From traditional West African highlife music to modern-day Afrobeat R&B, Adekunle Gold has become one of the top exports during the genre’s globalization. Initially garnering attention for his 2014 One Direction “Story of My Life” cover (later retitled “Sade”), Gold used that momentum to launch his career and release four studio albums. His 2022 Catch Me If You Can Tour kicked off in Boston in support of his album of the same name released earlier this year, which features contributions from Davido, Ty Dolla $ign and Lucky Daye.
Gold’s tour made its second stop at the famed Apollo Theater in Harlem on Friday night. Matching his suave and eccentric sound as an artist, he donned the stage wearing a silk green-and-purple piece designed by British designer Ozwald Boateng. One of the first songs of the night was “Pami,” which had the crowd singing along with every note while video, lights and pyrotechnics made the Apollo look like a festival ground.
Gold’s vocals were in top form through the setlist, which was drawn heavily from the new album, perhaps leaving longtime fans wanting just a bit more from the back catalog. That being said, the setlist was crafted in a way that kept the energy high, with few dips in tempo and vibe. It felt like a party — he even included an Afrobeat remix of Sisqo’s 2000 hit “Thong Song,” which got a warm (and amused) reaction from the crowd.
Gold also used the concert as a platform for new talent. Before his set, NYC Afrobeat singer Fadi took the stage to perform her new single, “Peace of Mind,” and midway through the concert, Gold took a brief intermission to welcome rising star Pheelz to perform his viral hit “Finesse,” featuring Buju, making the singer’s first performance in the United States.
Shortly after, Gold returned to the stage, with a new outfit and another batch of songs, many of which were slower and mid-tempo. He serenaded the crowd as he sang “One Woman,” and closed out the show with an extended version of his signature song, “Higher” as fans clamored to get closer to him.