Dubai: Thousands gathered at the Coca-Cola Arena in Dubai on Saturday, hoping to soulfully sway to inspirational melodies ahead of the Yuletide season, with a little help from American singer Don Moen.
Spirits were lifted and revived as the three-hour show, packed with plenty of sing-along moments, ended with a standing ovation and a thunderous applause as people united in a celebration of hope, love and music.
The singer-songwriter took to the stage on December 18, along with Nigerian gospel artist Joe Praize and US musician Lenny LeBlanc, as he interacted with fans about returning to a live concert amidst a global pandemic. Yet, this wasn’t the first time Moen seemed grateful about returning to the stage.
“My international travel was so limited because of the pandemic, but the fact that we are in Dubai is very significant,” Moen told Gulf News at a meet and greet with fans ahead of the concert. “My goal in coming to Dubai was to bless this nation and to encourage and be an encouragement to all here.
Message of hope
"When people go through a difficult time, sometimes you want to say to them to have faith. But it's hard to have faith when you've lost hope. These past two years people have felt a bit hopeless, so what I want to say to the people of the UAE is to not give up hope because hope is the confident expectation of the goodness of God."
"You have to have hope that in spite of what you see in your bank account, in spite of fearful reports of COVID, God is working in ways you cannot see," added Moen.
“So what people most often need in times like this is just a word of encouragement, a simple song or a simple prayer, and that’s my expectation of the event. My prayer is that people leave the event with a sense of hope in their hearts.”
The evening of the concert in Dubai unfolded with an eclectic array of motivational music, right after a team of budding musical talents started the night off with inspirational songs that set the mood.
This paved the way for a high energy performance by Praize, who led with crowd-pleaser songs like ‘Mighty God’ and ‘Joy Overflow’, among others.
Praize is also an ordained minister, having based himself in several countries including South Africa, Canada, the UK, the US, Australia and others.
Soon after Praize stepped off the stage, it was Moen’s turn to steal the spotlight, as he fittingly started off with a violin instrumental that broke through to a spell-bound crowd.
This was followed by his popular prayer song ‘Our Father’, an all-time classic ‘For All You’ve Done’ and a popular crowd choice, ‘I Come Before You Today’ on the piano.
“Whatever we have gone through the past couple of tragic years, God is able to use it for our good,” remarked Moen mid-way through his performance, just as he went on to sing other gospel hits, ‘I Offer My Life’ and ‘Two Hands, One Heart’.
LeBlanc, who accompanied Moen on stage with his guitar, also delighted the audience with his tracks, ‘Love Came Down’ and ‘I Believe’.
With Christmas just a week away, the concert wouldn’t be complete without a few seasonal songs packed in as well. LeBlanc’s ‘O Little Town of Bethlehem’ and ‘Christmas Night’ sprinkled in that bit of festive magic.
“I am praying this season will be one of hope and joy,” said Moen, as the singer-songwriter led the audience to the final act of the night with his Christmas-themed song ‘Season of Hope’.
The audience fervour peaked as Moen sang all-time world favourites, ‘God is Good’ and ‘Thank You Lord’, which also marked a climactic end to the evening.
“Congratulations Dubai. You did good here!” Moen remarked as he took the time to appreciate his return to the spotlight. And for the fans who walked out with smiles on their faces, so did he.