It was one of the busiest weekends in Harare as many shows took place around the capital. Most shows were well-attended because people were in a party mood and most promoters are smiling after big numbers turned up for the shows. However, whenever so many shows take place at once, the results are never the same and last weekend was a time of mixed fortunes at numerous gigs.
Toni Braxton proves critics wrong
Pre-show outcry about her failure to appear in public during her stay in the country did not deter R‘n’B star Toni Braxton from staging a memorable act. Toni, who stayed for a week in Harare locked up in her hotel room, showed fans that she has the country at heart and gave them a good performance. Just before the show, she had posted pictures of Harare taken from her hotel room and captioned them “loving Zimbabwe”.
And on Friday she went on to prove that she indeed loved the country and her fans here. The petite Toni, who was accompanied by her two sisters Trina and Towanda, shared the stage with Kenny “Babyface” Edmonds during their first ever African tour. She turned on her star power to bring a quality show which could have been held anywhere in the world.
Her performance left lasting impressions and the show is likely to be memorable for many. First to hit the stage was Babyface, who had the female fans eating out from his palms as he churned some of his very best in music. Dressed in an all-black two-piece suit, Babyface effortlessly delivered a stand-out performance that had everyone singing along.
He ended the set in amazing fashion with a medley of some of the compositions for popular artistes among them Bobby Brown, Tevin Campbell and Boy II Men. “How you all doing?” he asked. “This is my first time to be in Africa and I’m so excited,” he said amid wild cheers from the audience.
Toni was up next and she made a grand entrance dressed in a sexy white leotard to deliver her best under a full moon. “I love you Zimbabwe,” she said, sending the audience into frenzy. She performed all her hit songs including a cover version of the Notorious BIG’s “Big Poppa”.
She also serenaded music lovers with her love songs and delighted the well-heeled who came in their numbers for the show. Borrowdale Racecourse, which was the venue of the concert, was packed and the VVIP that had $150 tickets was also full. The price did not in any way deter fans from attending the concert as this was a lifetime opportunity to see Toni and Babyface on one stage.
Tourism Minister Walter Mzembi who was among the crowd hailed the show promoters BB Music in conjunction with Canoc Live for a great show. “I think as Government we need to support local promoters who bring in foreign acts as big as Toni so that we change the negative perception about Zimbabwe,” he said.
Portia Madondo, who was in attendance, said she was delighted the show lived up to its billing. According to Canoc, plans are already underway to bring more international acts to Zimbabwe. Toni and Babyface are scheduled to continue their African tour in South Africa this week where they have shows lined up for Cape Town, Durban and Johannesburg.
Davido’s short act disappoints fans
He was one of the main acts of the weekend yet Nigerian star Davido could not live up to expectations after staging a short act that left many fans feeling short-changed. There was an outcry from fans when the Nigerian musician played a few songs when people were expecting a longer party.
Although the musician had his good moments on stage when he played some of his hits, people were not amused by his short act and some left the venue in protest. He performed for one hour, which did not satisfy fans.
Thousands of fans attended the show at Belgravia Sports Club expecting Davido to match the standard set by fellow countrymen P-Square, who staged a memorable act in the country. Although his act cannot be dismissed as ultimate failure, people felt he could have done better.
The musician shared the stage with a number of local acts, mainly DJs, and fans enjoyed some sects of the show. A few songs from the “Skelewu” hitmaker brought life to the night and many would have wanted the act to last longer. Wild shouts of disapproval came from the greater part of the venue as it became apparent that Davido would not return to the stage after the short act.
Some people expected him to use a live band, but the musician worked with backtracks. Local acts that warmed up the stage for Davido got a warm reception as fans showed patience in anticipation of the Nigerian’s arrival. Artistes Trevor D, Jay C, Roki, DJ Ash Styles, Smiley and DJ Stavo did their best to keep the crowd entertained.
The show was well-attended despite competing with many other shows that were lined up in the capital. Promoters of the event said they were happy with the show and said Davido did according to his contract. “The difference is that these international acts stick to agreed framework. Local acts can choose to go beyond their proposed slots when the show gets exciting but Davido, like many other international stars, did what was expected of him,” said one of the organisers.
“It is unfortunate that people did not get enough of him and we will try to negotiate for a longer act if we manage to bring him back. We also feel that he has unfinished business because people want to see longer performances from the young man. Partson Chimbodza of Chipaz Promotions that organised the show said he was happy with the show and thanked fans for being peaceful at the show.
