Monday, October 09, 2006

thisday music festival october 7th & 8th, 2006

Like I said in my humble pie post, due to mis-information, I did not have my camera, so at this point do not have any photo's to accompany this post (apart from the ones I just nicked recently, hee hee) and by the time I do, you'll probably have seen pics anyway, so just manage with text please. Anyway, minus pics, without much further ado, I bring to you (haven't said that in a minute):

1st Annual THISDAY Independence Music Festival

Originally billed to perform were Jay-Z, Beyonce, Snoop Dogg, Mary J. Blige, Busta Rhymes, Missy Elliott, En Vogue & Ciara on the foreign scene and King Sunny Ade, Tuface Idibia, D'banj, Weird MC, Majek Fashek and some others I cannot remember on the local scene.

October 7
in the beginning

Jay-Z, presently on a United Nations & MTV "Water for Life International Tour" first stopped in Kwara State for the commissioning of a bore hole project (if I am not mistaken) on Saturday morning.

He was photographed in the newpapers wearing an agbada and fila shaking hands with Dr. Bukola Saraki, Executive Governor of the state. It ain't all about the bling people.

He was also turbaned by the Emir of Ilorin, Alhaji Sulu Gambari on his 'return to the motherland' abi his first trip.

You know how 'Afrocans' do.

Apparently, he got a street named after him: Shawn Jay-Z Carter Road.

Awolowo Road was lined with seemingly adequate security, with guys dressed in white 'Dogg' T-Shirts, some holding dogs (German Shepherds, Rotts, Pitts etc) and others baseball bats. It's on now. The show was billed to start at 1pm but being staged in Nigeria, Africa's most populous country, you know African time had to be lived up to to the max. This segment and the Sunday segment will be from word on the street as I only went for Saturday's show. The stage was finally put together at about five pm (don't quote me on this bit but I was told it was done rather late) and rushed sound checks were conducted to check the equipment. To this effect, the late start that is, the Nigerian acts were cancelled which made most happy but we do have some excellent performers, be it one or two songs at a time. After preliminary check ups and frantic setting up, all was good to go.

calm before the storm
Around 7pm, the concert venue, Lagos Polo Club on Awolowo Road was buzzing with life as many had started filling into the grounds. The separation between the VIP and common folk was rather wide and you had to wonder if the VIP would actually fill out. Then half the common stand was cruelly blocked out by the media center, bang in the middle, where filming, post production and other technical activities (I would like to think) were going on. I found it rather unfair but thanked GOD his light shone on me and I was able to get up front. What was more displeasing than the cruelty to fans was the VIP arrangement. It just further exhibited Nigerians lack of know how. At possibly the biggest concert in Africa ever, there were chairs arranged in front of the stage. Yup! Those white plastic chairs that grace every occasion. Then off to the side, more chairs surrounding the round tables. What a disaster. With old folks and dignitaries cracking dry jokes about Beyonce. How sad. But this is not about them.

At about 7.30pm, the MC walks unto the stage. He is one Tony Okungbowa (I think) who apparently works on the Ellen DeGeneres Show. He was ok, only that he spent too much time trying to detail how he wasn't so naija but he was sha. Whatever. He was in a green Polo Shirt, cream khaki shorts and green sneakers. He went on a bit but started the show off with the first act of the night. The legendary...

en vogue
The Funky Divas hit the stage to raucous applause but I'm not sure if this is because of the ladies themselves or because the show was finally starting. I was personally thrilled. They came out in black tops and blue jeans and if I am not mistaken, they began their set with "My Lovin' (Never Gonna Get It)" and the crowd sang and danced along. It was right up the old folks alley as they rocked too. The ladies were clearly very excited to be there as they really played to the crowd like the seasoned professionals they are. They toyed with the crowd and spoke to us all through, cracking jokes as they went along. "Man it's hot out here, ya'll hot? Yeah! ha ha ha." They went through more of their hits and had the audience's attention all through their 30 minute (or thereabout) set. They did a sung rendition of their classic duet with Salt N Pepa "Whatta Man" and the way they flipped it was incredible! Singing Salt N Pepa's rapped parts was completely off the hook. They went into performance mode (with the chairs and all) for "Giving Him Something He Can Feel", got the crowd involved with pumping fists for "Free Your Mind" plus grown men singing along to the smash hit from the Set It Off soundtrack "Don't Let Go (Love)". They also performed a song from their first album which escapes me now but it was top drawer as well. Dawn (Robinson) was not expected to come along and while Maxine (Jones) and Terry (Ellis) were definitely there, the third (if I am not mad) did not introduce herself as Cindy (Herron) who has to be the finest of the bunch (Dawn is the hottest though). When Maxine went accapella for her rendition of The Jackson Five's "Who's Loving You", the crowd went crazy because they knew what was coming up... their 1990 debut single "Hold On". We clearly (to my surprise) appreciated them and they showed us mad love back, thanking us for a good time before exiting the stage to well deserved applause.

