NKOLE NKOLE, Lusaka
ON FRIDAY night, the Lusaka Polo Club played host to two music greats of the R&B nineties and early 2000s era, Joe Thomas and Brian McKnight, at the much anticipated Stanbic Music Festival.
Couples cosied up and some relationships may have been mended after the singers gave their Zambian fans show stopping performances of some of their greatest hits.
It was really a night for the ladies with how Thomas and McKnight effortlessly managed to steal the hearts of their Zambian lady fans through their ultimate hit lists.
Thomas began his set by throwing it back with a delivery of Stutter, a song he released in the year 2000 and then switched to Don’t Wanna Be a Player, a song that struck an obvious chord with his cheering fans.
The years have not robbed Thomas of his smooth moves which he managed to pull during the performance of Ride Wit U.
He also performed a running man dance to Poison, originally sang by Bell Biv DeVoe, after which he officially introduced himself to the audience and let them know it was good to be with them.
Thomas had the ladies in the crowd back him in Thank God I Found You, a track he first recorded with Mariah Carey, and which he began with a rap.
When he transitioned to If I Was Your Man, the audience, well, the ladies to be precise, cooperatively chanted upon his insistence as the song faded out.
He announced to the ladies who were single that he could be their man but he particularly needed one. “One good man for one good woman,” he stressed.
As the passion of his set peaked, Thomas removed his jacket, grabbed the acoustic guitar and slowed things down a notch with an acoustic delivery of All That I Am before taking his audience further back in time with No One Else Comes Close.
Other highlights of his set were his performance of hits such as I believe in You and The Love Scene.
The crowd was hysterical when he began singing another Thomas favourite, Good Girls, and by the end of his set, people were still standing in appreciation of the hour and a half walk down musical memory lane he had taken them on.
There was a bit of a wait for the second headliner of the night, the R&B singer-songwriter, arranger, producer, and musician, Brian McKnight, but it was worth it when he finally descended on stage with a dramatic entry, crooning the track, Shoulda Woulda Coulda, released in 2003 with such smooth, admirable ease.
McKnight told the crowd he wanted to keep coming back every year and his powerful vocals helped him own the stage.
He said a record he put out in 1995 was responsible for a lot of babies born during that era before performing the actual song, Crazy Love and spell-binding the ladies in the audience while doing so.
He then took fans back to 1997 with Anytime as the voices of fans singing along resounded inside the Lusaka Polo Club Grounds.
“Do I ever cross your mind, anytime? Do you ever wake up reaching out for me?” they chanted in unison.
McKnight openly expressed his desire to see some of the hate in the world being replaced by love before he sweetly sang his 2001 release, Everything.
His set included tributes to late greats such as Michael Jackson with a rendition of Rock With You. All the while he was as cool as cucumber and demonstrated the years had done nothing to his silky voice.
Of course McKnight’s set would have been incomplete without his delivery of the 1999 hit Back at One, which is one of the few songs his fans sang along from start to finish.
Supporting acts who coloured the night included singers Esther Chungu and Kiki while afro jazz artiste James Sakala was called upon at the last minute to fill up the slot for Chef 187, who could not make it due to a family bereavement.
NKOLE NKOLE, Lusaka