It was Dubai’s Glastonbury moment. With its closing concert at the Dubai Media City Amphitheatre, the du World Music Festival ended with thunder, lightning and rain. The initial despair at the weather’s intransigence turned to defiance as the crowd used cardboard cartons and bags as shelter.
But the elements didn’t take the shine out of Shamma Hamdan’s big moment. The 20-year-old Emirati singer’s arrival on the main stage was the culmination of a journey that began with that fateful audition in last year’s Arabs Got Talent. Her performance last night felt like a graduation. She looked the part, too, in a green gown with a diamond-studded belt. After a shaky start, Hamdan went on to sing Khaleeji classics and the Egyptian pop number Ashoufak Youm.
The Emirati pop king Hussein Al Jassimi performed nearly all his hits, his kandura soaked through. “If you are going to get wet, then so am I,” he told the crowd.
“We are in this together tonight.”
Amr Diab continued the rallying spirit with a joyous set, proving that he still is the gold standard for Arabic pop. “You folks OK?” he asked to the crowd’s roar. “It feels like a football match tonight.”
Diab’s impression was not that far off. Leaving the venue wet and weary, the feeling among the crowd was one of victory.
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