Inside Burna Boy’s frustrating New Year day Love Damini concert

Everything seemed set for one of Nigeria’s Afrobeats superstars and grammy award winner, Burna Boy, concert on New Year’s day. The concert branded “Lagos Loves Damini” was held at the Eko Energy City by the coastal waters of the Atlantic Ocean in Victoria Island, Lagos.

For a lot of young Burna Boy fans on social media, it was an opportunity to watch one of their superstar celebrity idols perform live on stage to a local audience in Nigeria. Burna Boy had a splendid 2022, releasing chart-topping albums and singles that dominated local and global charts. His monster hit “Last Last” even made it to Barack Obama’s playlist for 2022.

Organizers of the show must have taken all this into consideration setting up ticket prices ranging from N100,000, N50,000, and N30,000 for VVIP, VIP, and Regular respectively. The year 2022 was a difficult one for most Nigerians as inflation and exchange rate depreciation decimated purchasing power of citizens across the country especially young Nigerians. Nevertheless, it was “Detti December” and fans were not about to miss one of the most anticipated shows in the yuletide celebration.

The show was billed to start at 7 pm and close at 11 pm, a 4-hour sprint that could see Burna Boy reel out most of his amazing hits of the year and past years. In perhaps an attempt to tease his fans, Burna Boy tweeted “tonight” sharing an image of the show organized by WonderX.

Despite Nigeria’s notoriety for “African time” most fans decided it was better to get to the show on time to avoid stories that touch the heart. Most fans on social media tweeted posts of them arriving as early as 6 pm just to be sure they avoided the traffic and secured a great spot.

By 7 pm, the DJ blasted music from the speakers as fans danced to some of Nigeria’s most popular Afrobeats sounds in anticipation of the star of the night. But as some fans danced into the late hours of the night, others faced a torrid time getting to the venue. Traffic jams within Victoria Island meant some fans spent hours on the road commuting to the location.

For those who managed to get to the venue, finding suitable parking was another horrible experience, waiting as much as two hours in a queue of vehicles that stretched into the streets of Ahmadu Bello Way. Yet, the determination of most fans kept their impatience and frustration in check hoping the show will turn them into fun and excitement.

Reality started to hit home for most fans when at 11 pm, Burna Boy was nowhere to be found and the DJ had stopped playing. Most took to social media to complain bitterly as they had hoped the show was about to start after the DJ stopped playing. For those who just managed to get into the show after grueling hours of wait in traffic, it was mixed feelings as the seeming delay was a blessing in disguise. However, on getting to the venue proper, VIP ticket holders found out they had no “special sitting” arrangement and had to stand just like the others. To get a better view and seating just like the VVIP fans got, most had to pay extra in the venue for access.

While all this went on in the background, Burna Boy was yet to show up just as the organizers of the show preferred not to update attendees why a show that was meant to start by 7 pm had still not started by midnight. By that time, the frustration and grown to anger and resentment forcing most attendees to rely on o social media to rain abuse on Burna Boy and the show organizers. Despite the complaints, Burna Boy was still not out.

Unbeknownst to most of the fans attending the show, Burna Boy was facing challenges of his own. While his team battled with show organizers over the quality of the sound, some suggested he was still on his way and probably caught up in the same grueling traffic. Other unofficial accounts suggest he was already at the venue and was simply waiting for the sound to be fixed.

A video on Twitter suggests fans saw his convoy come in just before midnight increasing the level of anger and confusion at the venue. By 11.30 one fan tweeted “We have been waiting for over 4 hours where are you for godsake!!!!!!”

As the anger boiled over most fans started trooping out of the venue, frustrated that a show that was meant to start at about 7 pm was yet to begin and the person whom they all came to see had not appeared and neither had he even put out any explanation directly or via his management.

Yet, thousands of fans remained in the venue determined to see their superstar perform. Some die-hard fans even made excuses for him as they opined the delay could be due to issues beyond his control. It was now 1 am and the superstar was still not available even as some fans took solace in the fact that he was already at the venue. Some had no choice but to keep waiting.

As the night grew colder another fan tweeted by 1.55 am one fan tweeted, “The situation on ground. Almost 2AM and Burna Boy’s concert is basically yet to start. Some people have been around since 9PM. For an artists with the highest level of international exposure this is beyond terrible and unprofessional.”

Burna Boy will eventually show up by 3 am explaining to fans who have waited for over 8 hours that the reason for the delay was the sound. This was the first official communication for most people at the venue explaining what was going on.

He also explained he had been around since 9 pm and decided to stay back because he still loved the fans. He then went on a rant claiming his decision to stay back was due to the plea from fellow Nigerian artiste Seyi Vibez. At some point, he went after some fans who he claimed accused him of a shooting incident at a nightclub and also suggested his mother danced with Fela. Some fans were having none of that and booed as he continued.

“If no be Seyi Vibes, I for just don dey go house. But I dey here with una, after you na don talk sey I kill person for Cubana, after una don talk say my mama dance for Fela.” Burna Boy speaking in pidgin English.

His comments angered more fans, who expressed their anger by leaving the show amidst complaints on social media. But his die-hard fans remained and were eventually rewarded when he came out by 3.30 am to perform for a show that was to start about 8 hours earlier.

Burna Boy went on to perform about 8 of his best songs ending the night with arguably the most popular Afro Beats jam of the year 2022 “Last Last”. Die-hard fans who had soon forgotten about the frustrations and anger tweeted their delight at seeing him perform.

For some, it was a fitting end to a frustrating night and was better than waiting for so long and not seeing him perform. Others just didn’t want to start the year seeing the N30k they paid for tickets wasted. For those still bitter they took on social media expressing disappointment and outrage over what was by most accounts a disastrous experience.

Media outlets quickly picked up the news of the poorly organized concert with several sites posting videos and comments from attendees. Burna Boy put out a statement explaining what transpired.

According to him, he arrived on time and planned to start the show at about 11 pm. But with the challenges with the audio, he had no choice but to delay until it was fixed. He also suggested he was going to invest in world-class infrastructure for hosting concerts.

“I apologize to my fans for how hectic it was, thank you for staying and weathering the storm with me. I commend my band @fromtheoutsiders for making lemonade with the worst lemons we’ve ever seen!” Burna Boy

While some of his fans accepted the apology others still raged on social media as a video of Burna Boy allegedly kicking a fan from the stage dominated Twitter timelines with a simple search for “Burna Boy”.

See Burna Boy’s apology below

Burnaboy Apology

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