By John Egbokhan
It was touted to be the best entertainment concert of the year just gone by and like a well-drilled machine, the Warri Again Show truly surpassed expectations as all the top musicians and comedians delivered mind-blowing performances that engaged, enthralled and wowed the crowd inside the over-subscribed Eko Convention Centre penultimate Friday.
Held two days after Christmas Day at the Eko Hotels and Suites, the 2019 Warri Again was truly a spectacular, remarkable, entertaining riveting and mind-blowing concert as it had all the trappings of a compelling entertainment show, with wonderful performances by A-list stars like the Billionaire crooner, Teni, Dem Papa progenitor, Timaya, Idols West Africa 1st runner-up, Omawunmi,Niniola, Mad Cobra serenading the crowd with songs and moves that left all rocking wildly and excitedly.
Anchored by the ace comedian duo of AY and Bovi, who both made their stage appearance at 11:37pm after some performances by a couple of fledgling artists, to a burst of rousing cheers and applause by the audience, who were truly impressed by the appearance of these two household names of the Nigerian comedy industry, the show was sparked into life by back to back rib-cracking jokes by budding and top comedians, who all impressed.
Basketmouth, I Go Dye, Okey Bakassi, Gordons, Edo Pikin were some of the comedians who made their presence felt, with jokes that got the high-profile audience laughing excitedly.
For most of the comedians that came on stage to do their thing, they were compelled to dig deeper into their brain box to find new jokes that would match or at best outdo the ones earlier said by the penultimate comedian to come on stage.
When Gordosn came up for his performance, he admitted that he was simply fighting to put his jokes together as the ones he had prepared had been overtaken by event or rendered by some of the comedians that had come up.
But having been around for a while, his experience counted as he delved into tales that got revellers rolling on their seats. Even Basketmouth, whose entrance on stage was greeted by cheers and loud chants, beamed the spotlight on the husband of the organisers of the show, President of the Nigeria Football Federation, Amaju Pinnick, whom he said called him just hours to ask him to come and perform.
Basketmouth is undoubtedly a celebrity comedian, commanding high premium in events, at times charging between N10m to N20m for live performance. As he got the audience engaged with rib-cracking jokes, he said but for the respect he has for Pinnick that he would not have been at the show at such a short notice of being invited, even without knowledge of the amount he would collect from Pinnick.
The task of AY and Bovi was to enliven the atmosphere as they introduced the performers on stage but they somewhat used the stage to engage in a supremacy battle over who between them was the better stand-up comic act.
Having been coursemates at Delta State University, Abraka, where they studied Theatre Arts, AY and Bovi have forged a great relationship ever since their days at school.
Now well and truly established as A-list comedians, commanding huge fan base and impressive bank accounts, it was expected that the duo would comport themselves in public, not washing dirty linens in the open and casting aspersions on each other. But that was certainly what transpired as Bovi shocked the crowd when he revealed that AY was academically deficient back in the university.
He added that AY was so poor in his academics that he had to do an extra year, to which the latter said was not the true account of things, pointing out that it was his romance with a damsel tthat landed him in trouble with one of his lecturers.
AY, producer of the hugely acclaimed 30 Days in Atlanta Box Office hit, while admitting that he might not have been academically sharp then, said that he has made up for that defect with a hughe bank account and popping cash wallet.
According to him, ”I may not have been a sharp student in school but at least, I have a very big, fat bank account”, which was met with thunderous applauses from the jiggling revellers.
Things got heated up between the duo when Bovi, decked in designers suits, asked the audience who between him and AY was the better comedian, to which the latter quickly chipped in that he was way ahead of Bovi, who however rated himself higher than his friend for many years. The fans were divided over who was better but when Jamaican dancehall sensation, Gyptian of the Hold You and All On Me fame hit the stage to belt out his tunes, he chipped in an aside on whom he thought was the funnier between AY and Bovi, settling for the latter, to the chagrin of AY.
But the night was made even more special by South African musician, Zanda Zakusa, crooner of the monster hit, Skeleton Dance, thrilled the crowd and at the end of her performance, spoke strongly out against xenophobia, stressing that ”I am strongly against it, it should not have any place in our continent, Nigeria and South Africa are one, we should unite to make the continent greater and a safe place to live”, to which the audience which had former Delta State Governor, James Ibori, Richard Mofe-Damijo gave a standing ovation to, as the party went into overdrive.