By Ashley Moyo
Massive! This aptly describes the Alick Macheso, with guitar, 12th album launch and 54th birthday celebration at Aquatic Complex in Chitungwiza.
On Friday, the venue was filled to capacity with many being turned away and with the help of the police they had to close the gate and only opening it for those going out.
By 11am, his handlers said, a queue of early birds had formed at the venue buying tickets in preparation of the night.
Hiking gate fees did not help the situation as others even volunteered to pay US$50 to gain entry just to have a glimpse of the singer on stage.
It was two for two for the musician following another successful night out at the executive night out at Rainbow Towers on Thursday.
“We are grateful for this huge support. We had no option but to close the gate as a crowd management measure. Signs of over subscription were visible in the morning as people queued for early tickets. This a lesson learnt. The next step is to take the album to the people and we have a number of shows on cards,” his publicist Tich Makahamadze told the Daily News on the sidelines.
This was a reminder of crowds sungura musicians used to attract back in the days before death robbed the industry of other big names.
Macheso was supported by several musicians among them Leonard Zhakata, Andy Muridzo and Selmor Mtukudzi who took people down the memory lane with songs from her late father’s catalogue such as Tozeza Baba.
Andy Muridzo had a rude awakening during the middle of his set with another section of music lovers calling for his removal on stage before he shifted a gear up and changed to his mbira songs.
Baba Harare had a good day in the office that he was showered with money on stage with a local businessman promising to give him US$10 000. He also performed his duet Rita with social media personality Mai Titi who was also in the crowd.
Macheso was in his usual form, opening his set with songs off the latest album coupled with new drills from his dancers on stage.
His erstwhile dancers Franco Slomo, Darlington Matoki, Peter Kagomera and Kachule reunited with him on stage but the biggest highlight was that of Franco Slomo.
He asked him to state whatever he wants from him with the crowd hoping he would publicly declare his return to join his former paymaster.
This was a difficult decision for him to make and he offered to join the band on stage to remind the people of what they used to do on stage and he did not disappoint.
Franco Slomo is the front man of Extra Kwazvose and according to Macheso he at one point asked to curtain raise for him.
It was clear that other dancers were uncomfortable with the presence of the former dancers and at one point Majuice the current dancer blocked Kachule from greeting Macheso before the musician rebuked him against “closing the door for others”.
Parliamentarian Job Sikhala could not resist the music in his backyard and found himself on stage greeting the musician.
Macheso was initially reluctant but he was left with no option but to greet him as he had made his way to the stage after the masters of ceremony made noise about his presence.
Footballer Willard Katsande travelled from his base in South Africa to be part of the historic event.
The icing on the cake was Madzibaba Nicholas Zakaria joining his “student” on stage for their all time hit Mabvi Nemagokora much to the pleasure of many.