F1 weekend wasn’t just about racing – there were lots of concerts and performances to take in. Trying to really throw ourselves into the experience (and, in part, thanks to Meg’s cool boss), we took a stab at seeing 4 performances in 4 nights.
Thursday – To help fuel excitement for F1 weekend, Abu Dhabi held a series of free concerts on the beach downtown. Thursday night kicked off the concert series with Sean Paul – and one of Meg’s favorites. It was definitely interesting! The crowd was a solid mix of all nationalities with tons of enthusiastic little kids running amuck in the sand (even though the concert lasted well past midnight, the kids were unphased). Overall, we were pretty disappointed in Sean Paul’s performance. He was having a hard time belting out the lyrics to keep pace with the quick-tempo’d reggae music behind him. Perhaps it was the acoustics of the beach setup, but what he did sound strained and a bit off. That said, we were impressed with Melhem Zein – a Lebanese singer who came in 3rd place in the first season of the Middle East’s version of American Idol. His wasn’t our type of music, but we thought he at least sounded good. And the crowd was really into him too.
Friday – The first day of actual qualifying races ended with a concert by Kanye West at Yas Arena. While we didn’t have tickets for the races, the company that owns where Meg’s office is hooked us with tickets for the show. I’ll be honest – the prospect of seeing Kayne West in concert didn’t really excite me. There isn’t an abundance of alcohol so he probably wouldn’t be drunk and Taylor Swift wasn’t around either. I mean, I think I only know about 3 or 4 of his songs. But as it turned out, it was a really entertaining show. For a rap guy, he sounded really good live and had the crowd going. Personality aside, of course…
Saturday – We attended Saturday’s qualifying races, which were a blast! The day was capped off with a concert by Linkin Park. Having heard mostly dance music since arriving in Abu Dhabi, I was excited to hear some rock and LP didn’t disappoint. Even though we felt at times that the crowd didn’t always know what to make of them, we really liked this show!
Sunday – We thought our F1 weekend was over, but Meg’s boss scored with tickets to an exclusive performance by Corinne Bailey Rae. It was held on the rooftop lounge of the Yas Hotel (the 5 star hotel that is situated directly over the track). Tickets to this show were exclusive (and more that we could have ever afforded) but it was amazing and one of the coolest shows we’ve ever seen! Attendance was limited (only about 50-75 people of a maximum 200), so we were incredibly close to the stage. We definitely felt like high-rollers, if only for a few hours!