The singer-songwriter-performer used a brilliant assembly of poetry, choreography, pantomime, drama, and song, to create an unforgettable night for the thousands that came out for his 12th anniversary concert.
The Harbour Point auditorium must have been more than pleased with Sound Sultan, his band, the Crown Troupe, DJ Jimmy JATT, the many guest acts, and the creative team, for a brief but near-excellent show that proved that not all concerts held outside the Eko Hotels’ insanely expensive yet structurally and technically inflexible hall, are subpar.
A veteran by all definitions, Sultan did not seem like he was trying to prove any point, yet that’s exactly what he did – showing, with each set, that he’s not in the league of today’s hit-drunk pop stars who have no qualms miming at their own concerts.
Starting from his debut album ‘Kpsheew— the sound of a Frustrated Mouth’, he worked with the band to deliver Jagbajantis, ghen ghen and more, with minor tweaks only ardent fans would notice.
Lanky and fragile in person, the boldness and courage of his lyrics made many compare him with Fela since the early 2000s. Last night, he brought back those memories again, with the power of his lyrics, with some of his Fela-inspired costumes, and with a surprise Afrobeat set that featured that genre’s king Femi Kuti.
But Femi was not the only king that came out to jam with Sultan. Africa’s king of pop and a legend in his own right 2face Idibia joined his friend for a thought-provoking performance of ‘bush meat’; while M.I, arguably the leader of Nigeria’s hiphop community, joined Sultan for their conscious collabo ‘2010’.
Just before M.I and 2face, the concert paid a powerful tribute to hip hop, with an elaborate freestyle session featuring some of the rappers that matter today: Yungsix, Ice Prince, Ikechukwu, Dr SID and Uzi. 2face and Timaya would have made that list, had the show’s director not chased them off stage, midway into their ambush freestyle skit.
Unpredictable from A to Z, a fashion session engineered by co-host IK Osakioduwa would lead into a performance of Sultan’s ode to plus-sized women ‘Orobo’; just as a brief stand-up act by Koffi (who was at his best last night, despite the initial lukewarm reception) would lead into, first a drama featuring Sound Sultan as groom-to-be who waits impatiently for his bride-to-be (Tiwa Savage) during a traditional Yoruba engagement ceremony; and later a Sultan-Tiwa duet of ‘Oko won lode’. With Crown Troupe members as support cast (friends of the groom, friends of the bride, parents-in-law etc), and Koffi as overzealous MC, the wedding episode continues, with 9ice performing for the ‘couple’, before Fuji giant Adewale Ayuba emerges, to entertain them with hits from the 22-year-old evergreen Bonsue LP, getting us all on our feet, screaming – such incredibly scripted; almost impeccably executed show that the words of no writer can fully capture.
In spite of noticeable sound hitches and repeated dead air, and a few performances that failed the test, this low budget concert gets a first class – where many before it, for example, the Davido O.B.O. concert, fails woefully. Young boys like Davido should actually have been at Harbour Point last night, taking notes.
Welcome to the Legends’ club, Sound Sultan. Please take a bow.