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Chaos mars diva Anita Baker's Jozi show

By unknown | Aug 28, 2008 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

Edward Tsumele

Edward Tsumele

The lady of soul has come and given her best, and the crowd turned out in big numbers to fill up Hall 6 at Nasrec on Sunday. However, that fateful concert has exposed the fault lines and tested the country's local promoters in hosting a top-class event.

Organised by T-Musicman, which until now had demonstrated excellence and flair in hosting top shows, the once-off Anita Baker concert left music fans fuming.

Since Monday, callers to Kaya FM, which together with Sowetan were co-media sponsors, expressed their displeasure about the concert.

From the word go, when Baker ascended the stage, lights were switched off in the rest of the hall except on stage, and for sometime the crowd held their breath, hoping that they would be switched on again for them to see their idol in action. That, of course, never happened. The sound was also not the best expected of such a high-profile event. Baker herself kept on calling for the lights to be switched on and the technicians to do something about the sound, to no avail.

Traffic control was also not up to scratch as marshals seemed to struggle in coping with the volume of traffic.

And because the screens were not quite clear, people who were seated at the back left their seats and moved to the front to have a better view of the soul diva.

This caused congestion and discomfort at the front.

Some frustrated fans were seen leaving when the singer was barely three songs into her performance.

However, the bonus on the part of the organisers was the fact that they had brought a popular singer, who, despite the shortcomings, had captivated the audience.

The turnout also proved that the choice of the artist was in touch with the feelings and expectations of soul music fans.

Tickets were sold out and there was barely enough parking space within Nasrec as some cars were parked on streets in surrounding residential areas.

So what went wrong at the Anita Baker concert? Sowetan put this question to T-Musicman boss Peter Tladi, and this is his response: "The organisers of the recent Anita Baker concert apologise profusely and unequivocally to our patrons for the bad experience encountered during the event - we acknowledge and view all incidents in a serious light.

"In the 19 years of staging music events, this is the first time to stage an indoor concert of this nature at The Expo Centre and as such it is the first time the organisers experienced such mishaps.

"We believe this is due to an operational plan that was not correctly executed. We wish to indicate the following:

"Having satisfied all the artist's technical rider requirements, the local South African team handed over technical operations for the show to Anita Baker's technical team on Sunday at 1pm - at the time the sound was perfect.

"A handover is normal, and in accordance with contractual requirements with many established stars, their own technical teams operate their shows' technical operations for a performance. Anita Baker's team operated her desk in this regard and the local organisers have no control over this aspect.

"The sound experience was in accordance with the operation of Anita's technical standards as performed in all her shows.

"The Expo Centre provides all security for events in the facility and all reasonable effort was made to provide adequate security.

"Lapses occurred around traffic marshalling and Metro police reinforcements assisted to clear traffic blockages. The ushering service provider was overwhelmed, resulting in seat allocation mishaps and confusion."


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