Exclusives News 5 June 2023

Burna Boy performs with Dave, Stormzy, J Hus & Popcaan at sold-out London Stadium show – Review

5 June 2023

“Standing here in front of all of you, there’s nothing I’ve dreamed of more” said Burna Boy as he took the stage at London Stadium in East London where he performed his greatest hits to a sold-out crowd.

Born in Nigeria, Burna Boy is now a global superstar – a feat proved when the 80,000 strong crowd made up of all nations sang Burna’s Yoruba and pidgin laced lyrics back to him.

This show was special – it marked the first time in the UK that an African artist headlined a stadium. London was watching and in his true showmanship style, Burna gave them something worth seeing.

Arriving a little tardy to the stage following an anticipation building DJ set that played the best in afrobeats, dancehall and UK rap – Burna arrived in style on a merry-go-round with a backdrop behind that said “Welcome to the Damini Fair”.

The theme was American carnival (fun fair) and all of the stops were pulled out to set the vibe with even the concession stands selling themed popcorn buckets adorned with the red and yellow stripes that also decorated the stage.

Burna’s opening number was “Gbona” – one of standout tracks on his 2019 album African Giant.

The pace was set and Burna kept the offerings coming, joining his backing vocalists and band for renditions of “Odogwu” and some of his much-loved hidden gem tracks for his core fanbase like “Tonight”, “Don Gorgon”, “Yawa Dey” and “Soke”.

Later we moved to the Adults Only section of the show that featured onstage pole dancers and sultry lighting as the African Giant belted out the bedroom hits “Dirty Secrets” and “Secret” as well as his new single “Top of the World”.

Wristband lights were given to all attendees and offered a new visual dimension to crowd participation and engagement. The stadium lit up in red and yellow lights as Burna moved into a performance of “For My Hand”, a fan favourite from his latest offering Love, Damini that features Ed Sheeran.

Later, Burna performed his part on “Location”, a collaboration housed on UK rapper Dave’s critically acclaimed album Psychodrama. Shrieks and cheers erupted when it became clear that Dave was in fact on stage and had joined Burna for the very special moment.

The special guests didn’t stop here – with J Hus – who Burna called “his brother”- appearing to perform “Play Play” and “Sekkle Down”.  Also making an appearance was Stormzy who lent his vocals to “Real Life” and of course his own album cut, “Own It”.

To the delight of any dancehall fans in the building, the Unruly Boss Popcaan also came out to perform “Toni-Ann Singh” – his track on Burna Boy’s album that is dedicated to his girlfriend.

“Spiritual”, “On the Low”, “Dangote” and more received energetic renditions and the band added depth and energy with frequent drum and brass instrument solos.

Sidhu Moose Wala who passed away last year was offered a dedication and moment of memoriam as his vocals on “Mera Na” were played.

The show then moved into the energy section which successfully got the audience to an intense climax at the end of the show.

In the build up to the end – Burna had an outfit change and went straight into high octave hits like “Kilometre”, “Anybody” and “Killin Dem”.  

Global hits like the “Jerusalema” remix that have transcended African borders were performed and with Burna not needing to sing a single lyric – the message that African music is global was as clear as the cloudless blue skies above the open stadium.

Squeezing in one more outfit change – Burna recreated his Love, Damini album cover onstage and sat in front of a cake with candles before performing the clear fan favourite “It’s Plenty”.

Taking the audience to a euphoric ending, Burna concluded with a performance of the smash-hit “Ye” before closing with the global hit “Last, Last”.

His most streamed solo track – “Last, Last” was the track the casual fans of the star came to see and the moment was worth it. With a pull up of the track to keep the energy high, powerful vocals and emotion from the artist, why this song is and will remain a hit was made clear.

As the show wrapped and concert-goers walked back to Stratford to make their journey’s home, the lyrics to “Last, Last” were being chanted in every direction.

After providing an exceptional performance that it was heartbreaking to see end, it was made evidently  clear that evening in London Stadium that it is understandable why so many people do in fact love Damini.

Stream “Top of the World” here.