Why Elissa's sold-out Erbil concert was trending online this weekend

This was the singer’s first concert in Iraq in a decade

After more than a decade away, Elissa felt the love at her weekend concert in Erbil, Iraq.

The Lebanese pop star’s show at Galaxy Hall on Friday was a hit on the ground and online, with the Arabic hashtag #ElissainErbil trending across the regional Twittersphere throughout the weekend.

The online reception capped off a heartwarming trip for the Halet Hob singer, with fans standing outside her hotel, her suite filled with gifts from supporters and a sold-out performance which included Elissa singing her hits Saharna Ya Leil and Baddy Doub.

In addition to marking her first show in Iraq since 2010, the successful and safe staging of Elissa's concert should go some way in establishing Erbil as the region's newest concert destination.

A previous high-profile concert in the capital of the autonomous Kurdish region was held in July 2019, with Syrian singer George Wassouf playing at the Saad Abdullah Conference Hall.

Elissa reportedly acknowledged the country's progress during her concert: "I came to Iraq 10 years ago to perform a concert, and today I returned and did many things including shopping and I found the country prosperous."

Here are three social media highlights from Elissa’s time in Erbil.

1. Her arrival

Coming into the hotel with a bouquet, she wasted no time in signing autographs and posting a picture of the green and lush surroundings from her room.

2. An intimate performance

Such is Elissa’s stature that her concerts are often held in arenas or theatres, however, her Erbil show was in the more intimate confines of Galaxy Hall, an indoor venue normally used for weddings.

This was of great benefit for the audience, who saw the star up close and personal.

Attendees sitting at tables with food and drink had great views of Elissa as she often strode out, in a glimmering silver dress, into the audience courtesy of the stage's T-shape design. Every grin, wink and dance was enjoyed by the adoring crowd.

3. A mass celebration

A key quality to Elissa’s appeal is her openness with her fans.

It is also the reason why she was hailed as the leading Arab personality on Twitter in 2019, according to US social media intelligence company Brandwatch.

Elissa encourages fans to post images and footage from her shows, which she will frequently retweet days after the performance.

This is partly the reason why the joy of her Iraqi show was shared by her wider fan base and shot her name once again to the top of regional trending charts.

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Read more:

From the streets of Baghdad to the US pop charts: how Iraqi producer Art Beatz aims to bring music worlds together

Poet Lamia Amara dies aged 92: 'An Iraqi palm tree has left our world'

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