ABU DHABI // While the California group Linkin Park rocked a sold-out concert exclusively for Formula One race-day ticket holders at Yas Island last night, thousands gathered on the Abu Dhabi Corniche to be entertained by an eclectic mix of local, regional and international talent – entirely free.
It was the last night for Beats on the Beach, which began on Wednesday to complement the Yas Island line-up as part of the Yasalam 2010 programme.
The night began with Absolace, a metal band in Dubai and the brainchild of the drummer Greg Cargopoulos. It was their first show in Abu Dhabi, having played in Dubai and Beirut. Last night, they performed songs from their debut album, Resolved.
"I know everyone in the band and I came down here to support my friends," said Jeff Clark, 21, an oil engineer in Abu Dhabi. "They're a very good live band and are great songwriters and musicians. They play progressive metal music."
The evening's line-up also included the American R&B singer Kelis, known for her hits Acapella, Bossy, Milkshake and Caught Out There; Cyrine Abdel Noor, a Lebanese singer, actress and model; and Easy Star All Stars, an American reggae collective.
Linda Kojok, 42, who is originally from Lebanon, accompanied her daughters Lara, 10, and Julia, seven, to watch Noor perform.
"We've been waiting here on the Corniche since 1.30pm," Mrs Kojok said. "Cyrine is a top model, singer and actress, and this is a great opportunity for us to watch her perform here in Abu Dhabi. Her songs are very romantic."
"She's pretty and her songs are nice," Lara said. "Can we ask for her autograph?"
Mira Chdad, 16, her twin sister Yara and their friends Ange and Celine, both 17, came from Dubai to watch the Arab performer Fares Karam.
"We know that he's performing close to midnight, but he's very popular and everyone adores him," Mira said. "He's got a very nice personality and we're so excited to see him perform his hit songs like Arguile and El Tanoura."
Karam, who specialises in the Arabic Dabke style and Lebanese music in general, has a string of hit singles around the Arab world and elsewhere.
Out on Yas Island, the double Grammy Award-winning band Linkin Park, known for their angst-ridden rap-rock hits, including Crawling and Numb, took the F1 party into the night. They are best known for albums such as Hybrid Theory and Minutes to Midnight, as well as collaborations with artists including Jay Z and Busta Rhymes.