The Dubai Music Week concerts may have started with a bang on Thursday night with will.i.am and Timbaland, but it ended with a whimper on Sunday.
The free Pepsi Arabic Concert, featuring a cavalcade of The X Factor Arabia and Arab Idol stars, was sparsely attended – the young artists performing to only a handful of people in the cavernous Dubai World Trade Centre venue. But it didn’t detract from the night’s musical quality.
The began with the Pepsi Band Slam winners Empty Chair. After impressing the crowd with their set last week during Dubai Music Week, online fans voted them as winners of the regional band competition.
The Jordanian five-piece performed a set peppered with covers including a smooth take on Black Magic Woman.
The second part of the evening saw Dubai Music Week’s creative force, the legendary producer Quincy Jones, take the stage flanked by nearly 40 children and local celebrities, including the City of Life director Ali Mostafa, for a rendition of the 2011 charity single Bokra.
Despite the low turnout, the wheelchair-bound Jones was all smiles and got jiggy with it throughout the track’s uplifting rendition.
The night ended with both The X Factor Arabia and Arab Idol stars performing 10-minute sets. The former X Factor finalists Ibrahim Abd Elatheem and Adham Naboulsi clearly became more accustomed to the stage.
Abd Elatheem, whose nerves got the better of him in The X Factor programme, was relaxed throughout his set; his take on the Emirati Hussein Al Jasmi’s Habibi Ya Ashek received the warmest applause. The inaugural X Factor Arabia winner Mohamed Rifi also put on a strong set of covers, whetting the appetite for his debut album, scheduled to be released later in the year.
The Arab Idol contingent was represented by the Egyptian singer and 2012 winner Carmen Soliman, Dounia Batma and Yousef Arafat. Soliman was a bubbly stage presence, with the crowd singing along to her debut single, Kalam Kalam.
DMW attracted more than 25,000 fans of all ages across six days of live performances.