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Depeche Mode performs on the last evening of the Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix on Yas Island. Antonie Robertson / The National
Depeche Mode performs on the last evening of the Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix on Yas Island. Antonie Robertson / The National

Abu Dhabi just can’t get enough as Depeche Mode round off F1 weekend

British electronic music band Depeche Mode brings fine finish to five days of concert action on Yas Island and Abu Dhabi Cornice as Formula One Abu Dhabi Grand Prix comes to an end.

The Abu Dhabi Grand Prix festivities came to a fine end last night courtesy of veteran act Depeche Mode.

The British electronic pioneers command a fervent following, with many long-time fans in attendance.

“I saw them over 20 times in Europe and it’s so good to see them here in the UAE,” said Alessandra Priante, an Abu Dhabi resident who was on her way to a meet and greet session with the band.

“I think many people will see one of the best shows in their life tonight.”

During their performance, the group proved they were not simply a nostalgia act, with the opening salvo of songs in their performance coming from their new album Delta Machine.

Mascara-wearing frontman David Gahan introduced his bluesy croon in the atmospheric opener, Welcome to my World.

The follow-up found him getting snarly as he belted out Angel, before quickening the pulse with the sturdy Walking in My Shoes – an old-time favourite.

Depeche Mode’s performance caps off five days of concert action on Yas Island and Abu Dhabi’s Corniche.

Du Arena was home to a range of eclectic acts during this year’s GP event, beginning with an Arab concert on Thursday that featured the UAE’s Hussein Al Jasmi and Egyptian pop king Amr Diab.

The following night saw a blistering performance by hip-hop heavy weight Jay Z, while Saturday saw English rock trio Muse deliver a typically epic set featuring their trademark dazzling visuals.

For Faisal Hennawi, the whole Grand Prix made for a grand vacation. The Syrian race fan flew in from his home in Saudi Arabia to attend his first Abu Dhabi GP.

“It had been fantastic and very easy to get around,” Mr Hennawi said. “Depeche Mode are good but I really enjoyed Thursday’s concert with Amr Diab.”

Meanwhile, the free Beats on the Beach concerts had leading artists from both East and West entertaining crowds of music lovers.

Filipino singers Gary Valenciano and Vina Morales took to the Corniche stage on Thursday night to perform for a large compatriot audience, before rappers Ludacris and Sean Kingston appeared on Friday and Saturday respectively.

But the biggest audience was reserved for Arab Idol winner Mohammad Assaf, who recently performed in Dubai.

The Palestinian singer was accorded a hero’s welcome by more than 15,000 fans in his debut Abu Dhabi performance on Friday night.

sasaeed@thenational.ae

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