18 top concerts and events coming to Abu Dhabi, from Post Malone to Blackpink and IIFA

From arts and culture to comedy, here's where to spend the next few months in the capital

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Musicals, rock, classical music and stand-up comedy are highlights on the Abu Dhabi 2022-2023 events calendar.

In addition to the Middle East debut of hit musical The Lion King, anticipated concerts by veteran British singer-songwriter Sting, US rockers Imagine Dragons and laughs provided by comedians Jimmy Carr and Kevin Bridges.

Here, The National rounds up 18 of the very best events to look forward to.

1. The Lion King: until December 10 at Etihad Arena

Marking 25 years since its premiere in 1997, the blockbuster musical will make its Middle Eastern debut in Abu Dhabi.

Based on the 1994 animated film, the story follows the adventures of Simba, as he grows from an innocent lion cub to assuming his responsibilities as the leader of his pride.

The show has been watched by nearly 110 million people around the world, and has permanent residencies in New York, London, Madrid and Tokyo.

Etihad Arena will be configured especially for the production to ensure a theatre-like experience. Expect to hear hits such as Circle of Life, Hakuna Matata and Can You Feel the Love Tonight.

Tickets from Dh200; evening shows begin at 7pm and matinees at 1pm. More information is available at etihadarena.ae

2. Hussain Al Jassmi and Hamad Al Ameri: December 3 at Qasr Al Hosn

Qasr Al Hosn in Abu Dhabi will play host to two Emirati singers, Hussain Al Jassmi and Hamad Al Ameri, on December 1 and 3 respectively.

Both staple performers during National Day celebrations, Al Jassmi and Al Ameri will serenade guests with songs from their hit Arabic set lists.

Some of Al Jassmi's famous tracks include Boshret Kheir — the video to which has been viewed more than half a billion times on YouTube — and his recent single Bel Bont El3areedh.

Al Ameri's songs include Einy Al Yameen and Jadeed Al Hob.

Doors open 7pm; from Dh50; ticketmaster.ae

3. Balqees and Fouad Abdelwahed: December 3 at Al Jahili Fort, Al Ain

Emirati-Yemeni singer Balqees and Yemeni crooner Fouad Abdelwahed are taking to the stage at Al Jahili Fort to celebrate National Day.

Recently featured in the Fifa World Cup official soundtrack with her song Light The Sky, Balqees is also known for her hit singles Momken and Taala Tchouf. Some of Abdelwahed's famous tunes include Ana Sootek and Qalbi Elsagheer.

Doors open 7pm; from Dh150;ticketmaster.ae

4. Post Malone: December 3 at Etihad Park

The Rockstar hitmaker will take the stage performing new tracks from fourth album Twelve Carat Toothache and hits including Circles, Sunflower, Psycho and I Like You (A Happier Song).

“I’m excited to be returning to Abu Dhabi and performing for the incredible audience there again,” said Malone. “I can't wait to take to the stage and perform for my fans in the Middle East. Together, we're going to enjoy a fantastic weekend.”

Doors open at 6.30pm; tickets from D295; ticketmaster.ae

5. Mother of The Nation Festival: December 9 to 18 at Abu Dhabi Corniche

A post on the event's Instagram page revealed the popular family festival will return this year.

Normally held around November and December on the Abu Dhabi Corniche, the week-long event features performances by regional and international pop stars, and is spread across venues divided into thematic sections ranging from arts and sports to space and technology.

Stay tuned to The National for all updates regarding the festival.

More information is available at motn.ae

6. Le Trio Joubran: December 14 at Cultural Foundation

Palestinian group Le Trio Joubran comprises three brothers who are all maestros on the oud. They are renowned for their intricate compositions inspired by some of the Arab world's greatest poets.

Show starts 8pm; tickets from Dh75; ticketmaster.ae

7. Trio Abozekrys: December 15 at Cultural Foundation

Built upon the interplay of brothers Mohamed and Abdallah on the oud and baglama (a long-necked lute) respectively, the group fuses traditional Middle Eastern sounds with modern and experimental jazz for a performance described as "eccentric and energetic".

Show starts 8pm; tickets from Dh75; ticketmaster.ae

8. Shujaat Khan, Amit Choubey and Nihar Mehta: December 17 at Cultural Foundation

Sitar virtuoso Shujaat Khan is the star of the show as he brings a tender and experimental style to Abu Dhabi, supported by renowned tabla players Amit Choubey and Nihar Mehta.

Show starts 8pm; tickets from Dh75; ticketmaster.ae

9. Israel Philharmonic Orchestra Gala Concert: December 20 at Emirates Palace Auditorium

The Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, one of the country's oldest and leading cultural institutions, will be performing its Gala Concert as part of Abu Dhabi Classics.

