Last Saturday, D’banj turned 32. Unlike the ritual of champagne popping at ritzy hangouts, the pop star was in Benin, Edo State, entertaining fans and followers of his Koko doctrine. It was the third week of the annual multi-city concert, Star Trek, organised by the Nigeria Breweries Plc. On the bill were Sound Sultan, Tiwa Savage and Flavour. Model cum actor of the Tinsel fame, Gideon Okeke, who is gradually evolving as a substantive concert emcee, handled proceedings that Friday night in the open air venue, Sanfield, in Benin. In the tradition of the Star Trek, a number of local wannabes, ranging from the sublime to the ridiculous, were given a shot at fame. While some performed poorly, some like BMG, T Wine, Great Doctor, Bolo Yeung and Breezy were a delight to watch.
Prior to D’Banj’s performance, which was the last of the night, Mavin Records First Lady, Tiwa Savage, had entertained the crowd with a short but memorable performance. The leggy songstress, who was performing on the Star Trek bill for the first time, kicked off her performance with O Ma Ga O, from the Solar Plexus MixTape, released under Mavin Records, dovetailing into her other hit songs like Kele Kele Love, Love Me X3 and Without My Heart. Midway into her performance, she paused to render an acapella, Great Is Thy Faithfulness, in memory of the souls that were lost in the Dana air crash of Sunday, June 3rd. It was greeted with a thunderous applause by the ecstatic crowd.
Thereafter came Sound Sultan, who typically performed with the full complement of his band, and Flavour Nabania, who seemed to be on familiar turf as he took the crowd on a journey through contemporary Nigerian highlife.
When it was D’banj’s turn, even those who had become weary and sleepy, stirred into full awareness. He was in his elements, oscillating between old and new songs. Soon, D’banj was joined on stage by his collaborator, rapper, Ikechukwu, who was originally not part of the Star Trek line-up. Apart from D’banj’s sheer infectious energy, the lyrical interplay between him and Ikechukwu was another highlight of the Benin leg of the Star Trek. The following day, the Star Trek train moved to Sapele, Delta State but without D’banj.
Perhaps because of the abundance of entertainment talents in that part of the country, Deltans are presumably hard to please by outsiders. But, the thousands that thronged the Sapele Township Stadium got more than enough value for their N200 gate fee. From home girls, Omawumi to Waje, Sound Sultan, Flavour and Chocolate City rappers, MI and Ice Prince, including even Star Quest 2012 winners, Crystals, it was fun all the way. So much that a young lady who was lucky to join Sound Sultan while performing refused to vacate the stage even after he had finished.