When Wizkid’s fourth album ‘Made In Lagos’ debuted in October 2020, fans were left in awe as one of afrobeats’ most loved prince’s showed a maturity in his sound that was arguably unexpected. Usually creating versatile singles with a highly upbeat made-to-party twang, his more relaxed approach was welcomed with open arms. With singles such as ‘Essence’ (feat. Tems) later dominating charts across various countries, the project emphasised that he is indeed a global star.
Leading with sets from Juls to DJ Tunez, the quality of mixes from the beginning of the concert set an energetic tone for the rest of the night. Although fans waited slightly longer than expected, the roar of happiness that exploded upon Wizkid’s arrival showed he is in fact well worth the wait. Beginning with his single ‘Joro’, the audience erupted into karaoke as he welcomed his UK fans with one of his most distinctive singles. With LED-lighted watches to match the colour of the stage lights, the show was interactive right down to the gifted props.
Though at times it felt like he had not fully optimised the space, given the constraints of a questionably sized stage (and sometimes sound system), Wizkid did well to command his audience’s attention moving around the space and engaging consistently.
‘Made In Lagos’ was a featured-filled project and Wizkid was sure to reflect this during the 90 minutes on stage, with strong performances from artists including Ella Mai, Tay Iwar, Tems and Skepta. As well as those appearances, audience members were also left in shock by surprise guest Chris Brown, who despite not featuring on ‘Made In Lagos’, was introduced as a close friend and supporter by Wizkid.
Wizkid’s consideration of his initial fans also didn’t go unnoticed, as he played a medley of singles from his first album ‘Superstar’ including ‘No Lele’ and ‘Don’t Dull’, honouring the foundations that led him to three sold out shows at the O2 Arena.
In addition to the event as a whole, other notable moments included a warm and melancholy tribute to the late Virgil Abloh who had sadly passed away just hours before the first show. While the mood justifiably dimmed at that moment, Wizkid was able to revive a happier energy in a respectful manner as he proceeded with album favourites including ‘Ginger Me’ and ‘Big Mood’.
The rendition of single ‘Jam’ (feat. Chronixx) was a personal standout, and while his song-mate did not join him, the live band carried the track. Offering a sonically strong replacement that filled the room with a summery energy, I’d almost forgotten we were experiencing one of the coldest winters right outside those North Greenwich doors.
While the wavering quality of sound was sometimes frustrating, this can likely be chalked down to first-night-hiccups and I suspect the next two shows will provide a more polished gigging experience for attendees. Aided by an explosion of red confetti and brightly lit red stage lighting to match, Wizkid ended the night with one of his biggest and most popular singles ‘Ojuelegba’. As the opening night came to a close, it was clear that fans were not unimpressed by one of the biggest and funnest concerts of the year.
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Words: Tochi Imo // @TochiChels