x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Chris Brown and Tamer Hosny perform in the UAE

We round up the weekend's concerts in the UAE, particularly the R&B artist Chris Brown and Egyptian singer Tamer Hosny.

Chris Brown performs at Dubai Festival City.
Chris Brown performs at Dubai Festival City.

It was a big weekend for music in the UAE, with a bevy of international acts dropping by to entertain local audiences.

On Friday night, there was the R&B artist Chris Brown at Dubai Festival City, the Egyptian singer Tamer Hosny at Burj Park and the renowned Indian composer AR Rahman at Dubai International Cricket Stadium. On both Thursday and Friday, all-star DJs such as Tiesto and Jochen Miller spun for Creamfields at Yas Arena, the biggest event of its kind in the region.

For parents struggling to find out what's fashionably hip with teenagers these days, Brown's show was a good place to start: apparently wearing glasses is cool now, as every second person was wearing oversized spectacles to go along with beach hats and matching glow-sticks.

While the crowd resembled a Nickelodeon awards show, there was no denying their anticipation to see the 22-year-old troubled star; so much so a portly security guard elicited thrills when people mistook his shadow for Brown as he walked across the stage.

The incessant shrieking reached a crescendo when the large screen displayed a one-minute countdown, ending with the lights revealing a stage consisting of Roman pillars, two large platforms holding statuesque lions and a set of stairs rising to the back. It was from here Brown entered, accompanied by a video montage showcasing his array of magazine covers. He joined his eight-person dance crew before immediately launching into the electro-fuelled Do You Remember.

It was in this performance where one appreciates Brown's decision to ditch the silky R&B stylings of previous records to embrace the dancier direction of his latest album, the successful F.A.M.E.

Not only did it make him sound more revitalised on record, but on stage it makes full use of his undeniable dancing talents.

Despite his constantly active backing dancers, there was no doubt as to who was the hardest working man in the room as Brown pushed them through thumping renditions of I Can Transform Ya, Run It! and Ballin'.

While this opening salvo of songs – where Brown rarely sang except for a few whoops – threatened to become another Britney-gate, the show improved quickly when he grabbed the microphone and kept it with him.

While the set-list focused heavily on the up-tempo dance numbers, Brown also performed a steady supply of his syrupy hits such as Yo (Excuse Me Miss) and She Ain't You. The song Deuces received one of the night's biggest reactions with audiences holding up the appropriate hand signs.

While Brown kept the performance moving, the set plodded when he and his dancers left the stage for repeated costume changes.

The tour DJ Baby Drew failed to keep the audiences enthused throughout these intervals with stale song selections and increasingly tired comments, remarking on "the beautiful ladies in the audience".

But whenever Brown returned – either in white shirt and jeans or Chinese-style, long black shirt and trousers – he didn't skip a beat.

He finished with the trancey Beautiful People, where he and the dancers wore glow-in-the-dark apparel that looked stunning on stage.

It was a great way to cap off an energetic performance, proving that despite his setbacks Brown still has a lot to offer the music world.

Although his concert started just more than an hour late, the Egyptian megastar Tamer Hosny did not disappoint his fans from the minute he hit the stage.

Organised by the Dubai-based Sundance Events, Hosny's concert was part of his Elly Gai Ahla world tour.

As members of his band began to take positions, fans began yelling "Yallah ya Tamer!"

A few minutes later, just past 10pm, he appeared onstage to a roaring crowd of a few thousand people. He had arrived from Australia the previous night.

"Are you ready?" asked the singer and actor. "I live for you, I swear."

Since launching his career in 2004, Hosny has released eight albums and won international accolades including Best Singer in the Middle East at the Big Apple Music Awards in 2009 and a "One of the 10 Most Influential in Arab Cinema" citation by Variety magazine the same year.

In between singing his hit songs including Kol Mara, Ba'eesh and Enayah Bithibak, Hosny interacted with the crowd, making jokes and accepting small gifts, some of which he managed to catch onstage. He even interrupted a song when a fan threw him an unexpected present.

"This is a wedding ring. Are you trying to tell me something?" he asked the fan, to the crowd's laughter.

The star also touched on current affairs, describing 2010 as "a tough year" - a reference to recent events across the Middle East. "I hope next year brings peace and happiness to all Arab countries. Clap for Egypt everyone," he yelled.

As the time reached 12:25am, Hosny ended by thanking the crew, his band and most importantly his fans.

"You are the only reason I can still do this successfully," he said.

 

artslife@thenational.ae