Iyke Bede writes that despite the one year hiatus, the second edition of the Falz Experience pulled in some good figures
With over a score hit songs, exuberantly choreographed dance moves and a handful of featured acts, The Falz Experience returned last weekend to wow thousands of fans and music lovers for its second edition at the Eko Convention Centre, two years after the first.
Following the success of the maiden edition in 2017, expectations for a sequel the following year were high. In fact, music lovers were certain it would take place; sadly, it never did due to personal reasons stated by the rapper. With the concert’s unexpected hiatus, critics almost tagged it a one-hit wonder.
The concert’s saving grace from that infamous label was the announcement of The Falz Experience II last month, marking it as the official second concert in the series of what is now shaping up to become a franchise. But the big question remained “how was it going to be different this year?” Well, in comparison to the first, not much changed, but it sure came with a few tweaks.
Just like in 2017, the second edition revisited a lot of aspects like venue, stage and concept. It isn’t thematically different in terms of its core message of activism and pop culture but for a few, newly introduced performance styles affected by new material from the musician’s recent effort “Moral Instruction”. A better part of what was revisited remained the energy he brought on stage backed with the effortless choreography from dancers on song and interlude performances.
A documentary having the rapper’s alter egos elaborately discussing the theme for each scene helped guide the audience through each performance. Somehow, it also managed to highlight trends in the industry and the country at large. In one of the scenes, Falz subliminally addressed the ‘40 seconds’ internet saga that transpired between Tonto Dike and her ex-husband Olakunle Churchill.
Starting off on a warm note set by his speech, Falz launched into performing ‘Soft Work’ before progressing to ‘Jeje’. The evening’s warm ambience shifted to a sensual one when Falz performed a stripped down, R&B version of ‘Sweet Boy’. Unaware of stunts planned for the evening, the crowd were thrilled to a strip tease session that saw the singer almost replicating signature moves from the ‘Magic Mike’ films. This singular concept wowed the packed hall beyond expectation. A proof to this excitement laid in the encore performance that featured the delectable Sola Sobowale in her usual feisty mode.
Whilst the crowd were thrown into frenzy in that brief moment of excitement, what came next was unexpected in the main performance of ‘Sweet Boy’. Timini Egbuson who appeared in the visuals for the song was called up on stage alongside Tobi Bakre and Mawuli Gavor to strut the runway in a fashion that revealed their alpha male status. With this exhibition came along the attention showered on them by daring, voluptuous ladies. Apparently, this didn’t sit well with some other celebrities who felt they had lost their magic at garnering attention from their female counterparts.
Basketmouth, IK Osakioduwa and JJC Skillz with their wives seated right next to them apparently fell into this group. Despite their wives being present, they all rushed to the stage to upstage the youngsters who received all the love that evening, instantly incurring the wrath of their wives who snagged them from the clasped hands with the ladies onstage. The unrestrained nature of actor Funke Akindele had the entire audience in shock; her act came off as real. Also, the internet reacted positively to this, thus making the video go viral moments after.
A couple of concepts introduced in this edition were brilliantly executed in a fashion that added flavour to the entire mix, and also reflected the idea behind the songs performed. One of those moments was the choral themed performance of ‘Brother’s Keeper’ that also used ballet influences for effects. It projected the song’s essence in a manner that had the audience ruminating on the lyrics, although not for too long. Soon, the aura switched from a sombre one to an impassioned one where voices from the audience served as backup vocals to the lyrics of the activism tinged track ‘This Is Nigeria’. The vision behind the track was brought to life on stage as rendered in the actual video that sparked controversies nationwide. This helped those present at the venue to connect well to his career defining track. Other tracks that applied similar messaging were ‘Hypocrite’, ‘Follow Follow’, and ‘Talk’.
On stage presence, the chemistry between Falz and his featured acts remained unmatched. It was a thorough re-enactment of what the actual visuals to the songs portrayed. From his collaboration with YCEE, and Ice Prince, both, where braggadocio reigned supreme, to his lovey-dovey moments with Simi, simply went to speak of his musical flexibility at working with just about anyone in the industry.
Simi’s introduction onstage to feature soon turned into a solo performance where she basked in matching yellow jumpsuit and shades, single handedly swaying the audience as she walked from one end of the stage to the other. Her performance was mellow, yet it was effective at capturing attention. Simi’s performance was a kickoff of solo female performances. Right after her vocal showcase, Seyi Shay emerged on stage to perform her recent offering ‘Koma Roll’ before going full salsa mode on ‘YOLO’.
If Simi set the pace with Shay increasing the tempo, then, house music diva Niniola brought fire and ferocity to the stage during her medley performance of ‘Designer’, ‘Bana’ and ‘Maradona’. Her performance had a good fraction of the audience on their feet dancing for the first time during the show. In short, she made all the other performances look like the opening act.
As far as number count goes, The Falz Experience II pulled in some good figures. This is especially impressive considering that the maiden edition gained traction off the festive period and more so at a time when Falz had more songs on the charts. Whether it lived off the success of the first or the demand that grew from its scarceness, what’s undeniable is the brand Falz has built; one which seemingly cannot be dulled by a lack of fresh concept, an hour and a half delay, or a lack of seamlessness in track transition that couldn’t match the swiftness of his wardrobe changes between sets.