With Easter E-concert, TuBaba Preaches Social Distancing

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Yinka Olatunbosun

The number of views online kept soaring and dropping till it hit 680 views. The King of Nigeria’s pop music, Innocent Idibia otherwise known as TuBaba set the internet abuzz with a first of its kind e-concert for Easter celebration powered by Trophy, a leading alcoholic beverage. Hosted by his beloved wife, Annie Idibia, it was an atypical music concert devoid of physical audience but witnessed by live audience trapped in their homes in compliance with the global lockdown to slow down the rate of Covid-19 infections. The audience were drawn from different parts of the world and the reactions were quite phenomenal. Relying on social media tools like emoticons, many in the audience were able to express their excitement as TuBaba performed some hits from his early years in music as well as a few from his latest ‘Warrior’ album.

Using a simple set, Annie, the host of the show introduced TuBaba’s one-man show. Though the audience could hear a few backup singers, they were not seen. Not even the other band members were visible. TuBaba punctuated his energetic performance with a few moments of Yabis, ranting about the social realities and why Nigerians need to hold the government accountable.

TuBaba stirred emotions in the audience as he sang his classic song of conscience, “U No Holy Pass” from his award-winning 2004 album, titled“Face to Face.” Ordinarily, the nightcrawlers would have danced really hard, but they only posted emoticons to indicate dance while some repeat the lines. For the call-and-response hit track from the 2006 ‘Grass to Grace’ album, titled “See Me So”, the audience were responding in kind, just the way they would in a live concert. And when the icon ended the performance of the song with a ritardando in “Edumare Bless You O.”

While TuBaba was taking a short break, deliberately distancing himself from his wife, Annie selected three lucky winners from the audience to win a sum of N10,000 each. The trick worked as the show recorded more views afterwards. TuBaba gave a tongue-in-cheek performance with “Street Credibility”, saying that since no one is on the street, the song’s lyrics might as well change to “House Credibility”.

That was his cue to educating his audience more about the reality of the global pandemic and why everyone needed to stay at home. He joked about “Amaka” and said, “Amaka should stay at home.” TuBaba’s Amaka jokes are not strange to his fans as they are able to connect it with the character he painted in one of his 2018 collaborative songs, “Amaka” which featured Peruzzi. Fired by innate passion to perform, TuBaba’s performance was upbeat, unwaveringly entertaining even without the physical audience. Relying on the audience’s votes, TuBaba rounded off his first e-concert with the smash pop hit, “Implication” from the 2008 album, titled “Unstoppable”.

TuBaba, in the spirit of audience-performer connection, threw his top into the audience of empty chairs and the online audience reacted simultaneously with witty comments. The legendary artist had made a powerful statement with this e-concert to make lockdown pleasurable and indeed memorable for years to come.