Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Wyclef rescues Accra show

The best performer in the world, Wyclef Jean proved his mettle once again at the Zain 026 Experience show in Accra on Saturday 22 November as he saved the blush of the organisers with his performance and not allowing the poorly organised show go into the annals of history as the biggest flop in Ghana.

Billed as the biggest show in West Africa this quarter, it featured other international performers Eve, Mario, 2face and Ghanaian stars Kwaw Kese, Obrafuor, and Tinny. The show at the ultra modern Ohene Gyan Stadium was expected to bring in the biggest crowd ever but the crowds didn't turn up. A scanty crowd made up mostly of young people waited eagerly for the show which was scheduled to start at 5 pm GMT. It didn't start until well past 9 pm. The stadium authorities made things worse as they didn't allow the crowd onto the grass. The beautiful stage was constructed at one end of the pitch while the crowd sat like orphans in the stands, almost 300 metres away.

Another ingredient that marred the show's success was the poor sound quality from the sound systems. The mics refused to work. Artiste after artiste had to improvise in the use of the mics. There was sound on the stage but no feed to the audience. Hence, the early singers performed on stage, singing and dancing by themselves without the audience feeling it.

The day would have been the worst night in history until Wyclef Jean came on and turned the stadium on its head. First, he entered onto the grass wearing a local Northern Ghana smock and crown while waving the Ghanaian flag. The audiene jumped o its feet and sang along to his Rasta songs. He soon requested for the gates to be thrown open saying "I didn't fly 10 hours to have my people watch from behind the fence". The crowd was pleased with this and started chanting and clapping "Open the gates".

The authorities wouldn't budge so Clef decided to go into the crowds himself by jumping over the fibre glass fence sending the crowd into a frenzy as everyone wanted to touch him. He was so agressive that he didnt need bodyguards to assist him as he shoved aside over-eager fans who were holding him down. This further agitated the crowds as it made them feel like he was one of them.

His performance that night was genius. He took the crowd on a roll of his best tracks like 911, Redemption Song (a cover of Bob Marley's), and a few of his other songs. He did a number with Eve, the song L.O.V.E Y.O.U and a free style session with Reggie Rockstone. His boundless energy is typical of him as I saw him at the Black Gold Concert in Lagos in 2004. He is such an awesome performer playing the guitar and konga drums with other Rastas when there was a power outage on stage. He promised the audience he was going to wait until power was restored even if he had to wait till 7 am.

He really saved the night as the crowd was pretty angry at the poor preparations towards the show. In a press conference the day before he had promised to give Accra a night to remember and he did just that.

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