Let the good times roll: 17 shows in the UAE to check out before 2018

From rock, pop and classical music to stand-up comedy, the UAE entertainment calendar is full of fun

BARCELONA, SPAIN - APRIL 28:  James LaBrie of Dream Theater performs in concert at Razzmatazz on April 28, 2017 in Barcelona, Spain.  (Photo by Xavi Torrent/Redferns)
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With the temperatures slowing dropping, the entertainment season is heating up. The UAE show calendar is full of eclectic experiences, ranging from pop, soul and retro-music festivals to concerts by pioneers and legends. There is also some good humour on its way with top notch comics. Here is our pick of 17 events until the end of the year.

Until October 28: Justin Kauflin

Justin Kauflin. Thomas Saito / Q’s Bar and Lounge
Justin Kauflin. Thomas Saito / Q’s Bar and Lounge

The prodigiously talented United States pianist is the latest artist-in-residence in the fancy jazz establishment Q’s Bar and Lounge at the Palazzo Versace Dubai. Trained under the late jazz great Clark Terry and super-producer Quincy Jones, Kauflin and his trio perform three varied hour-long sets a night, with material ranging from swing and bebop to reworkings of modern pop staples. Tuesdays to Saturdays, doors are open from 7pm. For reservations, call 04 556 8888 or email qs@palazzoversace.ae

October 5: Soul Jam

An interesting festival at the Irish Village featuring a bevy of artists at the crossroads of soul, jazz and R&B. The big ticket is Alexander O'Neal, the US crooner who got us grooving 30 years ago with his dance floor filler Criticize. He will be joined by a trio of UK artists including soul pioneer Omar, Mica Paris and Jaki Graham. Tickets start from Dh175, from www.theirishvillage.com

October 6: Dream Theater

A gig by Dream Theater is as thrilling as it is academic. The Grammy-nominated band are renowned for an energetic live show full of guitar heroics and frenzied piano solos. With the band making their maiden Middle Eastern tour, expect an expansive set spanning their near three-decade career and 13 albums. Look out for the epic closer A Change of Seasons, a suite of seven songs clocking up to 23 minutes. The Dome at Dubai Sports City. Tickets start from Dh295, at www.plantinumlist.net

October 12 and 13: Lucerne Symphony Orchestra

Lucerne Symphony Orchestra. Courtesy Abu Dhabi Classics
Lucerne Symphony Orchestra. Courtesy Abu Dhabi Classics

Abu Dhabi Classics launches its latest season with two performances by the Lucerne Symphony Orchestra. Making its UAE debut, the acclaimed Swiss ensemble of up to 70 musicians will perform at Al Jahili Fort in Al Ain on October 12, with a programme of works from Wagner and Beethoven's 4th Symphony. The following night they will be at Emirates Palace with a repertoire that will include Rossini, Rachmaninoff and Brahms. Details and bookings for both shows can be found at www.ticketmaster.ae

October 20: Remix 92

If you are a '90's pop music fan, then this will be your dream gig. The music festival Remix 92, at the Irish Village, is hosting a string of nostalgic acts guaranteed to keep the hits and good times flowing. The retro-tastic line-up includes 5ive (Everybody Get Up), Snap! (Rhythm is a Dancer), Dr Alban (It's My Life), Robin S (Show Me Love), Rozalla (Everybody's Free), Sonique (It Feels So Good), N-Trance (Set You Free), C+C Music Factory (Gonna Make You Sweat). Tickets start from Dh195, from www.theirishvillage.com

October 27: Status Quo

The classic rockers are coming to play their hits at Dubai Opera. Breathe easy, however, this is not going to be some 'Quo with strings' concept, but a traditional rock show by an act who perfected the form. Expect the seats to be removed on the ground floor of the opera house, thus allowing fans to stand up close to the rockers at they belt out the anthems Whatever You Want and Rockin' All Over the World. Tickets start from Dh195, from www.dubaiopera.com

October 27: Fiesta de los Muertos

The second edition of the Halloween-themed music festival has an intriguing line-up of headliners. Led by sonic adventurers Gorillaz, grime star of the moment Stormzy and Canadian pop star Carly Rae Jepsen have also joined the bill. With a mariachi band (The Mariachis) flying in from Mexico, wacky crowd costumes and a host of other onsite activities, this should be a party for all the senses. Tickets start from Dh350, from www.117live.com

November 2: Toshi Reagon

The enigmatic US singer-songwriter returns to Abu Dhabi as part of the new NYU Abu Dhabi Arts Centre performance season. Backed by her band BigLovely, expect a stirring set of bare-bones rock, blues and R&B, with a tinge of gospel. She will be joined by US guests including vocalist Tariq Al Sabir and singer-songwriter Morley, the latter who is set to release her sixth album this year. Tickets are free upon online registration at www.nyuad-artscenter.org

