Abu Dhabi Grand Prix: 5 things that could happen this Formula One weekend
...and two things that definitely won't go down during the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix festivities
The drivers' and constructors' championships might already be wrapped up on the track, but as the Formula One juggernaut rolls into Abu Dhabi for its season finale, plenty of potential unpredictability remains when it comes to the musical entertainment. It's the weekend of the year for live shows and club sets in the capital – here are our top five predictions for possible surprises to look out for on the stages of Yas Island in the coming days, plus a pair of scenarios to file under "no chance"...
1. The Weeknd and Future guest at each other's shows
Longtime cross-pollinators of tunes with dubious morals surrounding anything approaching fidelity, Canadian smoothie The Weekend and mumbling Atlanta-born rapper Future have shared a studio on more than one occasion across their already extensive discographies. Here's hoping that either or both of their respective appearances at du Arena and Mad might include All I Know, an addictively paranoid cut from The Weeknd's most recent full-length, Starboy, that when read in a certain way comes off as a tender call-and-response conversation between two lovers. Possibly not what the duo intended. Bonus prediction: Future will hands down represent the most Auto-Tuned artist of the entire weekend.
The Weeknd plays at du Arena on Friday; Future plays at Mad on Sunday
2. Sam Smith will be maddeningly nice
Before living Game of Thrones character Ed Sheeran became omnipresent – although thankfully not omnipotent – the UK had a solo voice that seemed set to define a generation. Whether you love, hate or simply can't be bothered to form an opinion on Sam Smith, there's no arguing that the London-born singer carved a stellar career thanks to a larynx so effortless that it rendered most other vocalists straining amateurs via hits such as Stay with Me. The latter-day section of his career hasn't quite hit the same heights, but after speaking eloquently about his well-publicised battles with depression and body image, it's almost impossible to hate him. A nice multimillionaire? Who'd have thunk it?
Sam Smith plays at du Arena on Saturday
3. French Montana reprises his Lebanese pop-star project
One of four headline acts ripping up the Mad stage on Yas Island as part of its annual extravaganza of late-night PAs, American-Moroccan chart rapper French Montana probably won't hang around all that long onstage – these sets are traditionally short and sweet. That said, there might just be time to underline his regional relevance, if he can persuade Lebanese star Maya Diab and Lebanese-Canadian R&B/pop singer Massari to nip in for a cameo on their remake Amr Diab's 1996 hit song Nour El Ein, which was conceived earlier this year. Extra points if he raps in Arabic.
French Montana plays at Mad on Friday
4. Axl Rose asks to be given some reggae
A 50-something white man asking his increasingly ageing audience to “gimme some reggae”. It shouldn't work. And it doesn't. But assuming that the ginger Guns N' Roses leader hasn't renounced his love of Caribbean lilts, his regular interlude to Bob Dylan cover Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door does present an opportunity to see that rarest of things: a viral internet curio IRL. Judging by the Sunset Strip hell-raisers' recent form, Axl, Slash, Duff and co might even turn up on time, something to which they seemed almost medically allergic during the fallow 2000s years when Rose “got the band back together”, only forgot to include the rest of the classic-era band in said exercise in nostalgia. Thank goodness they buried the hatchet.
Sadly, the original internet-hit-tastic video seems to have disappeared, but you can still enjoy the full glory here:
Guns N' Roses play at du Arena on Sunday
5. Craig David makes anybody with a sense of humour almost weep with laughter
The British R&B stalwart has certainly reinvented himself in recent times, combining his syrupy croon with actual DJing chops in spliced-together sets that have served to catapult him back to relevance. That said, as long as he remains almost contractually obliged to wheel out songs from his early-2000s UK garage prime, you will be treated to lines so cheesy that if you said them out loud to a breathing member of the opposite gender, you would be mirthfully derided to within an inch of your life. One especially family-publication-unfriendly line from his show supporting 50 Cent at the Meydan in Dubai many moons back comes to mind – suffice to say it was 79/80ths of the way towards a #metoo moment.
Craig David plays at the at F1 Trackside Yacht Party on Saturday and Sunday
You can probably put your mortgage on the fact that these unlikely events won't materialise, however:
1. Post Malone calls Guns N' Roses onstage while he strums the solo to Sweet Child O' Mine
Kid Rock for the SoundCloud generation, or tattooed rapper Post Malone to his millions of fans, is fond of whipping out his six-string with little to no encouragement during live shows. And while we would pay good money to see him comprehensively outgunned in musical ability by Axl Rose's virtuoso guitar-slingers, we're going to go out on a limb and say the reformed rockers probably have as much interest in rubbing shoulders with the man born Austin Richard Post as the latter does in injecting actual meaningful content into his really rather vacuous pop-hop.
Post Malone plays at du Arena on Thursday
2. Yas Island nightspot Iris switches its musical policy and plays Slayer songs all weekend
Only joking: it's wall-to-wall house music at the bar-slash-club during the F1 festivities, with the likes of Erick Morillo and Roger Sanchez taking command of the decks/pre-mixed zip drives with a crossfader (delete as applicable). Clubbing's genre-based answer to the question “What if lift music had a bassline?” continues to rule the after-dark roost in the UAE, then. A little more ambition in booking policies involving talent that hasn't already frequented these shores might not go amiss next year, though, folks.
Iris hosts DJs every night during the F1 weekend, from Thursday to Sunday
Updated: November 21, 2018 06:19 PM