For the 60 minutes that he occupied the stage with his band, the Mambo Club area, which lies within the Old Fort grounds in Stone town-Zanzibar, remained ram full.
Throughout the concert, members of the audience, which was clearly dominated by those below 30-years of age, jumped and pranced together with Alikiba from one familiar number to another.
The eight-piece band, which included two background singers, all clearly under 35 years of age, kept the musical sounds firm and tight behind the versatile showman, who proved he could hold his own with a live band.
From the time he came on stage, Alikiba made sure to cover all angles surrounding the front of the stage, by moving from side to side and the centre, continuously addressing members of the audience.
This helped revealed his professional, while keeping-up a short but frequent line of conversation with the audience, in the midst of thumping musical sounds into the cool Zanzibar night’s breeze.
When his younger brother, Abdul Kiba, joined him, about 20 minutes before the end of the show, the already pumping environment went up another notch.
Judging from the audience’s reaction, with their endless chants and shouts, had this act been given more time, it can be safely assumed that no one would have complained.
However, it was easily understood why the organisers stuck to time. After all, they had not given any extra time to any of the other acts, which preceded Alikiba and helped create the atmosphere he found, despite several requests from the audience for this.
Amongst these proceeding acts was the veteran Zanzibar-based Culture Musical Club Taarab group, who made their sixth appearance on the SZB stage.
There was also a stunning appearance by Tcheka from Cape Verde, who thrilled the audience with his “soul, funk, modern with a touch of the old and original” style of music, as one member of the audience was heard to describe it.
Also on the opening night’s line-up was the Bagamoyo-based Msafiri Zawose with his band, who delighted the audience with their Gogo sound. From the audience’s reaction, they certainly enjoyed the musical journey back to Dodoma, which had a distinct modern twang to it.
The performance also demonstrated that not only has Msafiri mastered a wide range of instruments, including the marimba, zeze, ilimba and ngoma, he has also surrounded himself with equally talented group members, like the young lady on percussion.