Relive the Dubai Jazz Fest with our in-depth review covering all three days and all the headliners including Lionel Richie, Lauryn Hill. And there was even a surprise engagement live on stage!
When you announce Lionel Richie, Lauryn Hill and One Republic as your festival headliners, it’s safe to say the expectations are high.
Well, we’re super pleased to say, this year’s festival yet again exceeded expectations.
Spread over 3 breezy days (literally), the festival was bustling with more eateries this year, more refreshment stands, a Ripe market as well as a fascinating Silent Disco that brought in a good crowd.
Day one and Ms Lauryn Hill
Day one of the Dubai Jazz Fest opened with local swing band Swing Revue, who set the perfect tone for the festival with their smooth swing and jazz set. They were followed by Bruno Major who seemed like a cross between Eric Clapton and John Legend. And as that description indicates, he was one of the best opening acts we’ve had the pleasure of seeing. All that was left was for Ms. Lauryn Hill to do that thing she does to close the opening day on a high.
Day two and Mr All Night Long
Veteran jazz-fusion band Spyro Gyra kicked off the second day. With over 40 years of touring, they were amazingly tight as a band and were an excellent warm-up Lionel Richie.
Mr All-Night-Long brought his usual charisma. Not only was the venue packed to capacity (as he did the last time around), he made sure everyone had their dancing shoes on.
Well, all except one, who ended down on one knee, rather. That’s right! We had our own “she said “Yes’!” moment on stage, here in Dubai, with Lionel Richie serenading and thousands cheering on.
Lionel then walked the crowd down memory lane complete with timeless ballads, a little disco fever and the iconic “We Are The World” as a tribute to artists/collaborators who’ve passed away with the audience singing along.
Day three and One Republic
It was a tough act to follow, but the third day featured One Republic. They were brilliantly led by frontman Ryan Tedder. He is every bit as intense, focused and energetic as we’d envisioned him to be.
And even though he was battling a cold and had no voice when he landed in Dubai, he recovered (thanks to a team of Doctors he thanked on stage) and belted out his tunes while bouncing around like nothing was wrong.
While all of the big hits were present and correct, the band also covered tracks that Ryan Tedder had written for other acts.
Which meant we got to hear the likes of Jonas Brothers’ ‘Sucker’ & Beyoncé’s ‘Halo.’ The latter of which was an emotional tribute to late basketball legend Kobe Bryant and victims of the helicopter crash.
One Republic’s performance was one of the tightest sets I’ve ever seen on UAE stages. And the perfect way to close out the festival.
Dubai Jazz Fest Review by Sarah Abel.
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