Music lovers and enthusiasts in Awka, Anambra state last Saturday must have wished for day not to break when the Star Music Trek rocked their city. The annual concert tour sponsored by premium beer Star lager had brought Timaya, MI, Yemi Alade, Naeto C, Raw, 2Face Idibia and many others to the bustling Eastern city and even after the last performer on the night had left the stage, the mammoth crowd at the De Geogold Hotel stayed hoping for an encore performance by 2Face. Instead, DJ Snoop Damaja took it to another level with his trademark head-bopping tunes from the wheels of steel.
Who could blame them for their hesitation? It is not very often that they get to have premium entertainment at such a low cost. Earlier in the day, people had been arguing over the show’s ticket price as they passed by the concert venue. They found it unbelievable that they could get to watch the biggest Nigerian music superstars perform without paying an arm and a leg. Surely it was too good to be true. Skepticism notwithstanding, perhaps out of curiosity, a long queue was seen outside the venue long before the show kicked off. The city came alive the moment the concert started. It seemed as if the entire youth population of Awka crammed itself into the venue to be part of the show which was tagged AwkaRocks!
With OAP/Hype Man Do2dtun stirring the crowd as host on the night, two females got to compete in a dancing competition and the winner carted away a cash prize of N10, 000. Lending his support from the wheels of steel, DJ Snoop Damaja increased the momentum to a staggering tempo with his revelling mix of old skool, hip-hop, dancehall and afro-pop. He was later joined by DJ Switch. The crowd was literarily begging for more as Do2dtun walked into the crowd, took selfies with them and shared drinks. They just could not have enough. Even when their local artistes came on stage, they didn’t frown or hiss but likewise encourage them. In the spirit of the 2015 Star Trek Theme “My Superstar Story” which serves to inspire youths to become successful, STAR gave budding local talents in Awka the opportunity to showcase themselves on the night and they did not disappoint. Awka rocked to the sounds of budding talents like Rubicon, Starule and Thiotee – who dazzled the crowd with his prowess on the Harmonica. There were also performances from Immaculate, Joe-El and others.
By the time Raw got on stage to perform, the audience were already in the mood to have a very good time. His theatrics on stage endeared him more to the people like a tidal wave. For instance, his rendition of his popular hit ‘Obodo’ was accompanied by a traditional ensemble comprising of a chief priest and two female servants who also doubled as dancers. He also got the crowd going wild when he performed one of his hit songs “Gyration”. Apparently, this particular song is a crowd favourite in Awka as they could not contain themselves. As if on cue, they raised their hands in unison, gyrating to the rhythm of the song and when he beckoned them to clap, they didn’t hesitate to indulge him.
Other songs performed by the Abia state rapper include, “I’m in love with an angel”, “Spiritual Konji” and his latest hit “Blow my trumpet” with Fanzy Papaya. Raw who is a staple on the annual Trek made his first appearance on this year’s edition at AwkaRocks!
His performance was quickly followed by a dance performance by the group Titans.
Being her debut at the Star Music Trek, Yemi Alade stole the night away with her performance.
First, a stunt double waltzed on stage with two dancers. Immediately, they started dancing to ‘Baby Hello’ by Wande Coal which featured her. The crowd almost believed that the lead dancer was Yemi Alade for she was stunningly, a spitting image of the feisty singer. Not until Yemi Alade regally walked into the stage to interrupt their performance, did the crowd realise that the lady in the singer’s signature African print hooded jacket was not the singer. They screamed in surprise and excitement at the singer’s stage trick.
Rocking a short flair dress and a blue fishtail braid, she sets about doing what she knew how to do best-entertain. She danced with the dancers before performing her hit songs like “Taking over you”, “Temperature” and “Tangerine”.
Expectedly, she was feisty on stage and a delight for the crowd to watch. Although they didn’t know all her songs by heart, they were willing to be taught. They were intrigued by the energy she brought on stage. Her performances were a delicate balance of vocal chords and dance prowess.
Performing with a live band gave her the opportunity to freestyle. For instance, during her performance of “Taking over you”, she did a quick remix by adding an Ibo lingo to it, which earned her more admiration from the crowd. In another performance “Kissing” from her 2014 album “King of Queens”, she did a French snippet for her fans. When at last she performed Johnny, the crowd went agog. They happily sang along as if they have been waiting for this performance all their lives.
The Ten over Ten crooner Naeto C’s performance was preceded by a surprise performance from Tony one Week. He performed his hit songs “5&6, “Gentle oh” and his latest hit featuring Flavour “Helele”.
Like an actor in the action film, MI waltzed on stage in a slow motion walk as his DJ, Lamborghini announce his arrival. Unable to contain their excitement, they screamed their lungs out, waved their hands and swayed their bodies at the sight of Mr Incredible. They were seemingly incredibly excited to have him in their town.
