Concert Review: Detty Rave Was Without Dirt

Despite the technical hitches that was experienced, Detty Rave was well-patronized with the headline artistes giving patrons an unforgettable experience.

The 2019 Edition of Detty Rave, which is in its third leg, would have been a perfect event if not for the minor logistical and technical hitches on the night. For an event that has grown to become one of the most anticipated December concerts in Ghana, the organizers should have gone a little extra in making the experience more memorable, not only in terms of performances but for the thousands of people who showed up on the night to have a joyous time.

Em Pawa Live, the event organizers may have done what they thought was the best but as the night ticked on, the cracks in their organizational setup was exposed. Having moved to their new grounds on the Spintex Road, a move that Mr. Eazi should be commended for, challenges were bound to arise. First was how the crowd were controlled from the gate right down to the ticketing booth.

The security personnel at the gate got overwhelmed at a point, resulting in the opening of the main entrance. The thick crowd at the ticketing section looked frustrated and tired while trying to get verified. The chaos to get that done, coupled with the security checks -going through a metal detector was laborious and slow. They had just two metal detectors for that routine – one each for VIP/VVIP ticket holders and Regular ticket holders. Patrons had to fight their way through the crowd to get access to the main event ground.

It also did not make any sense to have regular ticket holders crossing over to the section reserved for VIP and VVIP ticket holders considering the amount that they paid for their comfort and extra pleasures that came with buying tables. A bouncer stationed at each entrance would have averted the intrusion.

The show began as usual with a warm up DJ set. The excellently mounted stage – with the DJ booth on top of the main stage was a brilliant idea. The evening proceedings kicked off with a performance by Kwaku Afro who had the confidence of a man ready to impress the crowd. However, the sound failed him terribly. This technical challenge would ruin the set for Tulenkey, Fameye, Ko-Jo Cue and Shaker. During the performance of “Up And Awake”, one could see Ko-Jo Cue in discussion with a member of the technical team on stage, obviously remonstrating about the quality of the sound. Interestingly, the issue of sound was resolved when Mr. Eazi came on stage to perform.

Rick Ross was a thrill at Detty Rave (Pic by @FlyNimaBoy)

Running through his distinguished catalogue, Mr. Eazi played both the role of an artiste and a host. His energy was great. He made sure every side of the crowd – VIP and Regular ticket holders – felt his presence. They sang along to songs like ‘Skin Tight’, ‘Tony Montana’, ‘Supernova’ and more.

The night saw two sides of performances: the consummate professionals and the up-comers. Kwesi Arthur won the people with his set. At a point, they took over, singing the whole verse of KiDi on “Don’t Keep Me Waiting”. The mood switched further up when “Anthem” was performed. (Is “Zombie” becoming Kwesi Arthur’s entrance song?). Darkovibes, LaMeme Gang and Joey B also showed up for their set including the hypnotizing “Godzilla” and “Stables”. It must be said that, the reaction the performance of “Godzilla” drew was better than when the various DJs played it during their warm up set.

Mr. Eazi wore both his artiste and MC hat (Pic from his Twitter page)

I was, however disappointed with the performances of Joeboy and J.Derobie, two artistes signed by Mr. Eazi to his imprint. Joeboy’s lethargic stage stroll was compensated for by his two popular singles “Don’t Call Me Back” and “Baby”. J.Derobie was very pedestrian on the night. Why he chose to open with the reggae song “Irie” instead of the more recent “Odo Bra” left me befuddled. I’m sure he noticed the low reception and chose to end his set midway to save himself any further aloofness from the fans. Afro B’s burst of energy ebbed as his hit song “Joana (Drogba)” was fading. He exited after one song.

The South African singer, Busiswa was a delight to watch. She raised the roof up with her perfect, well-coordinated set. The up-tempo, adrenaline rush songs got the crowd pumped up. If there was one thing she does best aside singing, it was how to entertain. The choreography was well executed, adding a slice of entertainment to the set. When Sarkodie made his entry with his curtain-raising song “Original”, the whole Untamed ground erupted into a combustible scene. And, the hits kept coming. Sarkodie did not mime on stage. He performed a to a dub instrumentals of his songs.

What stood out for me was Sarkodie’s music curation – the A-Side anthems were followed by the moderately know B-Side songs thus showcasing a balance in his catalog as well as pushing the B-Side tunes as well. One can deride Sarkodie for many reasons but not his showmanship and understanding of what it means to sell an experience. It’s no wonder that Mr. Eazi described him as ‘my mentor’. The Jamaican sensation, Koffee earned massive love during her set. The 19-year-old has the drive and potential to grow her on-stage skills.

And when the main headline act, Rick Ross came on stage, the tiring crowd found their mojo once more. His DJ, Sam Sneak helped carry the MMG huncho’s set by playing the roles of a DJ and hype man. Spotting a cap and a Miami Heat jersey number 33, Rick Ross came prepared. It was evident his team had done their research on which songs Ghanaians love. As the hits kept coming, the crowd responded with equal zest. Hits like Meek Mills’ “Dreams and Nightmares Intro”, ‘Stay Scheming’, ‘BMF’, ‘Diced Pineapple’, ‘Trap Trap Trap’, ‘Aston Martin Music’, ‘Hustling’ and verses from some of his most popular collaborations.

Rick Ross’ composure, the synergy between him and Sam Sneak, fan interaction affirmed his status as an experienced veteran. Ross never broke the vibe even when he got tired. He found a way to catch his breath, continuing like nothing happen. And to bring out CJ Biggerman – who had impressed Ross with his freestyle at the foyer of the Kempinski Hotel when Ross enplaned the first day was a huge moment for the young Ghanaian rapper. Ross even referred to him as “my brother” when introducing CJ. [My evening ended after Rick Ross had exited the stage. I missed out on the performances of NSG, Kranium and others who came after wards].

Detty Rave was a marathon event. Being a first timer, I understood why there was a lot of clamour and expectations surrounding the event days prior to the main show. It is a gathering of music lovers rendered in a park-like setting. There were lessons to be picked by some of the artistes that graced the stage on the night, like selling out a show, selling an experience rather than hopping on stage for the sake of it. Others must learn to perform with a dub instrumentals. Mining does not cut it, sometimes.

The organizers have a lot to pick from what transpired in respect of crowd control, ticketing (there were complaints of ticket holders not having entry bands), provision of exit and entry points to ease the frustration of patrons and more importantly, improve the quality of sound for both artistes and patrons as well as providing proper parking space for attendees. One can understand the reason behind the long list of artistes on such events. However, that also has a toll on patrons especially when they have to stand for over 7 hours. That’s outrageous. No wonder a good number of people left after Rick Ross’ performance. Hopefully, the Em Pawa team would provide a better experience by the time the event comes around next year.