Image Courtsey: Paul Munene, Quaint Photography
Joss Stone Concert at Purdy Arms, any takers? This was my message to my WhatsApp group, the one that always has takers for events like these- surely you must have a group like that.
Who the F… is Joss stone? the baba in the group asked. Though with the kind of language he uses, he’s far from being a baba- in the respectable sense I mean.
What’s the best song she’s sang? A more open minded group member asked.
The third member of our group said nothing- which would have been OK if she wasn’t the one who always has a response or question or comment for whatever anyone says. I got the message.
Before my typing status could appear again, baba was back: Koroga With Awilo Longomba this Sunday, any takers? He had moved on. To more familiar territory. And that was it; my proposal had died a very quick and sudden death. Ah well… I would be going without them.
Actually, I wouldn’t have been going at all if a friend hadn’t suggested it. Now she is the kind of friend whose company I always enjoy. Every. Single. Time. I said yes to the concert when she asked- not because I love Joss Stone, because she’s my BFF. Truth be told, other than a song called Super Duper Love, and only because I have the soundtrack to a movie where it features, I wouldn’t have known who the F… Joss Stone was either. I am Kenyan. Kenyans don’t know Joss Stone. We know Chris Brown, not Joss Stone. And it’s our loss.
4 days to the concert, I thought it would be worth arming myself with some good ol’ fashioned knowledge. I googled Joss Stone and chose a random album on YouTube. I listened. And listened. And listened. I couldn’t stop listening. How had I lived all these years without Joss Stone’s music? My BFF was also listening and listening (like me, she didn’t initially know who she was signing up for very well). After an hour, we WhatsApped each other…
OMG! was our unanimous verdict.
Joss Stone’s music is something else. She’s one of those hit after hit after hit singers- there is no bad stuff in between. With a voice like hers it’s hard to have bad stuff but then again, Adele has a great voice too but there is some average stuff in her albums- so it can’t just be about the voice. It’s about the music, the way it’s made, how it sounds and speaks to you, how it makes you feel. After 2 days of listening to no one but Joss Stone, Saturday couldn’t come fast enough.
And when it came, I was ready. But the weather was dodgy, the kind where the sun shines and shines really hard for 7 minutes, then you get clouds for 11 minutes followed by some rain for God knows how long and then the sun is back and the cycle keeps repeating itself all day. In retrospect, I should have layered rather than worn my polo neck and jacket that day but when I left the house it was pretty cold and it was raining plus I was going to Karen- the coldest place in Nairobi, right?
Technically, the show was starting at 3pm. But this is Kenya, you know how it goes… Anyway, my BFF and I had a plan: meet at the concert venue Purdy Arms at 2pm and have a catchup lunch beforehand. But then again, this is Kenya, you how it goes… Long story short, we met up a few minutes before 3pm and it would be hours before the show actually started. The food was good, the drinks were better, our catchup was awesome. The crowd started to trickle in from 4pm, a lot of Karen folk- you can always spot Karen folk.
Local bands attempted to entertain us as we waited. Some succeeded, others failed but even so, the excitement in the air was palpable. Joss Stone was coming! And after the hide and seek games, the sun finally decided to hide for good at 5ish. Then it started to pour. Jeez, how it poured. But even that didn’t dampen spirits. Joss Stone was coming!
Joss Stone appeared on stage at 9pm
And what an appearance. Mesmerizing is the word to describe it. It was the way the guitarists made their entrance. Since guitar players automatically qualify for cool, cool guitar players are the coolest of the cool and trust me, these guys were cool guitar players. They may or may not have been wearing shades when they appeared (I’m not sure, all I remember is being mesmerized with their coolness). Their wicked tunes dazzled us for about 60 seconds and then… she emerged, like an angel through the clouds (in this case the clouds being the stage fog). She dove straight in with her vocals. From where I was standing, she looked like a rockstar angel. A very beautiful rockstar angel with serious vocals and some badass wingmen (the cool guitarists of course).
You know that moment in life when everything seems right with the world and you wouldn’t change a thing? Yup, we had that moment when Joss appeared on stage that night. The lighting was perfect; the sound was off the hinges and she was there, singing. What a voice!
Joss Stone has got to be one of the most underrated singers of our time. People had their phones up in the air- taking pictures and videos or whatever. Everywhere was dark except the stage and from a distance, it might have looked like there was a massive congregation of fireflies watching Joss Stone perform. She sang and we sang, she danced and we danced, and took pictures and videos.
Then, suddenly, she started to say goodnight and I thought what?!? Joss Stone seemed too polite to start pulling a Kanye West on us, how could she… But then I looked at my watch, and as it turned out, she had done 2 full hours. And you know how 2 hours can either be a very long or very short time? Well Joss Stone made them very short, too short actually. She may not be well known in Kenya but when she honoured us with her performance, Joss Stone won our hearts, not just on this night but for life.
Nairobi was the 87th stop of Joss Stone’s Total World Tour gig where she travels to and performs in every country in the world. See the full gallery of the show below and the video of a song she performed with Kenyan singer Winyo while here.