The programme includes Mahler's Symphony No.1 in D Major and Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 27 in B major.

Showtime is 8pm; from D50; etihadarena.ae; ticketmaster.ae

10. Jimmy Carr: January 7, 2023, at Etihad Arena

One of Britain's favourite comedians is returning to Abu Dhabi. As part of his Terribly Funny 2.0 World Tour, Carr is heading to Etihad Arena on Yas Island for a one-off performance on January 7, 2023.

Carr, 49, is known for his near-the-knuckle one-liners delivered in a deadpan manner. Last year he released the controversial Netflix special Jimmy Carr: His Dark Material.

Doors open at 8pm; from D195; etihadarena.ae

11. Junk Kouture World Final: January 11 at Etihad Arena

Founded in 2010, the event has been encouraging one billion children worldwide, aged 13 to 18, to harness their creativity using nothing but the rubbish around them.

Now, as part of this ambitious plan, Junk Kouture will showcase the best international designs from across the world in a high-octane fashion show.

Doors open 7pm; from Dh100; etihadarena.ae

12. Rebeca Omordia's piano recital, ‘African Pianism’: January 20 at Cultural Foundation

The award-winning Nigerian-Romanian pianist Rebeca Omordia, who lives in London, is set to deliver an electric performance of contemporary and dynamic classical music of composers from all over the African continent.

Showtime is 8pm; from D50; etihadarena.ae; ticketmaster.ae

13. Kevin Bridges: January 21 at Etihad Arena, Yas Island

The hilarious Scot returns to the UAE as part of his Overdue Catch-Up world tour.

He will be back in Abu Dhabi with his sell-out show. Fans should be quick off the mark as almost all of the dates along his seven-month journey around the UK are fully booked.

With four stand-up comedy specials to his name, including 2018's The Brand New Tour, Bridges is also a repeat guest on British TV shows such as Would I Lie to You and Have I Got News for You.

Doors open at 7pm; from D195; etihadarena.ae

14. Imagine Dragons: January 26 at Etihad Arena

The American rock band will return to the UAE as part of their latest world tour celebrating the release of their upcoming double-disc compilation album Mercury — Acts 1 & 2.

Executive produced by the legendary Rick Rubin, the 32-track album represents the band’s broadest and most personal collection yet. Bringing together their two most recent albums, it features the hit singles Enemy, Bones and Sharks.

Tickets go on sale on October 7 at 12 pm and start from AED 250, at livenation.me.

15. Sting: January 27 at Etihad Arena

Sting will bring his My Songs tour to Abu Dhabi.

The former Police frontman will perform his greatest hits from a celebrated back catalogue that has won him 17 Grammy Awards, three Brits Awards, a Golden Globe and an Emmy. He has also been nominated four times for the Best Original Song Oscar.

Tracks for fans to listen out for are Roxanne, Every Breath You Take and Desert Rose.

A global hit in 1999, Desert Rose is a collaboration with Algerian singer Cheb Mami that exposed the world to the Arabic music genre rai.

Doors open 7pm; from Dh435 at etihadarena.ae

16. Blackpink: January 28 at Etihad Park

When the K-pop stars announced the first dates and cities for their upcoming world tour in August, Abu Dhabi was listed as a stop on January 28.

No other details, including the venue or ticket prices, have been revealed.

Expect the awesome foursome to perform tracks from new album Born Pink in addition to hits Ice Cream and As If It's Your Last.

17. International Indian Film Academy Rocks: February 10 at Etihad Arena

Bollywood director and producer Karan Johar will join returning host, filmmaker Farah Khan, for IIFA Rocks, the musical and fashion night preceding the main awards gala hosted by the International Indian Film Academy in Abu Dhabi.

Johar and Khan will entertain Bollywood fans along with top performers including rapper Badshah, singer and music director Amit Trivedi, singer Sunidhi Chauhan and EDM producer Nucleya.

Doors open 6.30pm; from Dh110 at etihadarena.ae

18. Mo Amer and Maz Jobrani: March 4 at Etihad Arena

The two comedians, renowned for bringing Middle Eastern experiences to US stand-up, will perform their savvy blend of observational comedy.

Amer is best known for being the creator and star of the Netflix comedy series, Mo.

The show focuses on the absurdities of the US immigration process, and is based on Amer’s life as a Palestinian growing up in Houston, Texas.

Jobrani is a founding member and driving force behind the world-famous Axis of Evil Comedy Tour.

In 2021, his comedy special Pandemic Warrior was filmed in Dubai and is available to stream on Apple TV+.

Doors open 6pm; from Dh250 at etihadarena.ae

Concerts and events coming to Dubai, from Justin Bieber to Jo Koy and 'Romeo & Juliet' — in pictures

— A version of this article was first published on October 4, 2022

Updated: December 03, 2022, 8:16 PM