By Reagan Ssempijja
If, for some reason, you underestimated Juliana Kanyomozi’s ability to pull off a powerful show at the Kampala Serena Hotel on August 19, you were proven wrong in so many ways.
When the organisers of the Boundless Experience concert said doors would be open at 6:00pm, they probably did not mean it, but the fans actually took it serious.
By 6:30pm, a long line of eager fans was already snaking from one end of the Victoria Hall lounge to the main door of the hall.
Security had to restrain them from piercing through the door.
Inside the hall, Buzz Events had already done a fairly good job with the set-up, lighting, stage, and most notably, the sound. Without trying to experiment a lot, they delivered quite well.
By 7:30pm, the ordinary section, where by the way each person paid sh150,000, was already filled to capacity, with a few additional chairs. Ordinary was so packed so that if you stepped away for a few seconds, you would struggle to find your seat.
The folks who had bought tables took their time arriving for the show, which was fair because let us face it, you would not want to hustle your way into the hall with everyone at the door, after paying sh3m for a table.
While everyone settled in, Steve Keys, an unarguably talented keyboardist and vocalist, took the crowd through an almost hour-long set of retro pop, Rhythm and Blues music by various artistes.
He performed these covers in sync with the audience, as they sang along with him. At the end of his set, it was competition of who hit which high note better between Steve and the crowd, and of course, it could not have been the crowd.
Thereafter, a countdown to the start of the show was initiated, and while everyone expected a certain artiste to open for other curtain raisers, Kanyomozi showed up from the back end of the hall, clad in an all-white two-piece outfit.
As she walked majestically to the stage, the band played instrumentals of Kanyimbe, a gospel song by Juliana, and arguably one of the crowd’s favourites.
When she began singing, you could tell that she had rehearsed quite well. And for an artiste that has not had a concert in eight years, it was some homework done well.
For fans who expected a lot of Juliana’s new music, especially from the Bits And Pieces album, you were probably not the target audience, last night.
Clearly, the strategy was to entertain the crowd with the old Juliana, and it certainly worked, especially with songs like Diana, Nabikoowa, Nkyanoonya, Mundeke and Sirinayo Mulala.
Before going for a short break, Kanyomozi performed her rendition of Diana, a song originally done by the late Philly Lutaaya. On this one, she surprised the crowd when she invited Aziz Azion, who actually played the solo guitar in the rendition, to perform with her.
Aziz would, thereafter, perform two of his own songs – Nkumila Omukwano and Wampisa.
Another surprise act, in the second half of the show, was lost and almost forgotten artiste Sweet Kid. He stepped on stage to perform Sirinayo Mulala with Juliana, and the crowd went into a frenzy.
Many could not contain their excitement any more.
By the end of the show, one would comfortably say, hats off for Kanyomozi. She delivered on what her fans expected, and perhaps beyond. For an entire crowd to be standing on their feet, singing along to every song till the end was quite remarkable.
She performed for one hour and 45 minutes, closing the show with Kibaluma, and leaving the crowd in utter dissatisfaction.
It is rare that a show would end and everyone remains inside the venue for another 15 or so minutes.
Kanyomozi left her crowd overly entertained, but hungry for more.