Dubai: Concertgoers were left wanting more after a performance by Ne-Yo on Sunday night ended after half an hour, with the US R&B star singing only six songs — then leaving to go to an afterparty.
The concert, outdoors at Chi @The Lodge nightclub, was organised by Dubai-based King Entertainment, and fans who bought tickets, priced Dh250 and Dh350, had to stand in steaming heat for hours while they waited for the Miss Independent singer to take the stage, which he only did at 1am. The organiser on Monday told tabloid! they planned bring the artist back later this year for a full concert.
The reception he received was rapturous. Coming on to sing his recent hit Beautiful Monster, he charmed his many female fans, telling them, “It’s as hot as hell. They didn’t tell me... I would have worn less clothes,” before launching into his hit Sexy Love. “I gotta find me a little Dubai girlfriend,” he teased. But only a few minutes later, it became clear that he wouldn’t have time.
The singer made the most of the small stage, reaching out to touch and dance with the screaming audience, which surrounded him on all sides. But the crowd seemed to tire of the performance after it became clear during his massive hit Closer that he was singing along to a backing track.
After continuing with other chart hits One In A Million and his hit with Pitbull, Give Me Everything, Ne-Yo told the crowd that he had to head back to the airport because he needed to get back to work on his album, which comes out in September.
The crowd didn’t appear to take him seriously until he started to leave the stage, bringing loud boos from the shocked audience, who, checking their watches, found he’d been on stage for all of 25 minutes.
Looking at his DJ, Ne-Yo appeared to turn his departure into a joke, saying, “I’ve got time for one more,” and went on to sing Miss Independent. That only gave the fans hope that he really was joking, which wasn’t the case.
After the song ended, Ne-Yo was gone, tossing his towel into a sweaty, tired and bemused crowd.
The singer didn’t head to the airport immediately after, but to Boudoir for an afterparty, on a private invitation.
While some fans said they were angry and let down with the performance, with some calling it a club appearance rather than a concert, others told tabloid! they were just happy to have seen the star.
“It was good,” said Sarah from Germany. “It could have been longer, but still good, though.”
A spokesman for King Entertainment said the short performance was due to the fact that Ne-Yo found the heat difficult to perform in. “He expected the weather would be okay. We are looking forward to bringing Ne-Yo again in September with a full concert.”
“He really engaged the crowd and was fantastic,” said concertgoer Tasneem Taherali. “But I think it was unfair... they gave people the impression it was a concert. It was meant to be a special appearance. A lot of people left disappointed, myself included. I knew he wasn’t going to the airport. I think it was a polite way of making an exit.”
Sena, Tabitha and Cynthia, three friends from Ghana and Kenya, were fuming as they waited for a taxi, however.
“We paid Dh350 for VIP tickets and [the organisers] told us we would have a chance to take a picture with him. We didn’t even have a place to stand,” said Sena.
“This was just him passing through and not worth the money. I’d rather watch him on YouTube next time,” added Cynthia.
Others took to Twitter to vent their ire.
“I saw Ne-Yo he was max 4 meters away from me ,, tho the concert was a total fail ,, its cool seeing singers lip-syncing live,” said Princess Feef on the social networking site yesterday morning.
“Waited for #neyo to play dubai for nearly 4 hrs to watch a 30min show. Awesome while it lasted, but such a letdown :s heat did NOT help,” said iclaudzki.