It was the evening of Friday, the 16th of June, 2023, I’d spent roughly three hours in traffic trying to get to Victoria Island. I was in a chipper mood though, eating boiled groundnuts and gisting with two of my colleagues as we navigated the insanity of Lagos roads. Nothing could ruin my mood because I was on my way to Terra Kulture to see Wande Coal do magic with his voice at the Trace Live event.
When we finally arrived at 7:30 p.m., the place was teeming with people, all bright-eyed, anticipating the inevitable insanity of a night with Wande Coal’s music. You could feel the anticipation in the air.
Opposite the registration stand where people were getting their tags, there was a wall on which people could sign their names. So I grabbed a red marker from one of the ushers and signed: “Zikoko!”
Free drinks from Legend (the beer, not Wande himself, unfortunately,) Pepsi and Lord’s Gin were flowing. When the doors finally opened at 8, we trooped into the hall, to find DJ Tough already playing. The crowd’s excitement doubled, becoming almost palpable, as people started dancing and gearing up for Wande Coal’s appearance.
After DJ Tough’s 20 minutes set, the hosts — stand-up comedians, Lasisi and Pencil — came on stage to welcome us. They had the crowd laughing at their antics as an artist, Oje Ohis, live-painted a portrait of Wande Coal in less than five minutes.
As even more people poured into the already full room, music promoter and hypeman, Shody, came on stage to get us ready for the Black Diamond. Not a single soul was seated as the combination of his hype skills, and dance moves and DJ Consequence’s music mixing got our excitement to a near frenzy.
The drinks were hitting, everyone was dancing, and the vibe was so right, we knew it was almost time to see the Black Diamond. And sure enough, when our excitement was like something alive, Shody announced Wande Coal to loud cheers from the packed room. I’m sure mine was the loudest.
After thanking us for coming out to see him (I wouldn’t have missed it for the world, Wande please DKM) the Black Diamond performed a song from his latest album Legend or No Legend. Then he serenaded us with Ololufe and a delightful acoustic version of Booty Call. The crowd went wild as the soft beats of So Mi So and the bold instrumentals of Amorawa and Kpe Paso came on. We lost our minds when we heard the band play tunes like Pere, Kiss Your Hand and Bumper to Bumper from his iconic Mo’Hits days.
He had such a beautiful sync with his backup singers and the instrumentalists, reminding us what a talented and fantastic performer Wande Coal is. I sang along loudly to every song that came on, gladly losing my voice in the process.
The Trace Live with Wande Coal thrilled all of us and was over way too soon, with everyone reluctant to leave the electrifying atmosphere we’d all been a part of. The Trace Live show is monthly though, and I can’t wait for the next one!