With the passage of time and growth, Davido is wiser about measuring time.
At 9pm, Davido appeared on stage wearing a purple balaclava mask over his face. On his new record, the rueful ‘LCND’ (acronym for Legends Can Never Die), rendered by the backup band The Compozers, ushered him in the perfect entrance song about resilience in the light of his recent tragic losses.
Davido removed his mask and performed a cache of throwback hit songs: from ‘Dami Duro’ to the dance instructional, ‘Skelewu’ matched by the enthused crowd.
DJ ECool whispered into Davido’s ear mid-performance, and his face lit with a smile, accentuating his dimple. “My manager just told me my album is number one in America,” Davido said.
Timeless, Davido’s fourth studio LP album, already shattered the record of the most first-day streams ever for an African album on Apple Music on its release date. Barely one week later, the 49-minute-long record comprising 17 songs is the first African album to top the US iTunes charts.
Davido belongs to the Afrobeats Quintet — which includes Wizkid, Burna Boy, Tiwa Savage and Olamide — who released their first significant body of work circa 2012. It has been more than a decade of sustained excellence for this prodigious cohort who have brought the genre its biggest wins yet, shattering ceilings and putting West African music a seat at the global table.
With a boyish charm, unmatched generosity, a strong sense of community and an uncanny ability to make hit songs, Davido’s incredible run, despite a privileged upbringing and a lifetime of grief, is a testimony to his courage, craft, and consistency.
Davido, in celebratory spirits, performed ‘The Money’ and ‘Risky’. These iconic tunes, released at least three years apart, exemplify his strategic local and international collaborations. He has kept his fans at home sweetened while luring new global fans into the 30BG with good results.
‘Pervasive mood of Timeless‘
David performed ‘Kante’ from Timeless. With just the right amount of repeating ‘Hold my waist’ in its delightful post-chorus helmed by Fave, it is unsurprising that this dancehall duet is already an early favourite, raking in streams.
He performed the mid-tempo opening song ‘Over Dem’, a worthy entry into the novel Afro-Adura Afrobeats category, Blaise-Beats-produced ‘For the Road’ and the elegant love song duet ‘No Competition’, featuring an adulatory verse from Fujipiano maestro, Asake.
The pervasive mood of cautious optimism on Timeless is not lost on the concert audience, offering a muted response to Davido’s new material and wild enthusiasm for his classic nostalgic songs. The sound quality was sub-par with malfunctioning microphones. The stage was a clutter of sidemen and disc jockeys.
Intimate setting for UK release
With a Tarzanic set swinging across his discography, this concert seemed unambiguous about its ambition. It could have been a medley of coveted classics or a listening party for his new material — it chose both.
The intimate setting of the former theatre presented for a minimalist production was all but missed in this over-produced set. The blinding photic stimulation from the stage light was in bad taste. Ditto for a dangling curtain, in furtherance of the theatre metaphor, threatening a curtain call.
While Stephen ‘Drummerboy’ Asamoah-Duah of The Compozers band quartet stood out for his over-enthusiastic drumming, the hapless backup vocalists, like Davido, struggled with the new material.
Despite his improved range and vocal harmonies, Davido still needed to give much thought to performing his latest tunes. However, the gracious but often distracted crowd mumbled along while some vaped fragrant nicotine and CBD oils, yet some captured the moment for their social media timelines and digital archives.
Zlatan was shy to come to stage until they pulled him out 😂😂. See him having so much fun now. Koko was lit thanks to Davido pic.twitter.com/AuJlNt4pjrApril 6, 2023
The 2021 smash hit ‘High’, Davido’s duet with Adekunle Gold, easily marks the concert’s climax, an unusual but expected outcome, since this concert was more about celebrating his timeless hits than celebrating his novel Timeless album. This energetic surge plateaued with ‘Champion Sound’ his Amapiano duet with South African rapper Focalistic, the last song on Timeless.
Joined on stage by his peers to choreograph the now viral accompanying dance, Davido closed the concert with Timeless’s infectious biggest hit yet, ‘Unavailable’.
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