Clemence Marijeni in LONDON
THE lyrics of Tocky Vibe’s big hit “Tocky Aenda neNyika” changed to “Tocky Aenda neMari” at the end of undoubtedly the biggest pay-weekend of his career so far in Leicester and Dunstable.
Making his maiden tour of the United Kingdom, Tocky Vibes left the stage with bulging pockets full of pound sterling notes as appreciative fans in the capacity crowd “pelted” him with cash on stage during his two gigs on Friday and Saturday. Tocky pulled record crowds for a UK dancehall gig as both shows were sold out and characterised by crowd trouble as scores of fans were turned away because the venues were full.
Police were called on Friday night at Streetlife Night Club to disperse fans following trouble when overeager would-be patrons overpowered doormen to gain free entry.
It was the same situation the following night at the much bigger Dunstable Leisure Centre. Fans also forced their way in after being advised that the venue would not accomodate additional revellers. The gigs also featured another Zim dancehall artiste, Lady Squanda.
But it was Tocky, making his first appearance in the UK, who was the major drawcard. And revellers, who included former Zimbabwe national soccer team captain Benjani Mwaruwari, responded with mammoth turnouts which have only so far been witnessed at Oliver Mtukudzi’s shows.
Many Zim dancehall artistes have toured the UK since the genre became a hit in recent years but none have surpassed the attendance of the weekend show. The only other gig to have pulled a huge crowd was the 2014 Summer Fiesta in Dunstable, Coventry and Manchester. That show in early May featured seven big name artistes, namely Enock “Nox” Guni, Seh Calaz, Soul Jah Love, Shinsoman, Guspy Warrior, Trevor Dongo and Free- man.
The hype Tocky Vibes has created with his thought-provocking lyrics which rocked the airwaves and many gigs back in Zimbabwe must have created the excitement and anticipation that saw thousands of his followers attending the shows to catch a glimpse of the man of the moment. And the fans, in a show of appreciation, dipped into the pockets to shower the unassuming artiste with cash as he rocked the full houses.
In Leicester, Tocky came on stage dressed in a white “apostolic faith” robe and no sooner had he started that fans began to throw pound notes of varying denominations.
The next night at Dunstable, this time he was dressed in casual blue trousers and matching shirt. He must have regretted wearing tight pants as his pockets were clearly overwhelmed with the cash he kept picking and shoving down his pockets. A gentleman who was perched on the balcony directly above the stage threw more than £200 worth of £20 notes in a Nigerian movie style scene which stunned the artiste.
And Tocky embraced the glorious moment in comic style as he paused singing momentarily while looking at the raining cash before murmuring his signature slogan “ah ah hi hi hi”. The amount Tockey pocked could not be established but the total he could have got at the Dunstable show only, most probably surpassed £1 000.
Turning to the stage performance, Tocky did not disappoint and kept fans in a frenetic mood with his tunes. Fans gyrated and sang along to most of his songs with “Ngoma Dzorira” and “Tocky Aenda Nenyika” drawing the loudest cheers.
His other songs “Mhai” and “Hama Dzakatisiya” elicited mixed emotions. While others sang along one lady who was next to this correspondent shed tears at the Dunstable gig.
The only damper was the fact that many fans were turned away on both occassions and promoter Joab Mugugu of Phab Entertainment, acknowledged that this was due to an oversight on their part as they did not anticipate Tocky would pull such huge crowds.
“It was his first time here and we didn’t know what to expect.
“If we had known we could have booked much bigger venues. We underestimated the popularity of the guy. His music is full of sensible lyrics and transcends various age groups. He doesn’t sing hate songs neither does he engage in personality clashes. That is why he was able to pull such big crowds,” said Mugugu.