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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 18 June 2018

Review: Calvin Harris nails opening night gig at Abu Dhabi GP after-race concerts 

The Scottish DJ played an epic 85-minute set that consisted of his chart toppers as well as fan favourites at du Arena

Calvin Harris got the Abu Dhabi GP after-race concerts off to a hot start. Photo courtesy Flash
Calvin Harris got the Abu Dhabi GP after-race concerts off to a hot start. Photo courtesy Flash

Phones out and dance moves flowing, Calvin Harris kicked off the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix after-race concerts in style on Thursday night.

The 33-year-old DJ appeared on an elevated stage at du Arena on the dot at 9pm and delved straight into his vast discography. He kicked off his set with his 2012 hit Sweet Nothing featuring Florence Welch (from Florence and the Machine) before transitioning to his song Bounce with Kelis and then switching to another popular collaboration in This Is What You Came For with Rihanna.

Playing such hits early would be a sign of things to come for the rest of the night. Mixing old and new songs as well as tracks from other artists, Harris maintained the energy he started off with, with ease throughout and at times even seemed to build on it as the next song played.

With all the songs he showcased during his 85 minute set, sometimes it’s easy to forget just how many chart toppers Harris has had a hand in. Then again, he’s been named the highest-paid DJ for the last four years so perhaps it shouldn’t be a surprise?

Whether he’s singing his own songs (Summer, Flashback) or part of collaborations (We Found Love with Rihanna, Outside with Ellie Goulding, Thinking About You with Ayah Marar), the gig was a friendly reminder of his impressive discography over the years.

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The only disappointing part of the gig would be that Harris’ stage presence was close to non-existent with only a couple of shout outs throughout the night – reminding us he was even up there.

But visually, he made up for it with the spectacle of lasers, fire and smoke that was perfectly choreographed to match every bass drop in a strong set that helped keep the energy going throughout.

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For fans of EDM, the show was on par with what to expect from one of the world’s top DJ. Playing hit songs during his set with chart toppers like Major Lazer’s Lean On to Luis Fonzi and Daddy Yankee’s Despacito interspersed with old school anthems like Show Me Love by Robin S and Animals by Martin Garrix – the Scottish DJ hit the mark at du Arena to kick off Abu Dhabi’s biggest party weekend.

The Abu Dhabi Formula One After-Race concert series continues with J Cole, Mumford and Sons and Pink from November 24-26 at du Arena, Yas Island. Doors open from 6pm. Access to the shows is only available for those purchasing tickets for corresponding race day.