Dubai Dispatch: The Eagles Rock
After decades of producing award-winning, record-breaking music in the tumultuous socio-political climate of the 70s and then moving on to incorporate present-day complexities in their repertoire, the Eagles –Glenn Frey, Don Henley, Joe Walsh and Timothy B. Schmit – are often hailed as the greatest rock band of our time. On 12 April, at their first appearance in the Middle East, they performed at the Sevens Stadium, Dubai.
That day, bad weather threatened concert proceedings but it did not deter music buffs from enjoying a fabulous evening, a first of a kind in UAE rock-concert history. It was the biggest concert Dubai has seen to date. An audience of 20,000 people of all ages, nationalities and ethnicities thumped, grooved and clapped in unison and sang away as the rock legends belted song after song from their iconic albums.
Don Henley tore into “Boys of Summer” as fresh-voiced as he was in his heyday and Joe Walsh jammed for the audience with the same rowdy enthusiasm of past days, and the same high-pitched performance such as in the single “Life’s been Good.”
The crowd’s excitement increased towards the end of the show, especially the last hour: the air was thick with expectation for the Eagles’ magnum opus: thousands roared in delight and raised their video cameras in the air as the guitars strummed the familiar opening tune of “Hotel California.” This was intense and the song was after all, what rock history was made of.
The concert attracted a heavy fan following from Pakistan, especially those for whom Dubai has become a quick and safe weekend getaway to feed their eclectic entertainment yearnings. I bumped into a whirling group of Pakistanis, arms around each other, kicking the air. ‘It’s party time!’ cried out a young girl from Karachi, raising her drink in the air. ‘We love the Eagles!’ she screamed. She was in Dubai only for the weekend and had to get back to Pakistan to begin a fresh work week on Monday. She said she made frequent trips to Dubai to burn off stress and catch up with friends, as did another Pakistani couple who had arrived in Dubai last minute and managed to catch the concert. “It’s awesome,” they said, “no complaints.” Most of these tourists not only incurred travel expenses but attended the event in grand style – no holds barred in relishing music’s finest – they opted for the more expensive Gold or VIP tickets ranging from USD 200 and going up to USD 400.
The Eagles still haven’t lost grasp of their iconic status nearly 40 years later and their stunning showcase in the UAE concluded with a fantastic fireworks display, Dubai style.
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