Starting promptly at 9pm as advertised, Dua Lipa’s short and sharp first Dubai concert at The Pointe on Friday was timed to precision.
Coming out to ‘Blow Your Mind’, the 24-year-old triple Brit and double Grammy Award winner built her audience up to a stunning crescendo in her 16-song, one hour 15 minute playlist.
‘Dreams/No Lie’ and ‘Last Dance’ kept the tempo fast and familiar early on before moving onto ‘High’, ‘Garden’ and ‘Be the One’.
Throughout, the amiable London-born singer of Kosovan descent did well to engage her audience, regularly running up and down the runway that jettisoned out into the crowd connecting the sea-set stage, with its shopping centre promenade-cum-amphitheatre.
At first a seemingly odd arrangement for someone who hadn’t previously been there, the set-up at the end of the Palm Jumeirah with the iconic Atlantis hotel to the right of the stage quickly grew on the fair weather concertgoer, much like the artist’s performance.
An eclectic mix of young and old, middle-aged dads out minding their daughters, teen boys living for the weekend, and then the usual array of Dubai glitterati sporadically placed alongside headphone-wearing babies and Kosovan flag waving fans, the audience too took time to warm to one another.
All this awkwardness was quickly blown aside however, as even those deeming themselves above pop were left dancing without inhibition by the end.
Slowing it down in the middle with ‘Thinking Bout You’, the performance built back up again with ‘Genesis’, ‘Hotter than Hell’ and the star’s latest hit ‘Don’t Start Now’, which she announced was the first time the new track had been played in concert. Then her most famous ‘One Kiss’ followed, running quickly into ‘Scared to be Lonely’, ‘Electricity’ and ‘Begging’.
She then did the whole faux goodbye before encoring with ‘IDGAF’ and ‘New Rules’.
And that was it, Dua Lipa was off as fast as she had arrived, moving on to Mumbai on Saturday for the next leg of her tour. Expertly leaving everyone energetic and wanting more, the audience left with a better appreciation of her work and perhaps each other, despite the sheer mix of people.
There were no grand costume changes or pyrotechnics, it was a quick and simple, vast screen-lit stage with backing dancers, who transitioned from song-to-song effortlessly without breathing space. The crowd didn’t seem to mind this simplicity however, and through the performer’s apparent ease and fun on stage persona, they probably didn’t appreciate the meticulousness that went into her routine.
The only thing that backfired quite literally was the ticker tape ending, which blew backwards over the shopping promenade instead of on to Dua Lipa and her dancers due to a sea breeze, but most were too encapsulated to notice.
Shuffling out with still the best part of the evening to spare, it also wasn’t a disaster to leave the Palm, with some staying back at a number of restaurants around the venue and the rest taking shuttle buses off to well-manned taxi ranks. This made for a staggered and organised exit for the few thousand coming off what was initially feared to be a bottlenecked dead-end.