The long awaited concert headlined by Jamaican reggae group Morgan Heritage and held at Silver Stadium in Lilongwe last Sunday is finally gone.
It is gone but for now people are still talking about the concert and random interviews with many who patronised the concert, they are still waiting for the Morgan Heritage live act as what they dished out was what its members Gramps and Peter Morgan described as an ‘introduction’ or an ‘appetiser.’
The reggae group performed in the country courtesy of Born Afrikan Productions led by South African-based musician and promoter Born Afrikan real name Nelson Shawa.
This was a concert not worthy missing for Morgan Heritage is a top reggae group which since its formation in 1994 has gone on to produce successful albums.
Some people started trickling in for the concert in Lilongwe on Saturday and others on Friday but many who came from as far as South Africa, Tanzania, Mozambique, Zambia, Blantyre and Mzuzu arrived on the same day of the show.
The organisers announced that the gates would open at 10am but it was not to be as the gates delayed to open with the performances starting late on around past 5pm.
Others knew the concert would not start earlier and decided to pass time around Bwandilo. The place was flooded and the owners of drinking joints and other businesses around surely made a kill.
There were actually showers in the afternoon but this could not keep away people from patronising the concert.
And by the time the first act Sally Nyundo had started performing, the Silver Stadium had swallowed a good number of people.
While some bought their tickets in advance, others bought them on the same day coughing K15,000 on entry and it was even difficult for others who were said to have bought fake tickets.
By the time it was dark, the Silver Stadium had received a huge audience and surely the organisers made profits although there were others who dogged the system and went in without paying.
This being a reggae concert, people painted their faces with the Rastafarian colours, others wore Morgan Heritage and Bob Marley T-shirts. Others carried Rastafarian flags, scarves and some were putting on caps with Rastafarian colours.
The concert actually attracted people from all walks of life and they included politicians, artists, business gurus and academicians.
There were equally good live performances from the local acts who warmed up the stage but people’s attention was not at them but Morgan Heritage.
It was a long wait for people to see the group which jumped on stage close to midnight.
Now the live acts by the locals were good starting with Sally Nyundo of the ‘Ras Amadya Nzimbe’ fame who performed with his Run Tingz Band then came Soul Raiders led by Prince Martin and Joel Suzi.
Of course the sound was not that up to scratch and could not be appreciated fully for those who were at the back so too the lighting system was poor.
There was a slight improvement to the sound when Black Missionaries took over the stage although their sound check was long.
But after Black’s performance, people thought Born Afrikan would come in immediately but it was not the case, it took some time for him to hit the stage and people were disappointed.
The master of ceremonies even made things worse as he never explained to the audience what was delaying Born Afrikan and Morgan Heritage.
The stage was empty after Black Missionaries performance and later then came some dancehall performances and other acts which included Chanco Got Talent 2015 finalist Fungai Musinze, who received support from the audience with his song titled ‘Timakonda Chamba.’
There were also performances from the Akafula and they did well but all these artists were not on the programme and it just showed that the organisers were disorganised.
Earlier when Blacks was doing sound check, people had time to appreciate the dancehall skills of Blasto and Annie Matumbi, who competed using free styles.
Born Afrikan finally took the stage with his All Nations Band featuring two female backing vocalists. His band has talented instrumentalists including Zimbabwe’s lead guitarist Abundance, who also performs with Mokoomba.
They offered the audience a perfect and energetic live act and Born Afrikan surely made a mark such that others started asking as to where they could get his music.
He capped it all by playing songs originally done by other artists and his ending was even superb dishing out a Tumbuka hit ‘Namuseweza,’ originally done by former Kalimba Band member Kidd Mkandawire, who is currently based in Denmark and was joined on stage by Wendy Harawa.
What a performance this was and the audience now wanted to cap it all with Morgan Heritage’s live act.
With the organisers putting a full band on the posters, people thought all the members had come but it was not to be as only Gramps, Peter and Mr Mojo were in town.
But forget about the other members including Una and Luke, all people wanted was a live act but the three who jumped on stage at 11:55pm and left at 1:30 offered a set using backtracks with Mr Mojo selecting the songs on a laptop.
It was frustrating for the people firstly because they waited for a long time for a set which was only done using backtracks and it would have been a different story if they waited for long but got a live act and that is why others walked out.
It is not wrong to play with a CD, there have been international acts who have come down and used CDs but they have done it professionally using professional DJs but the story was different with Morgan Heritage.
And to make matters worse, people could not audibly hear the three when they were singing to appreciate their vocal ability and again the songs were short and ended suddenly – this was simply not professional, it was amateurish.
Fans even raised questions as to why the three did not train with Born Afrikan’s All Nations Band which is good? They simply had all the time to train with the band.
“First of all people have to understand that we are a band with a big group, we could not have used the other band because we needed four to five weeks of massive rehearsals and there is alot needed for our different sets,” said Gramps.
He said they could not come with a full band now because of costs which Born Afrikan failed to meet after some promoters in other countries pulled out.
And so for the love of Malawi, they did not want to cancel the concert but to come and introduce themselves offering an appetiser.
They have since promised that they will come back next year with a full band and that tickets will be reduced.
But some quarters feel they could have done it if they were serious enough although others felt it was all about keeping their reputation as a group.
Others even felt the group could have used our own local bands which have done well playing their songs but I guess this was a non-starter.
Again the other area was for the promoter and the group to have come out in time to announce earlier before people started buying the tickets that only three members would come and that the team would not play live.
“I think people would have understood if they said it in time that they would play with a CD before we started buying tickets. But I guess they did not want to lose out and that is where they robbed us,” said Francis Tembo, who travelled all the way from Mzuzu.
Peter and Morgan said they had announced during a press conference that they would not perform live but this announcement only came on Saturday ahead of the concert on Sunday and this time many people had already bought the tickets.
Security was also poor during the concert and this saw people who bought ordinary tickets flooding the VIP and even the backstage.
Actually the Morgan Heritage members had a tough time to leave as people mobbed them wanting to take photographs.
Those who were selling food and drinks at the venue also underestimated the audience, they brought in fewer drinks and food which finished even before Morgan Heritage had performed.
With the long wait to see Morgan Heritage, people were thirsty and hungry, they wanted to eat and drink but there was no food and drinks.
All in all people were disappointed and their hearts will only come down this year when Morgan Heritage comes with a full band – for now they are still waiting for a live performance.
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