Black Eyed Peas say Expo 2020 Dubai show is 'like a dream come true'

The US group will be the next act to perform as part of the world fair’s Infinite Nights concert series

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The Black Eyed Peas hope their Expo 2020 Dubai concert can help to chart a way forward for the live music industry struggling with the pandemic.

Speaking at a press conference before their show on Tuesday, member will.i.am said the concert, being held at Al Wasl Plaza and live-streamed from the Expo website, will be a high-octane affair held according to strict safety standards.

"I hope promoters out there from different countries can watch and that it acts as an inspiration to hold live events with safety measures in place,” he said.

Black Eyed Peas describe their approach to the Dubai show, part of Expo’s Infinite Nights concert series, as both synchronised and loose.

They will perform under Al Wasl Plaza’s state-of-the-art dome and on a circular stage with visuals tailor-made for the event.

As for the camaraderie between the group, including fellow rappers apl.de.ap and Taboo, and singer J Rey Soul, the chemistry is natural.

"We don't really rehearse. Whenever we do it’s only when the stage configuration changes dramatically,” will.i.am said.

“Black Eyed Peas at its core is about going out on stage, seeing the audience and having a show for that specific night.

“We believe that a performance is magical because it’s just for that moment.”

Taboo echoed that sentiment. “We have to be able to improvise and any mistakes made just become part of that show,” the rapper said.

Black Eyed Peas have nearly three decades worth of hits, including Where Is the Love? and Boom Boom Pow, and will.i.am puts the group's longevity down to its eclecticism.

Such an expansive approach, he says, allowed the band to transcend the initial label as a hip-hop group.

"We listen to everything from Earth Wind and Fire to old-school classic hip-hop," he said.

"That way, when we get into the studio we let out whatever is inside us and not allow ourselves to be close-minded.

“That fusion is what Black Eyed Peas is all about."

Apl.de.ap said the group needs to be consistently on the road for inspiration. "We made a career out of going out. When we tour the world we pick up different styles and when we return to the studio we start to implement the influences while we are recording.”

Will.i.am points to latest album, 2020's largely Spanish-sung Translation, as an example of the band soaking up the hottest new sounds from their visits to South America.

“That project was the most focused we have been because we had to write in Spanish and make sure our tenses were correct," he said.

"Writing in another language is tough, especially when you are trying to have cool words in there.”

Though the pandemic didn't bring much opportunity to travel, it only brought the group closer together, said Taboo.

"To be able to be here with my best friends, doing what we love to do and bringing that joy is a blessing," he said of the UAE trip.

“We performed virtually during the pandemic and it was just us with a big screen behind. So to be able to come to Dubai here in 2022 is like a dream come true."

Will.i.am is confident the group's Expo 2020 Dubai show will inspire them to write some new songs.

"We can't wait to vibe under the dome and have some magical moments," he said. "We don't know what song we are going to write after the show because you would have left us with so much room for inspiration."

Black Eyed Peas will perform at Al Wasl Plaza at Expo 2020 Dubai on Tuesday. The show starts at 8.30pm and is open to Expo pass holders. It will also be live-streamed on www.virtualexpodubai.com.

Updated: January 25, 2022, 6:31 AM