The singing, choreography, Image and sound quality stick out from Sunday’s two-hour ‘quarantine special’ set that focused largely on Bobi Wine’s material dating back to more than a decade.
This kind of show was one bound to draw a lot of scrutiny and breed comparison – because it’s still an anomaly to stage one during this time. From the onset, several dared to see how far it would go, putting in mind the challenges of connectivity and production today.
With the music industry already grappling with cancelled shows and postponed album releases due to the Coronavirus pandemic, staging a successful live online concert was going to be the mother of all tasks.
The self proclaimed ‘Ghetto Gladiator’ Bobi Wine aka Robert Kyagulanyi graced the stage – an evenly lit green lawn amid palm trees – clad in all-black attire iced with a red bow tie and red suspenders.
As he took his seat bearing his trademark charming smile, he often warmed hearts of his online fans, adjacent to his long time friend and music partner Nubian Li.
“Right now, welcome. Show time!” he started, after strolling from the front door of his ‘Palace-like’ house, lit with multi-coloured beams of PAR moving lights.
Famous producer ‘Dan Magic’, ‘Paddy Man’ on the keys, Micheal Ouma plucking the guitar strings, Solid Band – backing, all broke into ‘Xenophobia’ – a reggae song that condemns the act, racism on the African continent.
The ‘Coronavirus Alert Song’, ‘Mazzi Mawanvu’, ‘Alone But Altogether’, ‘Size Yo’, ‘Wendi’ subsquently followed before he paused, to ponder how his neighbours were feeling – of course, the reminiscent melodies blaring through the night cold in Magere – Gayaza.
“Ladies and gentlemen, my brother on the side, Nubian,” Wine introduced, before adding how he would reveal everyone on the production team.
Rhythmically dancing on the top of his stool, Bobi Wine continued in a more energized mood. He seemed to get emotional on ‘Ebibuuzo’ as he described the state of the city and markets, but held on to deliver a local instrument themed ‘Carolina’ besides a couple of ladies who were roasting maize on a fire.
‘Singa’ continued to draw the best of Wine as he wished to have been “President so that he could give Ugandans food.” ‘Abalungi Balumya’ reminded us of that powerful duet with Nubian that laid bare the casual teenage rollercoaster journey of love.
‘Kiggwa Leero’ got Nubian grooving, ‘For better for worse’ rekindling the memories of Wine’s wedding with his wife Barbie Itungo Kyagulanyi in 2011.
Perhaps his best performance of the evening ‘Situka’ – exposed the chassis of his political career, a hit he outed in 2016, before joining Parliament a year later. ‘Byekwaso’ underscored his values of “truth” on which he has hinged his political message.
In a bid to call for community hygiene and wash hands to mitigate the spread of Coronavirus, ‘Buyonjo’ hit the nail’s head with precision. ‘Freedom’ brought out the revolutionary theme of Wines’ political packaging as he asked Ugandans to unify in the name of patriotism.
Flashbacks of his last concert got summoned in ‘Kyarenga’ – his appearance before crowds at One Love beach, Busabala. ‘Kasukali Keeko?’ sounded a joyous tune to Wine, before he drifted to The Late Herman Basudde’s ‘Bus Dunia’, a genre that seems to be losing steam in these modern times.
His special tribute to the Late Mowzey Radio was a beautiful rendition of ‘Nkwagala’ before turning to ‘Born in Africa’ by the Late Philly Lutaaya, an album that was recorded after he settled in Stockholm, Sweden during the mid 1980s.
Solid band drowned in core Afro-beat mode along ‘Aidah’ – Wine claiming how his “calculator can become a computer”. And while Nubian Li sang along the chorus, Wine kept caressing his red suspenders.
‘Ndi mu na Uganda’, ‘Osobola’, ‘Uganda Zukuka’, ‘Tuli Yambala Engule’ closed out the concert that gathered over 28.8k live viewers but ‘Super Woman’ crowned the Mother’s day special.
The production team of Kim XP delivered a movie-like ending with drones drawing in before hovering over Wine’s mansion, the latter’s rasp baritone spilling affection for his mother over the track.
In a nutshell, Bobi Wine and Nubian Li’s musical dexterity was brought to the fore, his preparation and execution worth the time. His swooners and even some cynics must have surely felt good irrespective of the divide.