Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 14 December 2019

Abu Dhabi F1 concert review: Marshmello excites a youthful audience

The US DJ kicked off the first of four after race concerts at du Arena

One aspect that distinguishes the Abu Dhabi F1 race from other destinations is that it is geared up to attract more than the seasoned petrol-head.

It was the first race to establish the after race concert series, a concept soon adopted by the likes of Singapore, Bahrain and Baku.

This shrewd move meant that an entire segment of the community that doesn't necessarily share an affinity for motorsports can get involved with the Abu Dhabi F1.

This was in stark display last night when the US DJ Marshmello kicked off the first of this year’s four after race concert series.

The 27-year-old bucket-headed DJ played in front of one of the youngest crowds I've ever seen at an F1 concert.

When I say young, I mean cute kids standing on the shoulders of their fathers. Kids playing chase in the golden circle while the supporting act - rapper MOH Flow - was spitting tough verses about the anxieties adulthood.

It was disorienting to say the least, but the kids did provide a positive atmosphere that was rather infectious. Children are also a forgiving crowd, a trait concert organisers relied on in the early minutes of Marshmello’s set after his shuddering beats proved too much for the house speakers which blew out a few minutes into the show.

Now, if that had happened in front of a more mature crowd, it would have been a scandal. Alas, all the tweens did was scream “louder” before returning to a fresh round of OMGs on their Snapchat.

Ten minutes later, Marshmello returned to the decks and properly kicked off a frenetic 80-minute set that could have easily functioned as a morning breakfast radio playlist.

This could have been a rather snide comment, if not for the fact that he is responsible for these hits. From ebullient synth pop of his Selena Gomez collaboration Wolves to the slinky rhythms of Friends with Anne Marie, you understand pretty quickly why he is loved by today's youth.

Marshmello has successfully grabbed elements of modern pop, house music and 90s euro-pop and boiled it down to infuriatingly catchy three minute ditties. Paired with eye-popping visuals, that included swirling colours and arresting animation, and more pyro techniques than you would see at a Kiss concert, it all served to conjure a party atmosphere that was a fitting way off kicking-off this year's Abu Dhabi F1 music weekend.

One down, three to go

The Abu Dhabi F1 after race concerts continue at du Arena with rappers Future and Gucci Mane taking the stage tonight, Friday, November 29. US torch singer Lana Del Ray will play Saturday, November 30 and The Killers will headline on Sunday, December 1.

To attend the after race concerts, you need to have a ticket for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. Tickets are available online from Yas Marina Circuit.

Updated: November 29, 2019 12:40 PM

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