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Review: Gotye gives Dubai soulful performance

The Australian singer’s Middle East debut was all about the music

Image Credit: Supplied
Gotye performs at the Dubai World Trade Centre on Friday night

Some typical elements of a concert include legions of screaming young girls, people thronging to the barriers hoping to touch their idols and sweat; the lead singer is usually at the front of the stage and the band are clad in rock star fashion.

Gotye’s performance on Friday night at the Dubai World Trade Centre was none of that and I was rather apprehensive, because like the majority of people, I just knew the singer’s global hit ‘Somebody That I Used to Know’.

However, what a delightful performance it was: Gotye is not a celebrity. But what he is is someone who loves his music — and he came to Dubai to share his love for the notes and tunes.

“Go home, I don’t really mind,” he told the people who were on cellphones and talking during his performance of the soulful ‘Bronte’. The song is about a friend’s family gathering as their old dog is put down.

That’s the other thing about Gotye — every track wasn’t just something written to bring in the moolah. Rather, every track had a deep meaning, ranging from political issues to heartbreak and the accompanying graphics helped tell those stories. The opening track ‘The Only Way’ spoke of the inevitability of death, ‘Eyes Wide Open’ was about self-reflection and introspection, ‘Smoke and Mirrors’ a battle with indecision and ‘Thanks for Your Time’ poked fun at the red tape surrounding bureaucracies.

348,803,388 – that’s how many times ‘Somebody That I Used to Know’ was played on YouTube as this review was being written, and when Gotye did finally play the song in the latter half of the concert for the first time that night, the audience happily sang along.

The evening was enhanced by opening act Mashrou’ Leila, a Lebanese alternative rock band. The music was good, very good but sadly my Arabic is very limited and I wasn’t familiar with the names of the songs they played. Haig Papazian on the violin was a nice touch and Carl Geges impressed on the drums. Lead singer Hamed Sinno had way too much energy and jumped around the stage unnecessarily.

Here’s hoping there will be more concerts like Gotye’s in Dubai soon.