Live performance by music icon on Yas Island, UAE
When music fans across the UAE heard Kanye West was returning to Yas Island for a live performance, memories of his 2010 concert came rushing back. Little did they know they were in for a “wintery” treat…
We walk into the Yas Island Du Arena accompanied by low background music; no warm-up musicians, no big crazy outings… Groups of people are scattered across the grass lawn, and a meek crowd has formed just under the stage.
At 9:45pm, the music shifts completely and, “Lord, Lord, Lord”, Kanye West’s recognizable voice is heard all around. Suddenly, hundreds of people start running towards the stage, trying to get the best spot possible, as close to the stage as possible. Donned in white from head to toe, Kanye appears in front of a three dimensional screen with video projections of glaciers and ice scenes, while the two side screens mirror the exact same images; brrrr, it gets “Cold”. But then, Kanye shows “Mercy” and sings “Power”. We hear people gasping, and faces turning back in awe; a simulation of fake snow gushes over the seated area, and white ‘snow’ clouds are sprayed over everyone.
As the crowd cheers loudly, trees covered with snow appear on the screens, smoke rises from the stage, and a soothing calm sets; we are so drawn in by the wintery atmosphere that we do not notice the empty stage.
Kanye reappears at the top of the backside steps wearing a white feather mask. He speaks softly and slowly in a freestyle rap manner: “…and you know what’s so funny, it’s about 6 o’clock…” According to our friends who enjoyed the 2012 performance at Revel in Atlantic City, the Abu Dhabi show seemed to be exactly the same. White backgrounds, wintery feel, feather and diamond masks. Very Kanye.
Keeping with the rather tranquil song style, Kanye asks his fans: “Has anyone out there had their heart broken?” A thousand ‘yes-ses” rise from beneath, and we all think of that infamous woman so “Heartless”.
We see birds flying all around, on the screens, changing the setting to a more lively one.”Homecoming”, “Lights” and an ‘exotic’ version of “All The Lights” lead the way the “Birthday Song” and one of his latest, “Clique”. And then, in true Kanye fashion, he start singing “Like” acapella. Art in sound!
Kanye invites us to put our hands up to the sky, and instantly, hundreds of hands shoot up towards the sky, some waving left and right, others forming the diamond sign. “Are any of you “High school” dropouts?” he asks.
A fresh remix of “Diamonds are forever” begins, and “Diamonds in the sky“ soon follows, with Rihanna in the background . Kanye appears, this time hidden by a diamond mask.
We enjoy the music, the lyrics, the vibe. We sing and ask for more.
A single piano note is enough to send a chill down our spines. The crowd shouts “yes!” in unison, as if to assert this is the song they had been waiting for. Kanye is standing at his small keyboard, repeatedly pressing on the black key. Everyone recognizes the overture to “Runaway”, by far one of the artist’s deepest and most popular songs.
“On behalf of me and my entire crew, thank you for coming out tonight,” he says. And he goes on to add a twist to the song, by asserting: “Let’s have a toast for the douche bags, Let’s have a toast for the A-holes, let’s have a toast for the scumbags, every one of them I know…” And as he repeats this over and over, we all join in, each silently evoking a certain douche bag or scumbag we encountered at one point in our lives.
We all get so captivated by the performance, that no one ‘runsaway’. We stay until Kanye thanks us again and says: “Next time you have me, keep me for more than a one night ok?”
And he leaves…
An hour and twenty minutes of uninterrupted live performance, an internationally acclaimed name, and real music fans. The revival of the 2010 encounter was another big success, and organizers Flash Entertainment did well by having Kanye back.
While his girlfriend Kim is expecting, we will be expecting him to visit us again soon.
Here’s to the next one Kanye! We wonder what original theme we will be treated to then…