Harare Cup Clash leaves lasting impressions
Parking space was a nightmare at City Sports Centre on Saturday Evening as thousands thronged the venue to see different dancehall musicians performing at Harare Cup Clash. The venue was already packed in the afternoon as fans came early to avoid being turned away in case of a full house. Long queues were the order of the day as youths took turns to buy tickets for the show.
It was a nightmare for motorists as they took time to negotiate their way to parking bays that stretched to Bishop Gaul Avenue. Musicians, including Freeman, Mostaff, Terminator, Jah Child, Winky D, Seh Calaz, Soul Jah Love Bounty Lisa, Hwindi President and Jerry B among others performed at the show.
Terminator – real name Albert Nyatsambo – was energetic throughout his performance and he managed to convince the crowd that he is the next big thing in the genre. Songs “Shot Mugedhi”, “Tauya Kuita Take Over” and “Tinofamba NaMwari” were enough to send crowd into frenzy. When he left the stage fans started to shout for his return.
Other musicians who managed to give their best were Hwindi President and DJS Cables and Gerry B. It was a bad day for artist Jerry B as fans did not like his act. They started throwing missiles on the musicians while playing his songs “Hunza Gitare”. Winky D took the stage around 1pm and the musician was a cut above the rest.
He was the ultimate winner of the cup clash, if the response of the fans was anything to by. With his live band the musician belted out his hit songs such as “Musarove Bigman”, “Mirror”, “Mudhara Vauya” and “Machikichori” among others His manager Jonathan Banda said they were doing their best to entertain their fans with the live band.
“The always keep our heads on top of water in making sure that we give music lovers the best,” he said. Banda who has been hailed by different stakeholders in the music industry for his management skills said they would work hard to ensure that they do the best. Seh Calaz was also one of the musicians who gave the best.
He however faced massive resistance from the crowd when he played two songs that mock Soul Jah Love and Winky D. Fans threw missiles on him forcing the musician to sing other songs. Soul Jah Love performed at the event with his wife Bount Lisa and the musician gave his best. It was a competitive event that made a mark and enhanced the power of dancehall music.
Poor turnout at Gospel Greats
Poor turnout marred the Gospel Greats concert that was held at Rainbow Towers gardens on Saturday evening. The show featured musicians Charles Charamba, Mathias Mhere and Mechanic Manyeruke among others. The musicians were however not deterred by the low turnout as they gave good performances.
Pastor Charamba almost turned the event into a sermon as he preached the word of God before belting out most of his yesteryear hits. Songs such as “Machira Chete,” “Rute” “Wamunoda Aurawe”, “Moses”, “Kukunamatai,” and “Kutenda KwaAbrahama” were among songs that kept fans on the dancing floor.
In an interview, Pastor Charambas and his wife Olivia said they were happy with the people that came. The couple has released popular albums like “Johanne 3:16”, “Vhuserere”, “Amen”, “Daily Bread”, “Exodus”, “Sunday Service” and “Verses and Chapters”. The other artiste at the show, Mhere managed to thrill the handful crowd.
He performed songs such as “Favour”, “Chipositori” and “Ephiziba” among others. “We are different from other artists because we are ministers. You can preach the word of God where there are only three people,” he said. He went on to quote the popular Biblical verse that says where there are two people God is the third one. Organisers said it was just unfortunate that the event failed to attract people.
Sulu thrills at Radost
Despite competing with a number of big gigs in the capital, Dendera singer Suluman Chimbetu staged a successful gig at Radost Night Club at LongCheng Plaza in Belvedere last Friday. It was a tough test for him as visiting Nigerian artiste Davido’s welcome party was at Club 1+1 that is located next to Radost.
The musician decided to start his act with the song “Nyuchi”. In the song, Sulu sings about a bird that is not afraid of bees. Quizzed by this reporter if they were not trying to prove they were not intimidated by Davido, Sulu’s publicist Joe Nyamungoma said they were playing songs according to their plan. “That is by coincidence but we are just playing songs according to our plan. I understand every musician makes his playlist before he goes on stage,” he said.
Nyamungoma said they were not even afraid of the big gigs because they had their fan base. “Sulu has worked hard to create a brand so these big gigs were not going to affect us anyway,” he said. Sulu also played songs “Young Man” and “Nhambarakishoni” among other songs that thrilled fans.
On Saturday the musician went on to have another gig at Mushandirapamwe Hotel in Highfield. Meanwhile, the musician will be performing at Peter Moyo album launch on Friday at 7 Arts Theatre. Nyamungoma said they would support the young musician as he launches his second album “Mabasa Amwari”. “It is good for musicians to support each other. We are ready for the show,” he said.