intermission one
Tony came back on and did the whole MC thing. He asked who was coming up next and someone shouted MC Hammer. He went on for a bit with the dude and got him good, so points to him for that. "Somebody buy that guy a CD or something, he needs to roll with the times. Let me look at you. No wonder. You dress like him too. What? I'm not Nigerian? What's my name? What colors have I got on? I will have you know that I am the proud owner of a Nigerian Passport!" (At this point, I'da ended it with 'U Can't Touch This, Hammer' but alas, he ain't me). After dragging things for a bit and claiming he couldn't pronounce his surname, he announced the next act...

With her DJ (a good Jazze Pha imitator) mixing on the ones and twos, a collection of male and female dancers rushed the stage from left and right, and broke into frenzied dance routines like they were on E or something. Then I swear Michael Jackson came out next as the Atlantan representer came out looking more like 'the troubled one'. She was in a white shiny jacket, a bra top and baggy-as-a-sack pants with white sneakers. Oh, and dark glasses too with the mic headset on for full mobility. They danced to "Lose Control" first I believe then she broke into "Goodies" and had the crowd singing along. During that set, she frantically took off the jacket and threw it to the floor to reveal a svelte, toned body. She then went into a rendition of tracks from fellow Atlantans T.I. & Young Jeezy (I think) and had as all throwing our "A's" into the air. I am not really a fan, so half of what she did was lost on me and she kept running back stage almost after every song before she'd jump back out. I will say this though... shorty can dance! She and her crew did an array of moves that were off the meat rack! And the bass was too crazy at one point that the speakers were struggling to handle it. She threw a lot of T-Shirts into the crowd which actually had a pregnant woman and the rumored VP of GTBank fighting for one that either got a hand on. (Oh, the pregnant woman won too) She then came out and in the funniest accent ever and asked, "Bawo ni?" before she declared "Mo nife yin" which for the non-Yoruba speaking cats means I love you (direct translation: I have your love). We all laughed and screamed back "We love you too!" She declared how happy she was to be here. That it was a shame she wasn't staying for long but she would definitely be back if that was ok with us. On cue, everyone shouted "YES!!!" Then the madness continued. More dancing and more songs I don't know. LOL. A mic stand was brought out for a slow song I don't know but it was alright I guess. She did her parts from "Like You" and "So What" which I knew so that was cool. Then her dancers came out one after the other to bust a move and we bad kids in my sect screamed "Go white girl! Go white girl!" when her caucasian dancer got jiggy with it. She then came out with a ripped T-Shirt tied over her top half like a kite, i.e. it was tied at the waist and over the shoulders (right), clearly ready to th'ow down! As the DJ was preparing for the finale, she told him to hang on. "I see where you're going with this so I gotta do this first. You guys have been wonderful. I've had a great time and like I said before, it means so much to me to be here but it's a shame I can't stay too long but I have to capture this moment. So if you don't mind, I'm gonna get my camera and take a picture of ya'll. Ya'll are truly beautiful." CLICK! "Mo nife yin." She then ended it with "1, 2 Step" by collapsing in a heap as part of her routine. It took her a while to get up and we were actually quite worried. She got up, we applauded and she said "e se" before disappearing for the last time.

