David Guetta on his historic Saudi Arabia performance

The French DJ hails the kingdom efforts in opening up to musicians

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David Guetta has hailed his debut performance in Saudi Arabia last year  a career highlight.

The French DJ and producer, responsible for hits When Loves Takes Over and Titanium made the comments in an interview with The National this week. Here in Dubai for a rest before an upcoming concert for more than 50,000 people in Morocco's Mawazine Festival on June 21, the 51-year-old said he relishes performing to new audiences.

His Saudi Arabian concert was part of the Ad Diriyah Grand Prix Formula E after race concert series, which also included shows by Enrique Iglesias and The Black Eyed Peas. Guetta recalled the concert, attended by more than 10,000 people in the heritage site north-west of Riyadh, as a revelation.

“I'm really proud that I've done this. There is obviously a very big effort in Saudi to open to music and to artists. And as an artist, I play for the people and the people were obviously so happy,” he said.

“It was incredible and to see men and women dancing and letting go of everything. I felt like I was part of history, you know, and it was a great honour for me to be part of this.”

Guetta’s comments come as Saudi Arabia increasingly attracts big name western music acts to perform in the kingdom. Since his concert last November, Mariah Carey, Sean Paul and Akon all performed in various Saudi cities.

Arab concert season in Saudi Arabia is booming

When it comes to the Arab artists, the concert scene is flourisihing with shows occurring regularly.

Last night saw Lebanese singer Nancy Ajram make her Saudi debut with a sold out concert at the Jeddah Waterfront.

This month also saw the launch of the Jeddah Season music festival which already saw performances by Saudi music legend Mohammed Abdo, Egyptian pop-star Amr Diab, Emirati singer Ahlam and Iraqi crooner Kadim Al Saher.

Meanwhile, back on January 29, Palestinian singer and former Arab Idol had to abandon his Riyadh concert midway due to crowd capacity. He promised to return with bigger shows later in the year.

Speaking to The National after the concert, Assaf said the Saudi Arabian live market is a boon for singers.

“There is a sense of people finally being more loose now, but a lot of it is down to the Saudi people having a deep appreciation for arts and culture from poetry, books and music,” he said. “That love for the arts has always been there and that also needs to be acknowledged.”

Check out Arts and Culture soon for the full interview with David Guetta.