On the face of it, it seems the UAE has landed the cream of the Arab-pop crop when it comes to New Year’s Eve concerts.
Sunday week will see a bevy of stars performing in the country: Abu Dhabi will host free concerts by Iraq’s Kadim Al Sahir at the Galleria Mall, while Emirati star Hussain Al Jasmi and Egypt’s Tamr Hosny will perform at the Corniche.
Dubai will have Egyptian pop king Amr Diab and Lebanon’s Elissa performing gala concerts at the Conrad Hotel and Grand Hyatt Dubai respectively.
That said, not everything is lost if you are a pop fan looking for a short break away. With New Year’s Eve being one of the busiest days of the regional music calendar, we take a look at all the gigs – big and small – happening in the region.
Wael Kefoury and Melhem Zain at Phoenicia Hotel
Beirut's regal hotel is renowned for pulling in the big names and this year will be no different when Lebanese crooners Wael Kfoury and Melheim Zein team up to finish 2017 off in style. For details go to www.double8.me
Assi Helani and Michel Fadel at Hilton Beirut Habtoor Grand
An intriguing line up with Lebanese folk singer Assi Helani, known for his mountainous voice, sharing a bill with compatriot and smooth jazz pianist Michel Fadel. For details go to www.double8.me
Nawal El Zoghbi, Guy Manoukian and Melhem Zain at Casino du Liban
Looks like Melhem Zain will be pulling a double shift this year's New Year's Eve; he somehow found the time to sneak in another gig that same night – this time alongside Lebanese diva Nawal El Zoghbi and stylish balladeer Guy Manoukian. For details go to www.double8.me
Carole Samaha and Marwan Khoury at Le Royal Hotel Beirut
Another strong line up of veteran talents. It also helps that both Samaha and Khoury have collaborated together on each other’s material before, so we can expect some genuine collegial chemistry on stage. For details call +961 4 555 219
Najwa Karam at Le Royal
Najwa Karam will be busy next weekend. After a special appearance at Dubai's Dragon Mart on the 29th, the Lebanese diva will then head off to the Jordanian capital for a lavish show at the sparkling Le Royal. Joining her for the ride is the always dependable compatriot Ramy Ayach.
Myriam Fares at InterContinental Jordan
One of the best live performers on the Arabic pop circuit, the Lebanese singer should deliver all the hits with a welcome dose of showmanship. Fares is presently showcasing her latest single Chouf Halak Alayi.
Ahmed Gamal at Central Park, Madinaty in New Cairo
Ever since coming second in the 2013 season of Arab Idol (he lost to Palestine's Mohammed Assaf), the Egyptian singer has built a steady career with regular live performances and dropping a string of standalone singles. But to be headlining a solo New Year's Eve gig is a serious notch on the belt and a way to begin 2018 on an ambitious note.
Nicole Saba at Concorde El Salam Hotel
The fact that Nicole Saba can still command an audience despite keeping quiet on the music front is testament to her appeal. That said, the Lebanese singer and actress has hinted that a new song is imminent after dropping the teaser to her next video Soura Selfie two weeks ago. Perhaps the Cairo gig will be the place to debut the new work. For details call +202 66 931121
Night with featuring Abdel Basset Hamouda and Ahmed Saad at Helnan Landmark New Cairo
The one to go for if you are looking for folk sounds. Led by veteran Abdel Basset Hamouda, the evening features a selection of shaabi singers including Ahmed Saad and Tarek El Sheikh.
Maya Diab and Samira Saeed at Royal Maxim Palace Kempinski
A fine evening of energetic pop awaits with Lebanese siren Maya Diab headlining the gala performance featuring popular Moroccan singer Samira Said and veteran Egyptian folk artist Hakim.
Al Manama, Bahrain
Mann at Liv Club
The US rapper will be spending New Year's far from his home city of Los Angeles with a club gig at this favoured Bahraini night spot. Ever since arriving on the scene with his 2010 hit collaboration with 50 Cent, Buzzin, the 26-year-old has been active, releasing four albums and a smattering of mix tapes. He was last spotted in the UAE in January with a club appearance at Mad on Yas Island.
Ammar Al Habeeb at Golden Tulip Bahrain
A good way to end what will go down as a fruitful year for Ammar Al Habib. The Lebanese singer released two singles, including the moderately popular Za'alan, and has been consistently performing at regional festivals.
Marcelo Alvares at Royal Opera House Muscat
Dubai Opera is not the only opera house operational next Sunday. The Royal Opera House Muscat continues with its 2017-2018 program by hosting Argentina's Marcelo Alvares for New Year's Eve. Renowned for his interpretation of Tango music in addition to Spanish and Italian folk songs, we should expect an expansive set spanning his near 25-year career which includes appearances at famed venues such as New York Metropolitan Opera and London's Royal Opera House Convent Garden. For details go to www.rohmuscat.org.om