photos by @Ghanyobi
Working with @BlitzAmbassador on his second concert in Ghana was phenomenal – yet again. In 2011 we hosted him and grammy award winning duo Les Nubians at the same venue – Alliance Francaise. Most people will recall how the rains came down so hard right after Les Nubians’ set. Normally people will just leave the venue, but they waited it out. A good 30 minutes later the rains stopped and Blitz came on. What ensued that day has morphed into a sort of urban legend. So most people showed up expecting a repeat performance of 2011.
Prior to the concert Blitz opened our Talk Party Series for 2014, sharing his music journey and how that shaped his present outlook and inclusion within international tour circuits. It was also the first time we’ve had the Talk Party in the streets with people just walking through and asking questions. After a rigorous all week media tour, we got ready for the concert, with an episode of equipment replacement drama. Then the phone call from the venue to post-pone the show because of some slight showers in the morning. After the rain incident in 2011, early morning showers were not going to get in the way. The Afropolitan Dreams world tour is setting off in Accra and NOTHING was going to get in the way.
Sound check was incident free and by 6:00pm DJ Steloo was bumping new mixes as the crowd trickled in. Phu’Cha [of Holla Blak] opened the show with sweet tunes of change and revolution. Powwah [also of Holla Blak] joined her later in the set , beat boxing and then tag teaming with Phu’Cha on her last song. Yaa Pono followed after that, coming on stage with a live rendition of “Jam Rock” and an air tight set to an excited audience. By now the cool evening winds were blowing hard, almost as if to set up the coming jam storm.
Blitz came on stage with Embassy Ensemble doing Osibisa’s “Welcome Home”, “Everybody get up and come to the front”. In minutes the crowd were on their feet and a lot of them in front of the stage- posturing for space with eager photographers bidding their time for magic moments with Blitz. The performance turned into a hyper trance mashup as Blitz and his band went through their set list with and enthusiastic crowd in tow. The best part was during the “Accra City Blues” performance off Blitz’s last album, Native Sun.
He shouts to the crowd; ” I’m going to bring on a legend, somebody who has opened the way for all of us to do this….” Gyedu Blay Ambolley was announced to flashing lights and chants of “Wey tin dey der” [a moniker culled from his 1996 hit “Radum Zo”]. Ambolley came on with his sax and hit it off with his signature call and response routine.
At this point the show had reached its pressure point with the crowd cheering and reaching for the sky. This was just like 2011 with extra ‘troops’ for effect. The set felt a little short even after an hour and a half of pure music genius. “We want more”… that was the crowd chanting for Blitz to return after the band left the stage. They came back and literally tore down the place. Blitz rode the last tunes to a sweat drenched crowd who were too happy to have been part of this amazing concert but sad that it had come to an end. Everyone left with one thing on their minds – Blitz is one of the most prolific performers of our time.
Between those live horns, the precise drum licks by Sydney, plus Raja & Alex’s amazing guitar riffs, there could have been no better way to start 2014 than with this fierce perfomance by Blitz and the Embassy Ensemble. Accra got to hear the new album Afropolitan Dreams months before the rest of the world and the reviews are out the roof already.