Mariah Carey in Saudi Arabia: Pop diva rolls out the classics

The singer performed in the kingdom as part of the Saudi International golf tournament

This photo taken on November 10, 2018 shows US singer Mariah Carey performing during the 2018 Tmall 11:11 Global Shopping Festival gala in Shanghai. (Photo by STR / AFP) / China OUT
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It was one sweet day in Saudi Arabia yesterday, as Mariah Carey delivered the goods in her debut performance in the kingdom.

The US diva and pop music icon took the stage at Bay La Sun resort in King Abdullah Economic City on January 31 as part of the Saudi International tournament, the first major golf event in Saudi Arabia.

The 48-year-old singer headlined the first of two after-tee concerts and was supported by veteran trance music DJ Tiesto. The final concert, to be held later this evening, will feature Emirati-Yemeni singer Balqees and Jamaican dance-hall star Sean Paul.

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But it is Mariah Carey that everyone came to see. Backed by large band including two keyboardists and two backing singers, she recognised the anticipation by delivering a 13-song set solely dedicated to the classics.

The die-hard fans may have been disappointed that Carey didn't sing any new tracks from last year's back-to-form album Caution, but you really can't complain when the star is dropping gems such as Fantasy, Always Be My Baby and Dream Lover back to back.

True to form, Carey’s maintained her fashionista cred by undergoing a series of costume changes, which were basically different colours of the same glittering sequenced gown.

Crowd reaction

Judging by the social media response, the fans got what they wanted:

Munia was super excited

Asma Noor also had a great position in the Golden Circle

Carey's was enjoying herself on stage and her voice was in fine form

More concerts to come

Carey's performance is part of the Saudi Entertainment Authority plans to transform the kingdom into a regional entertainment and cultural hub.

Tonight will find the Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli performing in the historical desert city of Al Ula, as part of the Winter at Tantora cultural festival.

That event will come to an end next week with Greek super-star composer Yanni performing the closing concert on February 8.

Egyptian singer Tamer Hosny has also announced a Saudi gig with a full concert performance at the Jeddah KAEC Hall on February 22.

More gigs are also expected to be announced in the upcoming months featuring hip-hop stars Jay Z and DJ Khaled in addition to Egyptian singer Amr Diab.

Saudi Arabia's comedy scene, which is presently healthy with local comedians, is also set to expand with yet to be announced performances by international funny-men Dave Chappelle, Chris Rock and Trevor Noah.