Right on cue, he kicked off his performance with “Action Film”. He took the crowd back memory lane with his classics ‘Anoti’ ‘Nobody test me’, ‘Overkilling’ and others.
MI made a good impression on the crowd when he gave a fast rap freestyle. He received a resounding cheers and screams.
Known for his tradition of proposing to girls on stage, he was however beaten to his game when Do2dtun brought on stage a young lady Ngozi who couldn’t dry her tears for MI. Her profound admiration for the artiste was too deep and she just could not stop spilling tears for MI ever since he got on stage. Touched by this loving gesture, he serenaded the lady with his hit song “One Naira”.
Before leaving the stage, he prayed for his fans, another tradition of the music concert. In previous editions, artistes on the music tour made it a habit to rain prayers on their artistes. Naeto C and MI continued in this fashion, so also would Timaya and 2face in their performances.
The Egberi Papa 1 of Bayelsa, Timaya received a resounding cheer when he came on stage. In his signature, he kicked off his shoes and walked into the crowd bare-footed. He kicked off with “Bow Down” and moved on to other songs like “Ukwu”, “My Body” among others. But the crowd yearned for him to perform his newest rave “Sanko”.
For this particular performance, he sang a medley of old ghetto songs like “New Dance” by Marvellous Benji, Africa China “Crisis” among others. He also seized the opportunity to advocate for good leadership from the in-coming administration. Earlier, Raw dedicated a rendition of Bob Marley’s “One love” hit to victims of terrorism and advocated for unity in the country. 2face would later toe in this line during his performance.
Timaya suddenly stopped the music and asked the crowd to clap. Instead of clapping, the crowd started to sing a gospel song. What followed was a torrent of prayers showered by Timaya who suddenly became the choirmaster in this gospel chorus.
There are no words to capture the ecstatic state of the crowd when face came on stage. They screamed, they cried, they stretched forth their hands just to touch a hem of his cloth. The ambience was too electrifying and the temperature exceeded the allowed party limit. Cheering the crowd, he kicked with a fast-paced rendition of “Nothing dey happen”, then moved to “For Instance” . While performing this hit, he thanked the crowd for voting and not fighting in the recently held election. It can be recalled that the artiste embarked on a rigorous campaign “Vote Not fight” before, during and after the election to promote peace and free and fair elections.
Unable to restrain himself anymore, an overexcited fan meandered his way to the stage and hugged 2face fiercely. 2face’s performance was a seamless transition as he took the crowd back and forth with his songs, infusing reggae, ballads and high tempos when necessary. At a point, he elicited a nostalgic ambience, particularly when he serenaded a female fan, MaryJane with his love ballads like “Let somebody Love You”, “African Queen”, “If Love is a Crime” among others. His gestures during these performances excited the crowd that they kept begging for more.
Still down the memory lane, he played some old tunes and asked the crowd if they could recollect songs like “Eddie Quansa’ the popular theme song of the 80s TV drama “New Masquerade”, 9ice “Konga Aso” and his featured song with P-Square “Possibility”.
Joe-El couldn’t have had a better night when 2face, his mentor, called him on stage to perform alongside with him. He prostrated in respect to 2face in which the latter humbly asked him to stand. Together they performed “Hold On”. Another lucky fan also got the chance to be on stage with the superstar. To show how much he appreciated his fans, he took a selfie with the crowd before singing “Something dey Happen” in appreciation of their love for him. He closed the curtain with “Implication”, bringing an end to an eventful night.
Speaking on the huge turnout for the event, the Nigerian Breweries Plc Corporate Affairs Adviser, Kufre Ekanem promised that the second phase will be better. In his words,
“This first phase is just a tip of the iceberg. Star Music Trek is committed to give every music lover and fan in any of the selected cities and beyond premium entertainment. We want these youths to be empowered by the superstars we will be bringing to their cities and encourage them to pursue their passion in music.”
The Star Music Trek AwkaRocks! concert delivered on its mission to provide a platform for Nigerian youths to shine. For these youths, the event was greatly anticipated as it provided them the opportunity to showcase their talents as well as learn from the superstars on stage. In the past twelve years, the brand has maintained its tradition to promote the music inclined youths. As such, it is with great anticipation that the youths welcome the Star Music train to their cities.
Prior to the concert, the Trek also organised a gig at the Star Village Beer to warm up the music lovers for the main show.
Corporate Media And Brand PR Manager, NB Plc, Edem Vindah added,
“Star has evolved from being a household name in the beverage industry to becoming a pivotal leader in empowering our youths to take charge of their lives. We understand the driving passion of our youths towards music and entertainment and we ensure that they have the right platforms to make it a reality.”
Awka marked the end of the first phase of the Star Music Trek which also had eventful stopovers in Abakaliki and Calabar.
The next phase of the Trek will kick off in August when Sapele, Ibadan, Lagos, Makurdi and Auchi will have the time of their life with their favourite superstars.