After a botched first gig of the Recharge Kenya ’09 at the Nairobi Baptist Church on Friday August 28, the event was rescheduled to the following Sunday August 30. The new venue was Nairobi Pentecostal Church-Karen. The crowd took a while to stream in (typical of Kenyan timing) and settle down while the organizers set the stage, Marvin Winans Jr, and Damita Haddon who are international gospel artists were the opening acts. Sherwin Gardiner was the headliner for the event.
The event kicked off two hours later with an endless list of curtain-raisers, who were local gospel artists (many of whom were very new to me!) Some were fantastic and helped generate great energy, others ordinary, whilst others bordered on near amateur – a crying shame for such a high profile event.
The three main acts were the epitome of professionalism. Marvin Winans Jr. was the first of them to grace the stage. His “Niaje Wazeiya” greeting was genius and set up the crowd for a thrilling set. “….Believe, God’ll do it…..” crowd was on their feet and chanting along the lyrics. This was an upbeat club song and the crowd could not resist but sing and dance along. Marvin moved to the keyboard to do another amazing ballet. He had the crowd eating out the palm of his hands by the time he got to his smash single You Never Let Me Down. The entry fee of Kshs 400 was well worth my investment, actually, it was way over my investment!
Sparking absolute mayhem entered Damita Haddon. She didn’t waste a moment! No Looking Back, her hit single and title track of her album was given a banging ragga remix which a local choir couldn’t resist to join in. The rock-leaning Crossing Over song set the stage perfectly for the man of the moment.
Supported by a three-piece band, Sherwin Gardiner’s performance was absolutely breath-taking. With the bumping beats and the highly charged crowd, the roof was nearly blown off the place. The tempo went down a bit when he lead the praise and worship song Rolling.
Marvin Winans Jr. and Damita Haddon then returned at the altar when Sherwin took the opportunity to lead a quick devotional thought and lead the audience into prayer.
My verdict: The international performers gave a rocking stolid performance that combines, energy, tempo with praise and worship. As for the local curtain raisers, they need to borrow a leaf from their international counterparts and polish up on public performances.