“And we danced all night to the best song ever.” One Direction
I’m under no illusions that my musical credibility is pretty poor, after all as a former Wham fan (my first ever concert back in the 80’s) and a keen Take That concert goer, I think that it’s actually non-existent but if there was a tiny little scrap still remaining it flew right out the window on the road trip to Dubai to see One Direction in concert, yes you read that right for one night only readers, I was a Directioner.
The past month has been quite a musical extravaganza from a whole mix of genres, spanning generations, tribute bands, local talent and even the teenager performing in two concerts. My musical journey started at the beginning of March with current British darling of the charts. the brilliant and very talented Ed Sheeran (read Thinking Out Loud) at the Media City Amphitheatre in Dubai followed by a trip back to the big band era with Canadian charmer Michael Bublé (read Bublé Fever) at the International Cricket Stadium, also in Dubai.
Next up was a taste of Mods and Rockers with the trio, From The Jam brought to Abu Dhabi in association with ADMANC (Abu Dhabi Mod/Northern Soul and Motown Club) featuring original Jam bassist Bruce Foxton and Russell Hastings acting as Paul Weller, for intent and purposes but less miserable. Along with drummer Mike Randon, the three musicians have been touring with their ‘That’s Entertainment’ show that features a selection of songs from The Jam’s sizeable back catalogue. Both myself and the other half are massive Jam fans (I loved my ‘Snap’ double album back in the day) so we were really looking forward to seeing Foxton and co perform and we weren’t disappointed, Hastings had a fantastic voice and the guys put on a great show.
The event was a little unusual as it was held in a ballroom at the Crown Plaza Hotel and Randon was a drummer without a drum kit playing a tambourine instead, while Foxton and Hastings were seated playing their guitars. While the set-up may have been low-key, the band, the songs and the enthusiastic crowd were not. The standard sight of pot-bellied middle aged men in tight Fred Perry polo shirts bopping around reliving their youth, die-hard fans with sideburns and green parkas and even a fella in a union jack blazer added to the ambiance. We enjoyed lots of Jam classics including Down In The Tube Station At Midnight, Going Underground, Town Called Malice and The Modern World as well as more favourites including Strange Town, When You’re Young and Start. More old fellas covering miles on the dance floor pogoing to Madness and The Specials and some real Motown classics followed at the after gig DJ and we finished the night with some more live music down in the hotel’s sweaty basement at Heroes bar with resident band, The International Playboys.
The following day, once we recovered from the previous nights over-indulgence and late night, we checked out some local talent at the latest Metronome music event at Urban Bites restaurant (read Urban Beats) and then midweek the teenager was tinkling the ivories for the second time in the space of a couple of weeks at a school piano concert, another proud mummy moment!
I literally had to drag the other half to the next event, The Concert That Never Happened that took place on the lawn of the Abu Dhabi Golf Club, under the huge falcon building featuring five acclaimed tribute artists spanning thirty years of music. Madonna (Jodie Jackson), Antony as RE Kelly (R Kelly), Cher (Yvonne Haylen), Tina Turner (Kinisha) and the best act by far and the most believable in both sound and as a look-alike Lionel Richie (Hamilton Browne) worked their way through many well known hits. An interesting night out with extremely disappointing and poor quality food choices (vegetarian option was none existent after a few enquiries I was presented a box of dry tortilla chips with a pile of grated cheese on top), heavy intermittent rain showers and fairly mediocre performers except Richie, who was awesome and cheesy all at once, playing a great range of the singer’s classics.
I finished off my musical month at the much publicised aforementioned One Direction concert, part of their global ‘Back on The Road Again’ tour and just to clarify I was with the teenager. Probably the world’s most popular boy band of the moment Harry, Liam, Niall and Louis, who nearly didn’t make it after they were stuck on a plane for eighteen hours due to Thursday’s sandstorm, took to the Dubai Sevens Stadium stage minus recently departed band member Zayn just after 9pm to wow the huge crowd (a record-breaking biggest concert in the region to date).
Ranging from young children to middle-aged parents (if the cap fits) the zealous crowd, dressed in an array of 1D merchandise, sang and screamed along to a setlist packed with hits until the show was closed down due to a collapsed barricade and fan safety issue. Twenty-five minutes or so later the lights were back on, the crowd barrier safety issue had been addressed and the boys bounced back onto stage full of apologises to finish their set. After a three song encore ending with ‘Best Song Ever’ a huge firework denoted the spectacle’s finale and we just had the jam-packed car park exit situation to contend with, a mere three hours later we were home!
Unless otherwise stated all photos © Jo Brett 2015. All rights reserved.