It was only rock ‘n’roll, but we really liked it. Friday night’s concert by The Rolling Stones at du Arena on Yas Island was a great success on several fronts. As the packed stadium demonstrated, there is a large and enthusiastic audience for gigs here in the UAE by great international artists. And, apart from the hassle some fans had hailing taxis after the show, Abu Dhabi has the infrastructure to support big events.
But what the night really proved is that, at an age when others may be enjoying the fruits of retirement, Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Ronnie Wood and Charlie Watts are still doing what they love, and they are still at the top of their game. It would have been easy for them to “phone in” the performance, their first in the UAE and the first of their 2014 tour. But they and their backing band, including special guest and former Stone Mick Taylor, gave 100 per cent, with a set list that couldn’t possibly include all their hits, but had something for every fan.
Perhaps because they need their beauty sleep more than ever these days, the Stones came on just before 9pm and were packing up about 11pm. That’s something teenage star Justin Bieber – who had no qualms about coming on late, twice, in Dubai and playing way beyond his average fan’s bed time – could do well to learn from the old masters.