Michael Learns to Rock in Dubai-1638533416897
Michael Learns to Rock performing in Dubai on December 2. Image Credit: Supplied

The joy of watching live music is unmatched. From the artists’ raw vocals and the crowd interaction to the experience of enjoying your favourite tunes with your friends — it’s a whole package that has been denied to many due to the pandemic.

However, on December 2, fans of Boyce Avenue and Michael Learns to Rock were able to feel that joy again.

Boyce Avenue in Dubai (2)-1638533401738
Boyce Avenue. Image Credit: Supplied

The two bands performed at the Festival Arena in Dubai as part of the UAE Golden Year Music Festival, organised by Creative Minds.

US trio Boyce Avenue kicked off the show with just their guitars and voices, and were welcomed with hearty cheers. Lead singer Alejandro Manzano’s voice filled the hall as he and his brothers Daniel and Fabian performed covers of popular songs and some of their own tunes in a mostly acoustic arrangement.

I broke out into goosebumps at hearing their crystal clear vocals that shone thanks to the pared down way they performed tracks such as ‘Fast Car’ by Tracy Chapman, ‘Perfect’ by Ed Sheeran and Elvis Presley’s eternal classic ‘Can’t Help Falling In Love’.

The band interacted with audiences, saying this was their first international show since the pandemic. They even got a massive response when they asked how many Filipinos were in the audience. Boyce Avenue are surely are loved by the people of the Philippines. Their music, despite being simple and without spectacle, was enough to get people on their feet and cheering them on.

There was a special performance by Emirati singer Alira, who stunned audiences with his wide vocal range and commanding stage presence.

The highlight of the night was frequent Dubai performers, Michael Learns to Rock. The Danish group also said this was their first chance to perform out of the country and their excitement translated into a fun show that included some hilarious moments as well.

Michael Learns to Rock in Dubai (2)-1638533412131
Michael Learns to Rock. Image Credit: Supplied

The trio, Jascha Richter, Mikkel Lentz and Kare Wanscher (along with a bassist), launched into their set with the song ‘Complicated Heart’ and hardly took a break as they brought out all their biggest hits, such as ‘Sleeping Child’, ‘25 Minutes’ and ‘The Actor’.

They proved their reputation as seasoned performers as they pulled of a perfectly executed gig that was heartwarming and entertaining. One interesting element from their set was their music videos simultaneous being played on the screen behind them as they performed the same song. It was lovely to see the members in the younger days versus their current selves — both times with huge smiles plastered on their faces, much like the fans who were enraptured watching the group perform the songs we all know and love.