Review: Akon and Travis Scott at MAD, Yas Island, Abu Dhabi

Travis Scott performed at MAD on Yas Island after performing at Beats on the Beach earlier in the evening. Navin Khianey for The National
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There are a few signs in life that you’re hitting middle age: policeman starting to look young; your bones making unexpected noises when you sit down; going into a room then forgetting why you went in there in the first place.

Add to that, in a personal music context, being a hip-hop devotee but not “getting” the latest hot-shot rapper de jour. In this case, Travis Scott.

The 24-year-old Texan trap-rapper ticks all the boxes I usually look for in a hip-hop star: fearless stage presence; mouthy demeanour; production cosigns from the most forward-thinking mainstream rapper in the world today, Kanye West.

And yet for all the energy he brought to the MAD stage - only a few hours after a manic performance at Beats on The Beach at the Abu Dhabi Corniche - bounding around and whipping the late-night onlookers into a frenzy, it was left to a man getting on for twice his age and approximately one-fifth as much musical talent to demonstrate how the grown-ups do it.

For the past decade-and-a-bit, Senegal-repping US singer Akon has annoyed our ears with his patented sleazy brand of vocoder/Auto-Tune-loving R‘n’B – seemingly stopping off in the UAE every 25 minutes to appear at a variety of clubs, venues and festivals.

But at MAD, dressed head to toe in white, he positively sparkled with the dazzling impact of a detergent advert turned up to nuclear levels. The set reached a climax with his career peak I Wanna Love You (except not in that exact radio-friendly form), with effortless, genial stamina suggesting that there's plenty more to come from the 43-year-old.

aworkman@thenational.ae