Burna Boy at Madison Square Garden: Concert Review – Advice Eating

Burna Boy earned his metaphorical flowers – and his very literal bras – as he ripped through a majestic two-hour set at New York’s Madison Square Garden, the first Nigerian headliner to do so at the famed venue. The first fire engine red bra was pushed onto the stage for the beloved Afro-fusionist at the start of his set, as he performed “Rock Your Body” from his groundbreaking 2018 album Outdoors. By the end of the night, no fewer than six others had been hurled at him – at one point he had several slung around his waist like a belt. “Burna is so cool yo!” cried one male fan as Burna stormed down his long runway fenced in by sharp flashing lights to “Gbona” ​​from his seminal title. African giant.

The only moment of relative silence in the audience came as they attentively recorded a new song sampling Toni Braxton’s “He Wasn’t Man Enough for Me” – “Las Las” – which Burna performed after revealing that his next album would be called Dear Damini and Drop on his 31st birthday, July 2nd. Moreover, the crowd at the Garden was in constant motion, its ranks of bodies like waves in a dark ocean of mostly black Diasporans. Burna Boy’s frequent use of an a cappella or minimalist arrangement meant that eager participants could often clearly hear their voices singing as sweet as Burna’s smile. While set-close “Ye” elicited an undeniable reaction from across the garden, a careful look around the stands revealed just how diverse everyone’s favorite songs from Burna’s deep discography could be.

In the pit, three young men moshed to his remix of Ghanaian rapper Black Sherif’s “Second Sermon,” carefully throwing their bodies into each other without disturbing those around them. Further back in the seats, a young woman in a pink bandage-wrapped top had a spiritual reaction to “Way Too Big” from Burna’s latest album, the album produced by the pandemic Twice as big. Over a railing, a young man dressed more for a day in the office than for the hottest concert in town banged “Bank on It” at the top of his lungs into his girlfriend’s phone, whose flashlight beaded his face with sweat. Burna’s mother and manager Bose Ogulu, affectionately known as “Mama Burna,” watched stoically from the left stage until she approached party starter “Killin Dem.”

The show reimagined Burna’s long catalog and highlighted already excellent songs. A brass section tore off African giant outstanding “On the Low”. Violins upped the ante on Location. A saxophonist competed with Burna’s impassioned vocal runs as they finished “Onyeka.” On “Ja Ara E,” a team of traditional African drummers surrounded his trusted backup singer, Christina Matovu, who has been with the band for five years, and they danced in unison from left to right as they performed. Burna Boy’s live arrangements brought the funk and drama.


The show, titled “One Night in Space,” found Burna as urgent as ever, playing a barrage of songs while only stopping a few times to drink water or address his fans. “Feel free to throw some more,” he encouraged after the first bra toss, before listing the New York venues he’d played earlier in his career while working to the Garden. After performing “Soke” for a little over half the night, he was quick to admit that the performance was “some emotional shit [him]’ before setting MSG ablaze with some of his liveliest hits, songs like ‘Jerusalem’, ‘Anybody’ and ‘Kilometer’.

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A segment from three of Burna’s most political songs added even more seriousness to the night: “Collatoral Damage” spoke the truth about greedy power, “Another Story” began with a visual lesson in the ravages of colonialism, and most excitingly, Burna performed an unreleased track , which is often referred to as “Off Your Mic” online. In it he passionately sang about a snake in human form that swallows money as a criticism of Nigerian politics – “Off your mic”, one of the lyrics, is believed to allude to an incident in the summer of 2020, when a Nigerian government official accused the National Assembly members of corrupt Wisely pocket profitable government development contracts for yourself.

Still, Burna Boy – whose team banned him from asking political questions during the interview for his Rolling Stone UK cover story – is more of a rock star than an expert. He smashed an acoustic guitar to pieces, sprinted down his expansive catwalk, danced with springy knees and quick feet, and maintained absolutely flawless vocals throughout the performance. The energy, the joy and the feeling of being seen could be felt in the garden. “We made history tonight,” said the night’s host, a young Bronx African, after Burna descended from the ceiling in a shower of sparks. “We started it all,” he said of the Africans. “We will finish everything. Congratulations to the culture.”

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