x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 20 January 2018

Setting the beach alight

Mohammad Assaf and Ludacris performed to big crowds at Beats on The Beach.

Mohammad Assaf wooed and wowed Abu Dhabi. The-Cool-Box / FLASH Entertainment
Mohammad Assaf wooed and wowed Abu Dhabi. The-Cool-Box / FLASH Entertainment

The UAE’s love affair with Mohammed Assaf shows no signs of abating.

The Palestinian Arab Idol winner performed to more than 10,000 fans on the Corniche on the second night of Beats on the Beach.

Often seen in an immaculate suit, Assaf cut a more relaxed figure in a black shirt and jeans as he performed a range of Arab pop classics and Palestinian folk songs.

Assaf paid tribute to the late Lebanese singer Wadih El Safi with a smooth take on Ya’aini Ya Sabr, before bringing it back to the Gulf with a cover of the Saudi artist Mohammed Abdu’s Lana’lah.

The biggest roar of the night was reserved for what has now become his signature, the Palestinian patriotic song Ala Kufieh Ala.

While acting kept him away from music for nearly three years, Ludacris had amassed enough goodwill and hits to attract his own sizeable crowd.

Supported by the hype-man Lil Fade, the Atlantan entered the stage to the trunk-rattling Southern Fried Intro.

One of the more colourful characters in the hip-hop industry, Luda was all smiles when addressing crowd.

After asking where “all my Fast and the Furious fans are at” (the singer has a role in Fast & Furious 7, which is being partially shot in Abu Dhabi), he launched into the film franchise’s 2003 hit single Act a Fool and followed it up with the raunchy Area Codes.

Luda also performed a selection of his song-stealing cameos, including Usher’s Yeah! and Taio Cruz’s Break Your Heart.

Before taking the stage he talked about how much he enjoys visiting the Gulf. “As a musician you try to go to new places and see if your music connects with people,” he said. “When that happens, it really becomes rewarding and reminds me that this is what we do as artists.”