At the iconic Enmore Theatre, evenings often promise magic, but on this particular night, the promise felt larger than life. It all started with a hint of enchantment as JACOTÉNE, the teenage prodigy, delivered vocals that made the crowd come to a collective understanding that she was someone to watch out for. The baton then passed to the magnetic Kojey Radical. Melding humour and rhythm, he whipped up an energy cocktail, ensuring that the audience was both entertained and
thoroughly primed for what was about to unfold.
The real magic, however, commenced when Nigerian Afrobeats sensation, Tems graced the stage. If energy levels could be measured, I'd wager the room’s had just skyrocketed. Kicking off with "Higher", Tems showcased her unique ability to blend vast spaces with cozy intimacy. It was as if she had magically transformed the venue into a snug fireplace gathering, complete with stories, music, and memories. Her ability to seamlessly blend Afrobeats with elements of R&B and soul was a testament to the genre's versatility.
Traversing her rich discography from hits like "Damages" to the mesmerizing "Essence," it was evident that every heart was pulsating to her rhythm. Here was an audience, Australians from all walks of life, dancing in harmony, united not just by their love for Tems, but by the broader cultural embrace of Afrobeats. With stars like Burna Boy and Wizkid rising in prominence, Tems' sold-out performance wasn't just another concert – it was the dawn of Afrobeats as a cultural pillar in
Speaking of magic, there's an unsung quality that the best artists possess: genuine connection. Tems didn't just connect; she intertwined her essence with every soul present. Diving into the audience, she didn’t merely perform to them but for them, spontaneously weaving their stories into her freestyles. This isn't the norm, and it’s refreshing when an artist sees her audience not just as listeners but as co-creators of the moment.
Amidst this musical journey, a poignant moment emerged as a fan offered Tems a bouquet, which she ever so gratefully accepted. It was a simple yet profound gesture, symbolizing the collective adoration of those present.
Now, no exceptional story is complete without a visual setting, and the stage, though modest in design, was perfect for this performance. The brilliance of Tems was undeniably amplified by her live band, whose impeccable rhythm and harmonies created a rich soundscape that enveloped the theatre. Their synergy was palpable, each instrument a voice that added depth and dimension to the
The true unsung heroes, however, were her dancers. They moved with an infectious energy, every step and gesture echoing the emotion and stories Tems was singing. They painted the very air with their passion, perfectly complementing the musical journey, their presence transforming the stage into a pulsating world of rhythm and emotion.
As the evening appeared to draw to a close with an electrifying guitar solo and dance showcase, the audience, much like Oliver Twist, wanted more. The chorus of "One more song!" felt less like a request and more like a heartfelt plea. And Tems, being every bit the gracious performer, acquiesced with "Free Mind," leaving us all a tad more enlightened than when we walked in.
Exiting the concert, there was a collective sentiment, an unsaid acknowledgment amongst us attendees: we had not just been a part of a concert; we'd shared in a phenomenon. While Tems may be grounded in her Nigerian roots, her music, spirit, and sheer magnetism transcend boundaries. In that night’s symphony of melodies and emotions, she didn’t just serenade us; she took us on a journey, one that I suspect many will be eager to embark on again.
PHOTOS BY VALERIE LEE