Review: Asake at the 02 Arena

Review: Asake at the 02 Arena

Afrobeats giant Asake delivers an exciting and innovative set full of special guests at a sold-out 02 Arena. By Adam Davidson

Img @ Elliott Hensford

Afrobeats is quickly becoming a dominant force in the music industry and shows no sign of slowing down. Something that signifies this huge upsurge in popularity is that Afrobeats stars can sell-out headline shows at the 02, with Burna Boy, Wizkid and Davido paving the way for this to be possible.

Asake takes his place amongst the greats of the genre as he quickly sold out his hotly anticipated show at the famous London venue.

The evening started with a video tribute to the two concert-goers who died last year at an Asake concert at 02 Academy Brixton, where hundreds turned up without tickets and caused a crowd crush. It was a necessary tribute as it was a horrific moment that cast a dark shadow over what should have been a celebratory moment for the genre.

The show opened in spectacular fashion as Asake ascended onto the stage from a helicopter. He was then dropped and joined by dancers dressed in all-black and performed ‘Organise.’ Instantly the crowd raised the roof as pyrotechnics and phone torches lit up the 02 Arena.

To mark the special occasion of a headline show at the 02, a number of special guests came out to perform with Asake. The first to take the stage was Fireboy DML as they performed their hit collaboration ‘Bandana.’ Fireboy DML is a big name in his own right with his viral hit ‘Peru’ so to see both Afrobeats stars on the stage at the same time reflected the magnitude of the event.

After Asake performed his hit ‘Sunshine’ he brought out Tunde Bayewu from Lighthouse Family to perform ‘Ocean Drive’, from which Asake’s song took its hook. It was an incredible moment and really added something to the show as the Nigerian star was paying homage to his influences.

Throughout the show the crowd really played their part, The 02 Arena was bouncing from the moment the warmup DJ took to the stage to the very last. Often a show is dependent on the energy of the crowd and it can elevate the experience to another level and this was certainly the case here tonight.

The highlight of the set was undeniably ‘Amapiano’, which has been one of the songs of the summer. The performance had everything from pyrotechnics to choreographed dances and visual effects. There was one last surprise in store as during this song Olamide rose from under the stage to perform his verse. Asake went off the stage for a moment and returned with a flamethrower and sprayed it around. It was the crescendo that this show deserved!

2023 has been a game-changing year for Afrobeats in the U.K. with both Burna Boy and Wizkid performing at big stadiums this summer. Asake is a few years away from reaching those heights but if he continues on this incredible upward trajectory with his infectious energy and innovation then he too will perform on these biggest of stages.

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