x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Sympathy for the aged

The venue of the Rolling Stones concert has been adjusted to provide a grandstand, which the organisers describe as a “seated area”. A seated area? At a rock concert?

The du Arena on Yas Island has hosted an eclectic range of musical performers in the past few years, from the soaring operatic arias of the Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli to the unhyphenated debut of the rapper Jay Z, and has a gained a deserved reputation as an atmospheric venue. With the arrival in February of the Rolling Stones, however, it would be fair to say that the arena has finally come of age, even if the band themselves did so rather a long time ago.

For the Stones’ concert, the layout of the du Arena is much as usual. There is a mosh pit for those energetic souls who like to be close to the stage for a view of the action. There is general admission for those music fans, perhaps a unique majority in the UAE, who like to purchase their tickets about 15 minutes before the concert begins. And, inevitably, for those accustomed to requiring a degree in metallurgy to locate their place in the arena, there is a Golden Circle. But, unusually, the venue has been adjusted to provide a grandstand, which the organisers describe as a “seated area”.

A seated area? At a rock concert? Some wags have suggested that this is a reflection of the advanced years of many of those likely to attend; others that, given the veteran status of Mick and his mates, a similar area might be required on stage. Such suggestions are wide of the mark. The evidence on the night will show you’re never too old to rock’n’roll.