‘I Love Uganda, Good night and bye’ were Neyo’s last words as he brought down the curtains to one of Uganda’s best ever performances from an international star. The fans could not believe that the show had actually come to an end as it took about 15 minutes for it to sink in.
The fans stood still and some teary female fans just looked dazed as jaws dropped. They couldn’t believe they had just witnessed a near perfect performance and it had ended as some screamed ‘Neyo don’t leave, we love you’ as if a once intimate relationship had broken. You could feel the heart-break as screams of joy and ecstasy were replaced by an instant deathly silence.
The heavy afternoon rain had soaked the Cricket Oval turf, but the soft, muddy arena could not deter the determined fans who thronged the Bell sponsored PopNJam concert in huge numbers almost filling the ground to capacity by 9:30pm as they eagerly awaited the nights star man to step on stage.
Indeed after a delay of about 30 minutes where the crew organised the sound, the Camden, Arkansas born 34- year old American RnB star majestically walked on stage to join his band and queen dancers who stood akimbo in wait. Dressed in Black plants, T-Shirt, Blazer and the trade mark cowboy hat, he did not waste time with the customary pleasantries but got straight to business at 10:45pm
His choice of songs was all on point as Ugandans knew most of them and the coordinated stage movements and choreography was superb with the flawless wiggling from the sexy queen dancers spicing it up. Every bit of organisation was perfect to detail, from sound to lighting and the simple costume accessorised with a few bling nailed the ‘star look’.
Ne-Yo real names Shaffer Chimere Smith unlike most of the international stars who have come to Uganda, did his home work well and you could feel that he prepared for this. The passion and love could be felt in his smooth voice. The energy and commitment was written all over his beaming smiley face as he connected with the fans. He chose to do his talking through his music and sounded so crystal clear almost like the music was played on CD.
Songs like ‘Hate that I love you’, ‘One in a Million, Miss Independent, ‘Because of you’, and the block buster hit ’Sexy love’ got the crowd groovy as they sang along. Some danced, while others just jumped like excited toddlers who had received a new toy. The female fans hysterically cheered and urged him on screaming his name so loud.
The local artistes like Jose Chameleone, Sheebah Karungi, Navio, Cindy, Swahili nation among others had put up an equally convincing performance to curtain raise for the American in the concert that ended a few mintues to midnight.