The Abu Dhabi Grand Prix after-race concert series began with the excitement of the present — and a blast from the past.
US R&B star Usher and UK rapper Dave teamed up for separate sets at Etihad Park, showcasing their claim as leaders of respective genres.
Fresh from his residency in Las Vegas, headliner Usher brought some of the razzle-dazzle of the party city to Abu Dhabi.
Slick and synchronised, he delivered an uptempo greatest hits set that reminded us why he was viewed as one of music’s biggest pop stars nearly 20 years ago.
Caught Up went down a treat, while old-school fans were rewarded with the sultry 1997 jam Nice and Slow.
Backed by a panoply of dancers, Usher kept dedicated fans on their feet throughout the polished set.
Dave is a grime star on the rise
Large occasions such as Abu Dhabi's Formula One race are increasingly the norm for Dave.
He has been a festival favourite this year with headlining slots in Europe, as well as the UK's Leeds Festival and Rolling Loud in Canada.
That experience has resulted in slick and fast-moving sets, relying heavily on tracks from last year's album We're All Alone in This Together and his breakout Psychodrama (2019).
Standout efforts include We’re All Alone, the ethereal nature of which is undercut by hard-hitting lyrics on mental health and insecurity.
Professor X delivers with its bouncy beats, while Dave is all lyrical finesse in Wanna Know.
As an entry point into the region, he does enough to warrant a return with a show of his own.
The Abu Dhabi Grand Prix after-race concerts continue with Swedish House Mafia performing on Friday, followed by Kendrick Lamar and Def Leppard on Saturday and Sunday respectively.
Access to after-race concerts is exclusive to Abu Dhabi Grand Prix ticket holders. Tickets are available online at www.yasmarinacircuit.com and through the Yas Marina Circuit Call Centre on 800 927 or 02 659 9800