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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 20 August 2018

Age ain’t nothing but a number for Rolling Stones

The veteran band, whose members are about 70 years old, may be the oldest expatriates working in Abu Dhabi this weekend.
Members of The Rolling Stones Mick Jagger, centre, Keith Richards, left, and Charlie Watts, right, will be performing at the du Arena in Abu Dhabi this weekend. Toby Melville/Reuters
Members of The Rolling Stones Mick Jagger, centre, Keith Richards, left, and Charlie Watts, right, will be performing at the du Arena in Abu Dhabi this weekend. Toby Melville/Reuters

ABU DHABI // The oldest expatriates still plying their trade are about 65 – but that is about to change.

When the Rolling Stones take to the stage at the du Arena in Abu Dhabi on Friday night, the official expat retirement age will be thrown out the window.

Singer Mick Jagger, 70, lead guitarist Keith Richards, 70, and drummer Charlie Watts, 72, and guitarist Ronnie Wood, the baby of the group at a sprightly 66, are on their 14 on Fire tour, stopping in the capital before moving on to China, Singapore and Australia.

Apart from Wood, who joined in 1975, the group came together in 1962 – nine years before the UAE was formed.

Noura Al Kaabi, chief executive of the media zone twofour54, said it was important to celebrate renowned artists, regardless of their age.

“For the cultural scene in Abu Dhabi, we look at different artists and performers and we look at a number of categories,” she said.

“Many people want to go see the Rolling Stones, not necessarily the very old. It could also be one of their last concerts.”

She said it was important to support such a strong cultural scene in the UAE, particularly as the Qasr Al Hosn festival opens.

“It gives a chance for the concert audience to also explore Qasr Al Hosn,” she said.

Mohammed Al Jenaibi, 32, from Abu Dhabi, who will be at the Stones show, said the band had “a good number of fans” among the Emirati community.

“I definitely support bringing in important artists, regardless of their age,” he said. “Kraftwerk is another great one that inspired a lot of other bands.

“Retirement age should be an option. It is a shame to lose great experiences just because of a number.”

When it comes to retirement age for expatriates in the UAE, Ms Al Kaabi said the issue was open to debate. She said being 65 did “not necessarily mean you are less capable.

“When it comes to consultancy, advisory, and for professors and intellectuals, experience is important,” she said. “But in hard labour, then 65 makes sense.

“It is a bit of a debate.”

osalem@thenational.ae

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