Maroon 5’s PJ Morton says performing at Egypt's Pyramids was ‘better than the Super Bowl’

The band are set to perform in Abu Dhabi on Friday as part of their world tour

PJ Morton, keyboardist for Maroon 5, at the W Abu Dhabi - Yas Island. Khushnum Bhandari / The National
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Nothing can top playing at the Giza Pyramids in Egypt, according to Maroon 5’s PJ Morton.

In an exclusive interview with The National ahead of Friday night’s concert at Abu Dhabi’s Etihad Arena, the band’s keyboardist and Grammy award-winning solo artist described Tuesday’s show at the historic site as arguably the biggest of the band’s career.

“In my opinion, I have to say that it was bigger than playing at the Super Bowl,” he says, referring to the group’s 2019 Super Bowl 53 half-time show, which was broadcast to more than 100 million viewers.

"I have to say that the Pyramids was better because the Super Bowl show goes so fast. It's about 12 minutes and it feels like a blur," he says.

"But over there in Egypt we had the whole show so we took it all in. I didn’t know where to look, either at the Pyramids behind me or the audience. It is something I'll remember for ever; it was really deep for me."

Morton, who recently released solo album Watch the Sun, says the show capped off an eventful three nights in Egypt, which kick-started the band's Middle Eastern leg of their world tour, which includes the Abu Dhabi show, and Tel Aviv’s Hayarkon Park on Monday.

"During an off day we did a tour of the Pyramids and that was fascinating, and then we had the sound check at the site and the show," he says.

"The concert itself was amazing because the crowd was just as excited as we were to be there. The show really had this special energy to it and considering what the whole world had gone through with the pandemic, everyone just felt grateful to be there."

Maroon 5’s three-night stay in Abu Dhabi follows a similar pattern.

Arriving on Wednesday in the UAE, the group spent Thursday’s day off taking in the sights of Yas Marina Circuit before preparing for Friday’s anticipated concert.

"This is our first time in Abu Dhabi and it's always cool to see new places and buildings," he says. "I know the guys took some cars around the F1 race track today. We know how special these experiences are and we don’t take it for granted.”

Morton says the band hopes to extend those vibes to fans during their travels.

The Abu Dhabi stop is part of a world tour that began in South America in February 2020 before being halted for 18 months because of Covid-19.

The band resumed the tour in the US last August. They are set to conclude this August, with the last show taking place in Orlando on August 27.

Judging by the 18-song set list played in Egypt, fans in Abu Dhabi and beyond can expect to hear hits such as Moves Like Jagger, This Love, Animals and Sugar.

"We were able to work out a new set list post-pandemic that is very joyful and about having a good time," he says. "I think this is what is needed after being shut down for so long. We all need it."

Maroon 5 perform at Etihad Arena, Abu Dhabi, on Friday. Doors open at 7pm; from D300;

Updated: May 06, 2022, 7:54 AM