What sold the show was its uncanny ability to convey excitement.
It was slated for a Monday and end on Tuesday morning. It was also slated to start at 6pm. Those right there, were two red flags. Nigerian shows don’t even begin sound check at 6 pm, let alone start shows. This writer was pessimistic.
The entire outlook is made worse by the headliner’s detailed performative deficiencies. Over the past one year, social media had criticized her performances and some had even slated her for ‘sexual harassment’ of men she calls on stage – that was over the top though. Which songs would she carry an entire set with? All these were valid questions.
Her name is Teni Makanaki. She is funny, witty and likeable. She is everybody’s darling girl in the industry. Some know her as ‘The Entertainer’ and others know her as ‘One Take GOD.’ Previously, she couldn’t perform, but by 12:00 am on Tuesday, December 17, 2019, she slayed her performative demons. She didn’t only give us a show, she made cynics nod in endorsement.
The Billionaire Experience: The night Teni became a 'Makanaki' of shows (Pulse Nigeria)The Billionaire Experience: The night Teni became a ‘Makanaki’ of shows (Pulse Nigeria)
The show still didn’t start on time. The organization could have used a little bit of work, but that’s expected. No show is perfect, anyway. All that matters is that the show was a success and people went back home feeling they go their money’s worth – maybe giveaway ticket’s worth sha.
The show didn’t excel on excellent stage craft like a Simi can conjure with her energy and unique ability to turn the music into a party anthem. The show didn’t excel on Michael Jackson-esque swashbuckling dance routines. The show didn’t excel on Kendrick Lamar-esque performative symbolism either.
What sold the show was its uncanny ability to convey excitement. Whenever the energy felt like dropping, Teni had something in store to get people sentimental or short people climbing their seats. The show excelled in the ‘Teni way.’ All the promotional social media skits didn’t happen for naught.
The Billionaire Experience: The night Teni became a 'Makanaki' of shows (Pulse Nigeria)The Billionaire Experience: The night Teni became a ‘Makanaki’ of shows (Pulse Nigeria)
Even what Twitter once brandished ‘sexual harassment’ was one of the biggest draws of the night. A certain tall guy named Bond – or by his government name, Ebube – became Teni’s lover for the night as her presumed ‘lover,’ Wizkid watched on in seeming excitement.
On a night that looked doomed to fail, Teni shone like a million stars. She came of age and the music was a vehicle for her growth.
At 12:03 in the morning, a voice began delivering panegyrics in Ondo dialect. Accompanied by beautiful women dressed as handmaidens, Teni made a regal entrance onto the stage. She wore a white agbada, bore a walking stick on her right hand and had a horse tail on the left. The first song she performed was ‘Uyo Meyo.’
She was backed up by a wonderful band that was in sync with her. She commanded like a drill sergeant and they obeyed like they had a guard room stint in the offing.
The Billionaire Experience: The night Teni became a 'Makanaki' of shows (Pulse Nigeria)The Billionaire Experience: The night Teni became a ‘Makanaki’ of shows (Pulse Nigeria)
Presumably, the song got in her feels as she walked onto the stage to see her mother, sisters, secondary school friends and other members of her family seated in the front row. Telling a short story about how she thought she might never make it, she burst into the classic Yoruba Christian tune, ‘Ona Ara,’ to show her gratitude to God.
Then, she performed ‘Fargin’ and a song dedicated to Lagos. Soon after, she left the stage for new signees from her label, Dr. Dolor Entertainment. Some of those kids include Ryan, Hotkid, Nikita and so forth. The energy dropping when Shoddy The TurnUp King walked on stage for a 20-minute rage.
The Billionaire Experience: The night Teni became a 'Makanaki' of shows (Pulse Nigeria)The Billionaire Experience: The night Teni became a ‘Makanaki’ of shows (Pulse Nigeria)
He took us to different eras with a DJ mix. The detail in Teni’s commendably began showing. First, before she performed a song dedicated to her dad, Olaosebikan Apata who passed away when she was just two-years-old, a Military band came on stage for a set. Teni’s dad was in the military. While performing that song dedicated to her dad, she wore his military uniform.
Teni Makanaki thrills fans and colleagues at her first music concert [Instagram/Black Afro Media]Teni Makanaki thrills fans and colleagues at her first music concert [Instagram/Black Afro Media]
Something important happened as the military band was on stage; as they performed the Nigerian national anthem, Nigerians actually stood up and respected the country. But then again, the show was filled with IJGB people. She then performed ‘Case,’ during which she encountered Bond/Ebube.
Then came another moment of admirable detail. As she performed ‘Fake Jersey,’ her dope song that criminally sailed under the radar a year ago, a squad of freestyle footballers came on stage. Again, she took a break as Chuvano, Idahams, Blaqbonez, T-Classic, CKay and other upcoming acts performed. Around 1:29 am, Wizkid entered the venue.
The Billionaire Experience: The night Teni became a 'Makanaki' of shows (Pulse Nigeria)The Billionaire Experience: The night Teni became a ‘Makanaki’ of shows (Pulse Nigeria)
At 1:46 am, Tiwa Savage came on stage. It was a curiously timed performance from Africa’s number one female act at another woman’s show. One wonders if that would have happened a few years ago. Did she grow or did she notice something important? Time will tell. Right after ‘Mama Jam Jam,’ Mayorkun came on stage to a roar as he performed ‘True.’
Mayorkun at Teni's 'The Billionaire Experience.' (Pulse Nigeria)Mayorkun at Teni’s ‘The Billionaire Experience.’ (Pulse Nigeria)
When Teni came back, she brought Ebube back on stage. Alas, he could sing – unlike Teni’s older sister who adorably made a valiant effort at singing. When Teni’s next break happened, Zlatan performed to the loudest roar of the evening. Then, Brodda Shaggi performed just before Reekado Banks made his entrance at 2:50 am.
The Billionaire Experience: The night Teni became a 'Makanaki' of shows (Pulse Nigeria)The Billionaire Experience: The night Teni became a ‘Makanaki’ of shows (Pulse Nigeria)
Seven minutes later, a brilliant segue started. First, Skiibii joined Reekado Banks to perform their smash hit, ‘Sensima.’ Then, Skiibii was joined by Teni for ‘Daz How Star Do.’ Then, Falz came on stage to perform the third verse on the song before performing a string of his hits.
Joeboy at Teni's 'The Billionare Experience.' (Pulse Nigeria)Joeboy at Teni’s ‘The Billionare Experience.’ (Pulse Nigeria)
As he left the stage, Joeboy and Mr. Real performed before Teni rounded up with ‘Billionaire.’ The only meaningful critique of Teni’s performance is simple; she needs to learn how to give in and give people more her freestyle genius. A good performer knows when to abandon the song and just lead the band on a freestyle madness.
If anyone can do that, it’s Teni. A lot of time during last night’s show, Teni started those freestyle moments but didn’t allow them flourish either for reluctance or whatever else. Asides that, it was a great show. Here’s to the next one…
The Billionaire Experience: The night Teni became a 'Makanaki' of shows (Pulse Nigeria)The Billionaire Experience: The night Teni became a ‘Makanaki’ of shows (Pulse Nigeria)
The event was attended by MC Galaxy, Toke Makinwa, Kenny Blaq, Gbemi, Bizzle Osikoya and so forth.

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