Dru Hill Kenya concert: One big 90s throwback party

By: THOMAS RAJULA

The American group Dru Hill has been making steady moves to come back to the limelight since 2010, and the invitation to perform at the Property Reality Company’s fifth anniversary must have given them a boost, at least among local fans.

And the one thing the company did not want people to forget was that it was responsible for bringing the group here.

From the time the concert was made public to the moment the band stepped off the plane, the company branded everything that was to be associated with the Dru Hill concert we were actually shocked the group did not don PRC tees and caps.

Still, the show, which was held at the Carnivore Grounds on October 24, was well organised and will undoubtedly go down as one of the best.

The set-up oozed of elegance, from the usherettes dressed in stunning, figure-hugging black mini dresse, to the long, white-walled tunnel that led to the arena, the VVIP and VIP sections, which were reserved for the firm’s bigwigs and invited guests.

THROWBACK PARTY

A humongous screen at the centre of the dome was backed up by two smaller ones on either side of the stage. This could well be the best Kenyan throwback party of all time.

The first part of entertainment featured the best Kenyan deejays — DJs Pinye and Adrian— playing tracks from ’80s, ’90s, and the noughties on a deck counter that resembled the boombox of old.

Be it ballads from back in the days when singing was singing, or old school hip-hop, or pop tracks from the time Backstreet was the ultimate boy band, every musical taste was covered.

Necessary Noize (Nazizi and Wyre) opened the live sets with less than half an hour to midnight.

They reminded the crowd why they were one of the most decorated bands of the new age of music in Kenya with hits like “Tension”, “Bless My Room” and “Kenyan Boy/Kenyan Girl”, not forgetting their respective solo careers, which has made Wyre the favourite African collabo artiste of Jamaican greats, the chemistry of the duo still seems intact.

Nameless is timeless. From his first successful single, “Mega Rider”, back in 1999, to last year’s Butterfly, he has managed to be among an elite class of very few Kenyan artistes who have stood the test of time; performing tracks that have been danced to by parents and their kids.

His wife, Wahu, had her set sandwiched in between either sides of his performances.

Mr Lenny came in for a surprise cameo with Nameless.

Then Maina Kageni, MC for the event, helped on by both DJs Adrian and Pinye, hyped up the crowd by playing some of the most memorable ballads from the ’80s and the ’90s to a sort of choir response from the crowd, during each track. The crowd was now charged up, and they demanded for Dru Hill.

Lights go off around quarter past midnight, and there’s an air of anticipation, waiting to see what illumination will reveal. Lights on, once more, and there on stage is Dru Hill – all four members; Sisqo, Jazz, Nokio and Tao.

The crowd goes into a frenzy as the group opens up with one of their biggest ever tracks, How Deep is Your Love.

What they lacked in a live band backing them up, they made up for with tracks of live instrumental recording and vocal prowess (Jazz and Tao were simply amazing in range) that only artistes from a certain time and generation possessed. Yes, they did have shaky moments, but it was as good a show as you’ll ever see. Sisqo still has some of the moves that made him a force in the music entertainment industry. And also the appeal.

Of course, after more than 50 minutes of performing, the crowd wouldn’t let Sisqo leave without singing the generation-defining track, “Thong Song”. And as they left the stage, at half past two that Sunday morning, the dreams of many from the generation that worshipped the band in its prime had come true in ways they could never have imagined.

SOURCE: DAILY NATION