The buzz around Wizkid performing in the city that he calls his second home began when the Lagos-based Afrobeats star sold out a trio of concerts at the O2 faster than any solo artist in the venue’s history. By the first, on Sunday, his trip felt like the pop equivalent of a royal visit. Ticketless fans stormed through barriers, making the news and prompting the venue to step up its security.
Meanwhile, famous friends have been flocking to join the 31-year-old on stage: Skepta, who guests on Wizkid’s album Made in Lagos; the controversial R&B singer Chris Brown, once banned from the UK after he was arrested for assaulting Rihanna, his girlfriend at the time; and local hero Giggs, who sent screams to fever pitch at Monday’s show.
The skyrocketing star power of Wizkid, who was once best known for having featured on Drake’s 2016 megahit One Dance, is supposedly down to Justin Bieber. In August Bieber appeared on a remix of Wizkid’s song Essence, helping to send streams of Made in Lagos past a record-breaking one billion.
Yet the dressed-up audience here was clearly composed of long-time fans, who were word-perfect on songs dating back a decade and proved it by persistently filming themselves singing along. Indeed, from the moment Wizkid made a striking entrance on a hydraulic platform, which rose from the end of a long catwalk, until he left after fireworks, confetti and blasts of steam, the O2 twinkled with so many phones held aloft that the crowd resembled a clear night sky.
Listen to Wizkid’s music on aftown