November 9: Russell Kane

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 09:  Host Russell Kane during the 'We Are Manchester' benefit concert at Manchester Arena on September 9, 2017 in Manchester, England. Manchester Arena officially reopens following the terror attack on May 22nd. The concert will support the Manchester Memorial Fund.  (Photo by Shirlaine Forrest/Getty Images)
Russell Kane. Shirlaine Forrest / Getty Images

British funny man Kane will perform at what is tipped to be a sell-out show at Madinat Theatre. A highly sought-after comic, Kane cemented his reputation after winning the Best Comedy Show award at the 2010 Edinburgh Festival Fringe. He also introduced himself to millions of viewers in the UK with his hilarious travel series Stupid Man, Smart Phone. Prices start from Dh195, at tickets.virginmegastore.me

November 10: Party in the Park

There is genuine excitement regarding this year's edition of the pseudo-British rock festival. A lot is down to news that former Oasis frontman Liam Gallagher will be headlining the event. The UAE will be one of the first stops on his world tour, promoting his anticipated solo debut release As You Were, which is out on October 6. Joining him will be the electronic duo The Chemical Brothers, with more artist to be announced. Tickets start from Dh395, from www.platinumlist.net

November 10: Sensation

With Abu Dhabi's Creamfields in hiatus, Sensation has swiftly established itself as the biggest EDM celebration in the region. Held at Meydan Racecourse, the UAE leg of the global dance party series returns for its fourth edition with big names including Swedish House Mafia's Steve Angello and rising Dutch sensation Sam Feldt. Tickets start from Dh390, from dubai.platinumlist.net. For details go to www.sensation.com/cities/dubai

November 17: Jennifer Lopez

After selling out her Dubai Media City Amphitheatre show back in 2012, the music and screen siren returns to the UAE to perform at Dubai's Autism Rocks Arena. A singer, dancer and actress, JLo is known to deliver an energetic and dynamic hit-laden show served with charm.  Tickets start from Dh345, at www.117live.com

November 23 to 26: Abu Dhabi Formula 1 after-race concerts

Undoubtedly the biggest shows of the year, the four consecutive shows at the du Arena normally feature some of the biggest names in the pop, rock and R&B world. What we know so far is that Scottish DJ Calvin Harris will kick off the series on November 23, with US pop singer Pink to close it off at the prestigious race day concert on November 26. The remaining two shows, on November 24 and 25, are set to be revealed this week. Whoever the acts will be, expect them to be big names with a hefty catalogue. Access to the shows is only available for those purchasing tickets for the corresponding race day. For race tickets and more details, go to ticketsyasmarinacircuit.com

November 30: Take That

It's more a 'Take Three' that will be returning to the UAE. The vintage UK boy band, now down to a trio, will once again take us down memory lane with hits Back for Good, Up All Night, and The Flood. There will also be some new tunes from this year's solid album Wonderland. Tickets start from Dh299 for early-birds, from takethatdxb.com

December 8: Elton John

Third time is always a charm. Elton John's latest date at the Autism Rocks Arena comes after pop's elder statesman rescheduled twice. No matter, with up to 50 years of classic pop hits to sing along to, including Rocket Man, Daniel and Can't You Feel the Love Tonight, the big crowd will be more than forgiving. Tickets start from Dh295, at www.platinumlist.net

December 11: Hugh Masekela

A real opportunity for fans of world music and jazz. South African jazz virtuoso Hugh Masekela's music has played such an integral part of his homeland's struggle against apartheid that he has already cemented himself in the history books. As for his jazz pedigree, the 83-year-old trumpeter developed his technique under the guidance of the legendary Dizzy Gillespie and Louis Armstrong. Tickets start from Dh195, at www.dubaiopera.com

December 15: Trevor Noah

FILE - In this Sept. 29, 2015 file photo, Trevor Noah appears during a taping of "The Daily Show with Trevor Noah" in New York The new "Daily Show" host is finding his footing after a rough start replacing Jon Stewart, the man who made the broadcast essential. His comedy is sharper, he's becoming more comfortable with his adopted country and he's finding an audience of his own, even if smaller than his predecessor's.. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP, File)
Trevor Noah will no longer perform at Abu Dhabi's du Forum in 2018. Evan Agostini / Invision / AP File

More than other regions, UAE fans have seen the South African comic grow from becoming an up-and-coming talent to a superstar comic and Hollywood celebrity. After a successful third season as the host of The Daily Show, Noah will come to Abu Dhabi for his biggest UAE show yet at the du Forum. Better get a moving though, as three of the four seat categories are already sold out. Tickets start from Dh480, at www.ticketmaster.ae


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