Simi Live In Lagos: A Not So Seamless Experience
“Simi is not a great performer,” a colleague warned me but I brushed this off as a douse of pessimism. No one, absolutely no one was going to ruin this fantasy of Simi for me.
In Nigeria’s music industry, where having artistes with relatable lyrics is hard, Simi has always been one of my go-to music acts. This explains the unbridled excitement and anticipation of watching her perform at her “Simi Live in Lagos” concert.
Although not my first time of getting to see her perform, this would be the first with her as the headliner. The previous experience was at Glenffidich Mavericks Night, which held at Balmoral Convention Center, Federal Palace Hotel Victoria Island Lagos on 19th October 2018. That performance was not enough for me to judge her brilliance as a performer but at “Simi Live in Lagos”, she would have all the time in the world to make me have a full-blown “See me experience”.
Ironically, the “Simi Live in Lagos” concert was held at the same venue of where I first saw her and as at 3pm, I was already dashing away from work to get home in time to prepare for the concert slated to start at 6 pm (Lagos traffic would not rob me of any experience!).
I may have cheated Lagos traffic to get there in time at around 5.30pm but there was no cheating the concept of “Nigerian time”. The show started at almost four hours behind schedule with disgruntled concert attendees like myself watching in exasperation as the organisers hustled and bustled around in a flurry of activities trying to get things in order. As day turned into night, some fans demanded a refund of their ticket money which cost N5,000 pre-show date and N7,500 for regular at the venue. Imagine paying N20,000 for a VIP ticket only to wait for hours on end for the show to start? Not cool!
When the gates finally opened at a little past 9pm, many heaved a sigh of relief as everyone thronged into the venue. It seemed the organisers had not factored that the following day was a Monday and many would need to get back to their hustle.
The designated paparazzi carpet no longer held appeal for many who would have wished to have their photos taken against the backdrop, they just wanted to go in and have the experience promised them to begin. Of course, the “see me, I attended this concert” people didn’t mind the wait and posed against the backdrop for some photos despite the bad lighting. Lighting that had many of the photographers grumbling as they waited to take photos of some attendees and celebrities in attendance.
The show started with guest performances from artistes like Isaac Geralds who managed to lift the spirits of the crowd with his uplifting voice while Nonso Amadi dampened the raised spirits with his lacklustre performance. It was as if Amadi didn’t want to be there and was only there out of obligation because judging from what I know he can do, this wasn’t exactly his best performance.
The crowd went wild when the woman of the moment herself, Simi took to the stage about two hours after the show started in a mass of glittering glory. Dressed in a gold jumpsuit made by Adeaga Bukunmi, the founder of KIEKIETV, Simi was a welcome sight for sore eyes. Several times I have come across Simi’s fashion criticised on social media and but this night, I recall giving her a silent thumbs up for this sheer masterpiece which featured a detachable cape and inner bodysuit. The strategic cut out revealed just the right amount of cleavage to give her the sultry yet classy look she was trying to ooze. To crown her sexiness, she apologised for the delay in kick-starting the programme and the minute she opened her mouth to belt her first number, all grievances were forgiven.
Munching on the small chops and sipping on the cocktail provided for VIP, I was ecstatic like the rest of the crowd as the vocal powerhouse began to weave her magic with songs. There is no doubt that Simi can sing however it quickly became clear that something was lacking, she was being overshadowed by her backup dancers. Perhaps it is the laziness I have always attributed to many Nigerian artistes to come out of their comfort zone, it was clear she had made no exceptional effort to learn some of the dance steps. I understand it may be difficult to sing and dance at the same time but a few cue ins into their dance steps would have made listening to her angelic voice even a better offering. As she detached her cape and strutted the stage in her underused sultry outfit, I understood she was focused on delivering just one single thing, sing!
As she sang, she made conscious or perhaps unconscious attempts to cover her cleavage on several occasions thereby giving off the impression she was not as comfortable as she would like the audience to believe in the outfit. Other times when she wasn’t being so self-conscious, she allowed the confident side to her that I hope as she evolves into as an artiste to show.
When Simi changed into her second outfit for the night for the second part of her performance, the wow effect the first outfit had was no longer there. It was a reinvented creation of the first outfit in the sense that the outfit boasted of the same glitter effect albeit this was a short jumpsuit with a mono strap but with another similar feature of a cut out cleavage section (a distracting feature as she focused good energy on ensuring she didn’t suffer a wardrobe malfunction). For this outfit (made by the same designer), it was her hair by Patricksbeautyzone (inspired by Princess Jasmine from Dinsey’s “Alaadin”) that stole the spotlight.
This outfit was also the introduction of Falz the Bhadguy on stage and they had the audience going wild as they suddenly appeared at the regular section of the venue. From performing their hit collaboration, “Soldier” and a medley of other songs, the two reminded us why they are two of Nigeria’s most sought-after entertainers.
Even with this performance which was applaudable, I still couldn’t help but feel she was holding back and something was missing and then I found it. Adekunle Gold was the missing spark because it was a new Simi when he stepped on stage to duet with her. The chemistry was sizzling, the freedom, the creativity, everything she had been holding back came to the fore. It was as if she had been saving everything for this performance and I will like to call it the “Adekunle Gold effect”. The PDA during their performance, the ease, the effortlessness of it was commendable, it was like watching a Drake and Rihanna perform with just the right amount of flirtiness, coyness, naturalness and talent.
This was the Simi I had been waiting for but sadly it was not an Adekunle Gold and Simi concert and they ended their performance after some songs and it was back to simply Simi.
The final part of the show was ushered in with Simi changing into her third outfit for the night. This time she infused African prints into her outfit which sported a peplum skirt and frills. She had also opted for comfy sneakers as a replacement to the heels she sported with the previous two outfits. This may have been done to ensure a seamless dancing but it was clear dancing with her backup dancers wasn’t her forte and they easily stole the spotlight with their energy and talent forcing her to step back and focus on her strength of spurring them on with her singing.
If anyone asks me if I would be attending a Simi concert again, the answer will be yes but I know it would be with the mindset that I should expect the best of Simi when Adekunle Gold is on stage with her. Simi is no doubt a developing performer who has so much more to offer and in time will reach a level to leave you totally spellbound with the total entertainment package.