intermission two
Tony came back out and decided to get the crowd involved. While DJ Cassidy (a white dude) was searching for tunes on his turntables (and laptop & ipod - cheat), another set of turntables was wheeled into the center of the stage. Tony asked for members of the audience to come up stage if they knew old school and he would give out prizes. The DJ would play a song and you had to tell him what song it was. First dude went up in his dark glasses and Punisher T-Shirt but the Prince song played (someone in the crowd told me, shh) sounded like French to him. He got booted off stage as no one cared he thought it was old school hip hop. Next was a chick and I'm not even sure of the song either. She was escorted off via backstage. And last was another chick named Glory, who Tony recognized 'from the club last night.' They played a Run DMC track that the whole crowd was screaming but the ('scuse me) silly chick was busy dancing and got it wrong but tried to stay on stage. Booted. He then introduced the Thisday Publisher as Mr. Nduka because 'his last name is too hard to pronounce'.

thisday publisher
Mr. Nduka went on to do the whole recognition thing and said the next act would come on after the Lagos State Governor came up to say a few words. You know the entire crowd booed that announcement. He went on about how people doubted (I was chief doubter) but they did it and it will be on every year. He then brought everybody and their mama out to say something (but no Guv'na) before he finally says, "So sit back for the master himself, Jay-Z." I thought that was hilarious. But the show must go on.

Tony asked who was up next. We all thought it was Beyonce but still shouted "Hova! Hova! Hova!" (I started that by the way). Remember the turntables I spoke about? Two light skin-ded brothers walk up to them and I'm like, "Oh my GOD! It's Lenny S!" People around me (and I'm sure you guys) were like, "Who?" And I go "Lenny S! Lenny Santiago. Jay-Z's DJ. The Roc DJ!" And everyone is just like, "Ok. Whatever." Then Tony goes, "Who's coming up next?" "HOVA!!!" "Ya'll need to make more noise than that people or he's not coming out! I've been telling them that you live so don't make me look like a liar. They need to here that noise to know you wanna see them. Who's coming on next?" "HOVA! HOVA! HOVA!" "Ok. They feel you don't know their stuff. So when I say 'If you're feeling like a pimp playa' you say?" "GO ON BRUSH YO SHOULDERS OFF!" "Yeah! Where's he from?" I shout, "MARCY!", not sure what anybody else says. "Yeah! And what label does he own?" "ROC-A-FELLA" "And what clothes does he wear?" "ROCAWEAR" "Ok you guys, the next performer is, to me, the greatest MC of all times. Ladies and gentlemen..."

