Yesterday, Burna Boy’s recently released album, Twice As Tall was nominated for a Grammy in the Best Global Music category, making it his second nomination. The project was released in the middle of the global pandemic, filled with reflective music which suits the current climate of the world, and luckily, we’ve been able to see Burna perform these songs live, through various late night shows. Last week, however, he put on a full-on concert at the O2 Brixton Academy, making us miss outside even more than we already do.
The demand to see your favourite artists perform in the flesh hasn’t quelled because of a global pandemic but has actually seen a huge spike due in large part to the steady influx of singles and albums we’re still receiving this year. Though experts have predicted that it could be a year, or more, until concert experiences are back in full swing, artists around the world are finding more inventive ways to bring the music directly to the fans. Last week, Wizkid had a 3-hour live stream in partnership with Youtube, very shortly after Burna Boy took the stage at O2 Brixton Academy.
Burna Boy has always been renowned for his live performances and though we couldn’t physically rage with his in this instance, he still brought the energy and delivered an unmissable performance for all.
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Two years after he first graced the O2 Brixton Academy for his highly-anticipated Outside tour, Burna Boy returns to the mainstage for his first live performance since the release of his fifth studio album ‘Twice As Tall’. The special virtual event took place at one of London’s most iconic venues and in collaboration with Ticket Master and MelodyVR. Speaking about the performance, Burna Boy shared that: “I can’t wait to come at you, live from London with MelodyVR. This virtual show will be from the heart to my friends around the world. It’ll be twice as close, twice as realistic, and twice as tall.” And he wasn’t kidding about the twice as realistic part, the live show streamed directly from the O2 Brixton Academy was one of the first of its kind to be experienced by fans and listeners at home virtually on their smartphones and VR headsets via the MelodyVR app – with the option to choose from multiple camera angles to get up close to the action as it happens – or on a browser via the MelodyVR web player.
It was a jaw-dropping production and visual show, with a setlist that spanned the African Giant’s greatest hits including “Soke”, “Yé”, “Killing Dem”, “On The Low”, and newer tracks such as “Monsters You Made”, “Comma“, “Real Life”, and “Onyeka” from Twice as Tall. Burna Boy also played fan-favourite collaborations of his from “Jerusalema” with Master KG to Wizkid’s “Ginger”
The most heartfelt part of his performance came right at the middle of his set when the African Giant played the sombre number “20-10-20”, the song dedicated towards the young Nigerian protesters who lost their lives tragically last month. Two days ahead of the one-month anniversary of their tragic passing, Burna Boy lays his emotions bare on the world stage singing his heart out about the police brutality rampant in our country and the government’s involvement in harassing End SARS protesters. This rendition is followed closely by his performance of “Monsters You Made”, another one of his politicly charged numbers that features Coldplay’s Chris Martin.
With this performance, Burna Boy, Wizkid in addition to the virtual award show performances we’ve seen, have shown that the future of concerts and festival experiences is not all lost yet, and there could even be an emergence of a new normal when it comes to live performance. We can still feel the fervour and passion of witnessing our favourite artists perform through the comfort and safety of our screens, as we continue to maintain the necessary socially distancing requirements.
As December, our official party season draws nearer, it would be really nice for us to see even more of these.
Featured image credits/AmariJames
.@tamimak_ Is a Staff Writer at The NATIVE