Afro-R&B singer Tems has a strong presence as she enters the stage, ditches her long trench coat, and enjoys herself with Wiz.
The shrills of the audience become even louder when Wizkid introduces his "huge surprise" – Chris Brown, an American musician and rapper. Brown is greeted by a raucous chorus of fans singing back his newest song, 'Go Crazy,' and, regrettably, this is Brown's first concert in the UK in almost a decade, despite several serious claims of violence against women. Brown doesn't do much other than dance at the end of the stage, hardly recognizing Wizkid, and it's a stilted moment.
With 'Ojuelegba,' though, things pick up again. Wizkid's show of Nigerian perfection comes to a close with this coming-of-age tale about making it out of his hometown of Ojuelegba, while the entire room joins in — with power and conviction — with this coming-of-age tale about making it out of his birthplace of Ojuelegba. Green and silver confetti is thrown into the air (representing the green and white colors of the Nigerian flag), and it's a touching moment during a song that has helped many people through difficult times.
However, in the final seconds of the show, you still want more. There's no way to get bored with all the hits pounded one after another, but it doesn't make the audience feel any closer to Wizkid. While a moment of silence was offered in honor of the late fashion and cultural icon Virgil Abloh, there was less direct interaction with the public elsewhere. Despite the fantastic community enjoying the moment at the O2, you sometimes find yourself wishing for more of the personality that brought them together in the first place.
Wizkid in London