The DJ goes to work mixing Jigga hits, first starting with Kanye's "Diamonds From Sierra Leone" then "Diamond is Forever", "What They Gonna Do", "Do It Again (Put Ya Hands Up)", Punjabi MC's "Beware of the Boys" and a few others. While the crowd is still going nuts, the skit from Gladiator comes on: "Are you not entertained?" and the roars increase. The god himself steps on to the stage in shades, a black Tee, Baggy Jeans, Black timbs and that roc-a-fella chain blinging and goes into "What More Can I Say?" and the Nigerian Flag covers the Big Screen behind him. It was too mad!!! Before we can catch our breath, he goes into "P.S.A." and re-intoduces himself, with the video showing on the big screen plus the names HOV & HOVA being displayed and spelled alternately. He ends the song and waits for the applause to die down, trying to ice grill but he can't help but crack a smile. He introduces Lenny S, who hasn't been on the decks and introduces the DJ on duty as the legendary DJ Green Lantern. It all makes sense now. He then invites Memphis Bleek on stage, who comes in, looking rather round, in the customary black hat to the back, white do rag, white tee, black jeans and white sneakers and they go into (I believe) "U Don't Know". He runs through a string of his tracks: his verse from "Can I Get A...", "Dirt off your Shoulder" (Live feed of the concert showing on the big screen but with Predator-perspective effects added), "99 Problems" (video showing on big screen), "H.O.V.A. (Izzo)" (video showing on big screen), "Heart of the City (Ain't No Love)", "I Just Wanna Love U (Give It 2 Me) (hmm... did big screen show?)" and "Jigga My Nigga". The crowd never piped down once and he was clearly shocked but pleased that majority knew all the lyrics. He also entertained with some of the regular routines from his concerts and a few new ones: For all those who had come up in the struggle, he did "Hard Knock Life" and when he got to the line 'flow infinitely like the memory of my nigga Biggie' the "One More Chance" beat came on and he did the customary "When I say B-I, ya'll say G" call and response chant and you know we followed through. Then he asked for the peace signs for Biggie, Big Pun, Big L, Jam Master J, the A for Aaliyah, Eazy E and for Tupac, with all their images adorning the big screen one after the other, which was followed by "Hail Mary" and then Biggie's verse from "Mo' Money, Mo Problems" which he left for us to rap before he took over agian for his remix for Aaliyah's "I Miss U". There was an Aaliyah collage put together on the big screen for this segment. She's eternally gorgeous. He divided the crowd for the call and response session that is now "Jigga What, Jigga Who" with either side screaming one part. He also ends his last verse accapella on fast forward (you try it - I suggest that/ niggas invest/in a vest/when I come through with the glock jet black/ya'll niggas step back/I'm the best at/you know I ain't no apprentice to this/Me and my niggas we invented this shit/I came into the business with this/the Originator/none greater/Green Lantern drop that shit!) with he and Memph Man clocking his performance and nodding in approval at the end. The division game continued for Memphis Bleek's "Do My..." where Jigga goes, "I'll ride with the niggas tonight, you have the ladies." So Memph Bleek is, "Do my ladies run this muthaphuckka?" while William H. Holla is, "Or do my thugs run this muthaphuckka?" Rather surprisingly, a lot of people knew the lyrics for that one as well. Then Memphis does a verse from "Is That Your Bitch" but before it gets to Hov's bit, the beat for Lethal Bizzle's "Pow" comes on and Jigga and M Eazy start to bounce before Hov rides it flawlessly. I almost died! He also does "Hovi Baby" (much earlier in the set though) and ends it accapella as well, saying the words slowly at first so everyone can get it (I'm so far ahead of my time, I'm 'bout to start another life/look behind you I'm bouta pass you twice) before he speeds it up in the middle (7 straight summers/critics might not admit it/but nobody in rap did it/quite like I did it/If you did it/I done it before/you get it/I had it/got mad at it/and don't want it no MORE!) then slows down again at the end (Don't get it twisted/get it right/did it different/did it better/did it nice/did the impossible/then I did it twice), driving the crowd nuts! He takes the shades off to talk to the ladies and goes into "Song Cry" driving les filles bonkers. He says he's gonna keep it with the ladies and jumps into "Excuse Me Miss". He and Bleek go to the corner and rap to some lucky female for an extended period (I have a friend that swears it was her) and the ladies love it. He thanks the crowd and exits the stage but the crowd isn't pleased. We start yelling again "Hova! Hova! Hova!" because some things are still missing. He's like, "Ya'll not tired yet? Ya'll want more?" and comes back out as Lantern drops the beat for "Big Pimpin'" He loves the response. He then notices Snoop Dogg standing in the corner bobbing his head to the music, in a black hat, black Snoop Dogg jacket, black jeans, black Chuck Taylor's and a white tee. He asks the Dogg Father if he wants to say something but he's alright. For me, honestly, the sighting of Snoop was the hardest thing all night. His presense was awesome! Jay-Z then takes the cheers in for a while longer then tells M Extra, "Ok, lets send em home" and he drops the opening bars of the "Fiesta (Remix)" before Lantern drops the opening chords of "Encore." It's a wrap at this point! Everybody has lost it! As the second verse is about to start, it switches to the beat of "Numb/Encore" and the chants of "Hova!" are crazy!!! He takes it in one last time and thanks Lagos (pronounced LAH-GOES) before stepping off as the date NOVEMBER 21 sprawls across the big screen. You all know what that means.

