American pop star Gwen Stefani turned on the charm at the opening of the brand new Renaissance Downtown Hotel in Dubai on Monday night. Stefani, who was performing in the city for the first time, came on stage at the invite-only event at 10pm, kicking off the party with her 2006 Sound of Music-inspired song Wind it Up. Dressed in her trademark edgy look — frills, ripped trousers et al — the 48-year-old was her energetic funky self as she indulged the select audience, which included members of the hotel group and was also livestreamed around the world to non-UAE members.
“You guys realised that I never in my entire lifetime could ever imagine that I would be in Dubai, so this is incredible,” she said. “My dream is being able to travel, and to come to somewhere like Dubai where all the cultures are coming together. That is what I love. That is my favourite.”
Giving attendees a taste of all of her biggest hits, as a solo artist, and as the front woman of rock band No Doubt, Stefani performed everything from Underneath it All (from No Doubt’s Rock Steady, 2001) to Rich Girl (from her solo album Love. Angel. Music. Baby., 2004) and Hollaback Girl (Love. Angel. Music. Baby.). There was also a song dedicated to beau, the country singer Blake Shelton — the breezy Make Me Like You, off her 2016 album This Is What the Truth Feels Like.
But, of course, the highlight of the evening was the iconic Don’t Speak, the 1996 No Doubt single that became a global sensation. The crowd did not need any prompting as they sang along, Stefani happily handing over the mic for much of the song. She performed non-stop for an hour, which also included one costume change.
Before her performance on Monday night, Stefani took time off to see some of the sights in Dubai, which included a trip to the Burj Khalifa, a desert safari and a visit to a perfume shop. One picture showed her posing with a falcon. “Wow, can’t believe I had such an incredible time here in Dubai,” she said.
The Grammy Award-winning entertainer is currently promoting her Christmas album You Make It Feel Like Christmas, which also features a duet with Shelton.
The 298-room luxury Rennaisance Downtown Hotel is the latest addition to Marriott International group’s properties, which now operates more than 50 properties in the UAE.