x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Wow weekend in Dubai with JLo and Gotye

JLo and Gotye brought dance, drama, hits and top talent to Dubai in 48 ours of international entertainment that brought tourists flocking to the emirate.

Gotye's songs were supplemented by animated projections on the backdrop. Kippa Paul Bergen / AFP
Gotye's songs were supplemented by animated projections on the backdrop. Kippa Paul Bergen / AFP

Any reporter worth their salt should have easily been able to connect the dots: an invite to the new showroom opening from a leading car manufacturer referring to the attendance of a "special celebrity guest" one day before the Jennifer Lopez concert.

Sure enough, it was good old Jenny from the block who briefly strutted her stuff at the Audi showroom: the German automaker has just launched its largest dealership in the world within Al Nabooda Automobiles on Sheikh Zayed Road, and JLo was there to talk it up to the who's who of Dubai.

Next on the agenda was dinner at Cavalli Club in Dubai's Fairmont Hotel, which was celebrating its third birthday. At the head of a long, candlelit banquet table, JLo partook of the restaurant's bread and held hands with her beau, her backup dancer Casper Smart, throughout the hour-long meal.

Displaying longer, blonder locks than usual, JLo was effortlessly chic in white palazzo pants and a silk chemise accented with peach and lime green.

But JLo wasn't in town just to talk about high-performance German cars or visit Cavalli. She was in Dubai to dazzle and delight on her highly anticipated Dance Again world tour, at the Dubai Media City Amphitheatre on Thursday - her first performance in the Middle East.

Making a dramatic entrance in a feathered and jewelled outfit, JLo wowed fans with her latest songs, interspersed with some of her most popular hits such as Love Don't Cost a Thing and Jenny From the Block. Working her way through six outfits and at least twice as many songs on the boxing-ring themed stage, she may have performed for a brief 90 minutes, but she made sure that every minute was memorable. The concert coincided with the 69th Lebanese Independence Day and JLo drove the Levantine members of the audience wild by wrapping a Lebanese flag around her neck while she performed. Her entourage of dancers complemented her well throughout this fantastic performance, which drew to a close with the hits Dance Again and On the Floor.

After the concert, many people made their way to the official after-party at White X Beach club in Rixos Hotel on the Palm Jumeirah, which was a classy (albeit remote) event. JLo made a late and very short appearance, to cut a cake, thank the guests and pose for some pictures before she disappeared with Smart.

Not a bad way to start the weekend. Especially when one had Gotye to look forward to.

The Belgian-Australian wonder behind this year's best-selling single Somebody that I Used to Know performed at the Dubai World Trade Centre on Friday. Gotye was catapulted to fame when the breakup song topped the charts in 18 countries, going on to sell more than nine million copies, and became one of the most-watched videos on YouTube (250 million hits and growing).

The concert was opened by Mashrou' Leila - a six-member band from Lebanon - who performed for an hour, after which Gotye took the audience on a truly psychedelic trip, with songs that were supplemented by animations projected on the gigantic backdrop of the stage.

Gotye believes that the overall popularity of his biggest hit is largely due to its video on YouTube - a stop-motion affair that sees the singers being body-painted step-by-step. Similar animations have been made to accompany the other songs. From pictures of sunsets and sunrises to curious renderings of the human body, various images danced on screen during the show - the very strong visual presence somewhat distracting from the performance.

It would be unfair to call Gotye a one-hit wonder, but the truth is that this one hit has eclipsed everything else he has done. The audience seemed to be familiar with just this song, which Gotye wisely played towards the end of the show. People started exiting the venue as soon as it was performed and headed to Cirque Du Soir at the Fairmont Hotel, which was the venue for the official after-party. Always interesting thanks to its line-up of acrobats and costumed performers, the club certainly did not disappoint and was a good way to close the book on 48 hours of international entertainment in the city.

* Additional reporting by Rebecca McLaughlin-Duane