After a job well done!

intermission three
Now how do you follow that up? Jay had killed it at this point. Murdered it for real! Tony came back out and even he couldn't talk much. At this point, they started rearranging the stage for the show's headliner, Miss Knowles, unveiling a staircase on the stage and then two drum kits on the elevated platform. Wahala de o! In the meantime, they send some funny haired dude out to entertain us.

basket mouth
How is everybody doing? Are you alright? I just got back from the US, you know? I came by Ifesinachi straight.
I never hear pidgin at all this night. Na so so fune everybody just dey blow. Una done forget una self.
How many of una pay N100k? N25 nko? How many jump fence? Ehen. Na dem plenty pass.
(soundcheck for Beyonce starts. Basket Mouth looks back)
Ehen? So na when una wan do soundcheck una come send me commot ma'e I yan? When no be like say na even better money you dey pay somebody. Thomas, stop dat shit.
You know see how Jay-Z all of them dey rap the same way as Eedris dem? Just stand for one place dey t'roway hand to crowd dey go. No dancer, nothing. Nothing dey dere.
(Then he's cracking one joke, it escapes me now, but as he stretches his hand out towards the crowd for emphasis, the drums sound again to which he goes "Na the sound effect for the joke be that." and he loses himself and starts laughing)
I no too sure how all dem dey talk am. Wetin dem dey talk? All de ladies in da house say hey abi ho, abi how? Ma'e I try sha. All the ladies in the house make some noise
Now all the single ladies in the house make some noise
(more screams)
Ehen! See them. How una take afford this VIP ticket? Thank GOD for aristo sha.
(soundcheck continues. He stops. Turns back and looks menacingly at them)
Thomas, stop that shit!
I done dey backstage with Jay-Z, Beyonce dem since. Dem no be boyfriend and girlfriend o! Na me be the boyfriend. Jay-Z na assistant boyfriend. Him just dey spend the kishi but una sabi wetin I dey do.
(winks at crowd)
But if Beyonce sabi wetin I done do am for dream, eh? Chai! I done kiss am die! I done press bobi tire. I done suck bobi. I done do am tire!
(he spots a white guy laughing)
Ah ahn! Oyibo, you dey laugh? You sabi wetin I talk?
(In a British accent)
What I said was, I done suck bobi and press am...
(crowd loses it. Drums again. The menacing stare. He bounds up the staircase to accost the rude drummer)
Ol' boy! Come here. LisTen. Why you dey knack this thing when I dey perform?
(the drummer throws up an apologetic gesture then runs across to the next set of drums)
No o! Come back, come back. I just dey follow you talk. Oyibo? Oyibo? Ben Bruce? I dey follow you talk. Abi na you wan play de two drums? So upon all the money wey una spend, come from Yankee finish, una no fit pay two drummers?
(crowd loses it. He comes back down the stairs)
If Ben Bruce dey here, na play I dey play o! Anyway thanks everybody, have fun.
(that is what I can remember of his short set)

main event
Tony came back out and didn't waste too much time in announcing the lady of the moment...

Her all girl band took to the stage and started belting out the tune for "Deja Vu". The sexy starlet took to the stage in a short, sexy red number. Fresh to def skin (no blemishes), the tiniest waist ever and them hips and thighs (laps as I love to call 'em) too hot for TV. I immediately hated Jay-Z. I have called Beyonce 'alright' for the longest but she is kcufing sexy! However, there was one of her four dancers that put her to shame though. That body was sick! But that's for another day. She went into the whole routine and did her crazy, uncontrolled dance steps. Jay-Z didn't come back out for his verses. No fair. Then she stopped to catch her breath (trust me, she needed it) and appreciated the crowd, telling us what a beautiful country we had. Someone said something about coming to the Motherland and being so happy. It may have been her, Jay-Z or even Tony. Not sure. She asked for some water (and trust Nigerians, this is the point at which we realized she brought her own water while everyone else was on Ragolis) and used what appeared to be a cross between a breathalizer, an inhaler and mouth freshner. Who knows? She then said, "I have a special song I want to sing but I am really nervous. But if you all sing along with me, I'm sure I'll do alright." It takes a while for the crowd to get it but when they do, they lose it! As the words start making sense, everyone joins in, "Arise o compatriots... Nigeria's call obey!" It was bananas. It has never been sung like that before. If you really think about it though, she is a musician, so it is not too much of a stretch for her to sing a song she is given, especially when our anthem is in English but she did a spectacular job of it. The best ever! Heck, I even stood at attention. It was cute however to catch her peeping at the strategically placed lyrics on the stage in front of her. real cute but she's the bomb diggy no digity. To be honest though, Jay-Z and the Snoop sighting had won the day. Beyonce was extra. She was good to look at but for how long? Not taking anything away from her, Jay coming on first really hurt her set. She went through a Destiny's Child medley of "Say My Name" and a few others I can't remember but ended with "Survivor" during which we were prompted to pump our fists. I was expecting "Lose My Breath" but didn't get it. She did a cool song from her new album, "Green Light" then some lovely man bashing song that has "To the left" in the chorus or something? (I am so local. The song is "Irreplacable") I was loving that. She stepped off and came back in a trench coat to drop "Ring the Alarm". That was an up and down performance complete with razz, Nigerian bodyguard looking bouncers, but the dancesteps after, with the "automobile dip it low" was MAD!!! She then came out in an awful flowery skirt that Thisday Style has to put in their "Should have stayed at home" segment and she did my jam "Dangerously In Love" and a few others, I think. I honestly wasn't paying attention. Then she peeled the skirt off (thank GOD), came out with them hotties again and went into the whole booty shake for "Crazy In Love." Still no Jay. Boo! Don't get me wrong, she was good but Jay had been to'e it down by then and it kind of took a lot out of hers but if you haven't seen this girl on stage before, don't get it twisted, she works hard! What? In those high heels jumping up and down? My hat goes off to her regardless.

