When Entertainers Promotions organises a musical feast, the package doesn’t normally come in an ordinary size.
The same can be said of the Utsi Tuluka We Are Back phungwe (dusk till dawn) concert held on Friday at Motel Paradise in Blantyre. The event, just like others before it, proved to be a cocktail, complete with all the necessary ingredients that a music show requires.
The lighting on stage was on point, the sound quality was faultless and the smoke machines continuously added colour to the ecstatic mood by painting the stage area with white smoke (Utsi Tuluka).
By 8pm, the performances had started. Reggae outfit Reggae Warriors Band kept the few patrons, who had already taken their seats in the vast auditorium, entertained with a selection of covers of raggae songs by various international artists.
Perhaps the biggest alteration on the programme that surprised many patrons on the night was the early appearance on stage by the Black Missionaries Band. When show host Selekta Rokaz announced Black Missionaries as the next performers, people couldn’t believe it.
This was a departure from the tradition where the Chileka-based team appears on stage towards the end of the show. Moda Fumulani, Khonzie Masimbe and Yanjanani Chumbu, as usual, raised the curtain for their cousins.
By 11:20pm, Anthony Makondetsa was on stage. As usual, the Ndagwira Mbendera creator was at his electric best as he delivered another energetic performance. By this time, the venue was almost filled to the brim.
He paved the way for the Black Missionaries frontman Anjiru Fumulani, who alongside his sibling Chizondi, had the task to bring down the curtain of the group’s involvement on the night. They performed a selection of their songs from various Kuimba series albums. They stepped off the stage just after 1:30am.
In between the performance of Black Missionaries Band and Lucius Banda, there was space for South Africa-based artist Tomb K to entertain patrons. She performed her latest single Undikonde and Ndikugona Ndekha.
And then came ‘Soldier’ Lucius Banda.
Fresh from the Sand Music Festival, which was marred by various challenges, ‘Soldier’ did not appear to be worn out.
He did a number of both his old classics and new songs supported by his tireless dancing trio. He challenged himself by doing solo performances of his duets with Kell Kay in Mpaka Kale and Madalitso Anga which he did with Janta.
But his dynamism could not stretch as far as doing his mash-up song he did with Patience Namadingo. He invited Zembani Band leader Sam Smack to play with Namadingo. Nevertheless their improvised collaboration came out good despite minor flaws.
As a parting shot, ‘Soldier’ introduced the song Jonny, a real-life experience composition which he dedicated to his son Jonny Zembani-Banda after his arrest several years ago. He invited his son on stage and sang the first stanza in his face.
He then paused and said to the son in an emotional tone: “When I start a battle, I always make sure I finish it.”
He handed over his microphone to Jonny and walked off the stage without another word.
Jonny embraced the responsibility before him. He completed the remaining stanzas of the song. He went on to perform songs such as Mzimu Wa Soldier and Okondeka Wanga. He paved the stage for Nepman who entertained patrons till the early hours of Saturday morning.
Lilongwe-based Six Solid Band completed the line-up till 6am. The smoke indeed came out at Motel Paradise.