Wizkid brings Made in Lagos to London in three-day O2 extravaganza
From the moment Nigerian superstar Wizkid sold out London’s O2 in 12 minutes back in August – and proceeded to sell out two further dates shortly after – it was clear that these three nights would be the event of the year. Made in Lagos, the smooth and serene fourth studio album from Nigerian crooner Wizkid has been flying the flag for African and Nigerian music worldwide since its release in October 2020 and, with Wizkid having cultivated a strong UK fanbase over time, the clamour for tickets should have come as no surprise. For those fans lucky enough to secure tickets, the topic of the Black Twitter timeline quickly transitioned to discussing everyone’s outfits for the night, as the concert became something of a Black British Met Gala, if you will. Many braved the blistering cold to deliver show-stopping looks which somehow added to the allure of the evening.
DJs Juls and Tunez, along with warm-up acts, which included King Promise, Afro B and Ms Banks across the three days, kept energy levels high as fans awaited Wizkid’s grand arrival. After perhaps keeping fans waiting a tad too long – although few would argue the performance wasn’t ultimately worth the wait – the crowd hushed as the man of the hour finally took to the stage, stood atop a rising platform decked out with candles as the strum of guitar chords filled the arena. Cue a rapturous reception as Wizkid chanted the hook to his infectious earworm, ‘Joro’, and the audience roared “Joro!” right back at him. This set the tone for the rest of the evening as Wizkid ran through album favourites ‘Mighty Wine’ and ‘No Stress’, as well as more seasoned hits, like ‘Fever’.
As the title of his album suggests, Wizkid takes his role as a global ambassador for African music seriously. In bringing out the likes of “Africa’s boyfriend” CKay to perform his viral hit ‘love nwantiti (ah ah ah)’, Buju to assist with performing the deluxe album cut ‘Big Mood’, and Tems – who stole the show when she graced the stage for the album’s biggest hit ‘Essence’ – Wizkid managed to share his spotlight with the next generation of Nigerian superstars. His special guests did not stop there, with him continually surprising fans by inviting past collaborators, both from London (including the likes of Skepta, Ella Mai and Krept & Konan) and beyond (including the likes of Koffee and Burna Boy), to join him on stage.
A particular highlight of the night arrived when DJ Tunez proclaimed, “Do we have any day one Wizkid fans in the building tonight? This ain’t for you Essence warriors!”, before launching into a medley of back-to-back classic hits, like ‘No Lele’, ‘The Matter’ and ‘Don’t Dull’, as Wizkid dollar bills rained from the sky. For those of us who have been fans of the afrobeats superstar since his introduction in 2010, the nostalgia was nothing short of euphoric. Another personal favourite moment was his performance of ‘Jam’ from Soundman Vol. 1, his 2019 EP which effectively acted as a precursor to 2020’s Made in Lagos.
After slowing down the tempo to perform ‘Smile’ and ‘Blessed’ in a stripped back, poignant and fitting tribute to fashion designer Virgil Abloh, who sadly passed away just hours before the Day 1 show, Wizkid picked up the pace again as the show approached its finale.
With complaints of sound quality lacking at times, and unfortunate incidents of security breaches as fans rushed into the gig on Day 1, Wizkid’s three nights at the O2 certainly weren’t without controversy. Not least, his inviting R&B crooner Chris Brown – who had previously not performed in the UK for over a decade as a result of his infamous 2009 domestic abuse charge involving pop superstar Rihanna – to the stage to perform ‘Go Crazy’ divided opinion and left some in the crowd uneasy. A bizarre moment on Day 3, during which a clearly intoxicated Wizkid attempted to lift his guest Tems also made for uncomfortable viewing. However, these aberrations aside, there was a feeling of triumph as “it’s legendary beats” blared through the speakers, confetti rained down and ‘Ojuelegba’, the unofficial Nigerian anthem, filled the O2 in what felt like the crowning moment of a glorious night spent celebrating over a decade of music from this bona fide global phenomenon.