Midnight, game done! And we left with pretty much no incident. Hope on the horizon for Nigeria?

October 8
in the beginning
The day started with heavy rainfall and that wasn't cool at all. As expected, the ground was all messed up but you cannot stop partying people. Like I said, I didn't go.
Taureanminx will post on it. Look out. So, I will just give you what I heard.

the show
Dare Art Alade came through and did the National Anthem plus a few other tracks and shared the stage with Ikechukwu who happened to be in the crowd with us the night before.

Then 2Face Idibia came out and did a short set.

D'banj the koko master did his thing which was meant to have been off the hinges.

Then Seun Kuti which apparently angered fans.

Then the energizer bunny himself (plus the pot belly) Busta Rhymes and trusty sidekick, Spliff Star did their thing and killed the crowd I hear.

Then it was the turn of one Calvin Broadus, better known as Snoop Dogg to take the stage in a weed smoking frenzy. I'da paid to see that.

Then the rain maker, Majek Fashek did his thing.

And then 60 year old King Sunny Ade took to the stage.

This rounded up at about 2.30 - 3am and most people had had enough so they left. However, the bitch herself, Missy "Misdemeanor" Elliott took to the stage and rocked till about half 4.

There was no VIP apparently as everybody mingled and a lot of area boys were rumored to be in the crowd. Shots were also allegedly fired by angry policemen or soldiers. Sunday's do was a rowdy one but heard it was still fun but not as good as Saturday. Good thing I'm a Hov disciple, eh?

Well, if you got this far (I can't even read over) I hope you enjoyed it. And in parting, I am leaving a list of the artistes that have been here in the last 10 years that I can remember. See ya blog heads.

Usher POLO CLUB, Awolowo Road, Ikoyi. He also performed in Port Harcourt & maybe Abuja.
Ginuwine LAGOON Ozumba Mbadiwe Street, VI (2 nights)
Eve, K-Ci & JoJo POLO CLUB
Naughty By Nature POLO CLUB
Joe (He's been here quite a lot and was just around to chill [i believe] last December) Valentine's Day Concert EKO HOTEL EXPO CENTER
Ja Rule, Wayne Wonder LAGOON
Beenie Man (I believe) LAGOON (I believe)
50 Cent & G-Unit TAFAWA BALEWA SQUARE, Onikan (also performed in Abuja I believe but beef with a Nigerian artiste [Eedris Abdulkareem] didn't let him fulfil Port Harcourt commitment)
Wyclef Jean OCEANVIEW Adetokunbo Ademola, VI (2 nights) and also did Abuja & Port Harcourt
Kool & The Gang OCEANVIEW
Montell Jordan, Debelah Morgan (maybe that was before '96 tho)
JT Taylor of Kool & The Gang EKO HOTEL EXPO CENTER
Howard Hewitt of Shalamar EKO HOTEL EXPO CENTER

Not bad, eh?

Blog Marley out like a million words too late!