John Legend at Louvre Abu Dhabi was my first live concert and it didn't disappoint

American R&B star's show sets the bar high for my next live music outing

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All of me loved all of John Legend’s concert at Louvre Abu Dhabi last weekend.

It was my first-ever live concert and boy was it spectacular. Let’s just say, I came with high expectations and left with higher hopes. As a fellow spectator told me, I have set the bar high for my next one.

Coming from India, where we do have a lot of concerts, I have always been put off by the idea of getting pushed and shoved by an unruly crowd. I mean, it happens daily on public transport, why would I willingly volunteer for the experience in the name of recreation?

So when the opportunity presented itself in a city as safe and mesmerising as Abu Dhabi, I jumped.

Louvre Abu Dhabi, celebrating the fifth anniversary of its opening, was the perfect magical backdrop, while the Legend served us hits one after the other.

The floating stage could have been a bit bigger but I wasn’t complaining as they projected the show on one of the white cuboid blocks beneath the magnificent Jean Nouvel-designed dome.

The stands were packed, the weather was about right and Legend walked in with a swagger that would easily beat Chrissy Teigen’s ramp walk. Seriously.

First of all, he started the concert on time. I mean, if you are doing that in 2022, you have my respect. Thank you for not being fashionably late.

This was Zoya Thomas's first live concert experience. Zoya Thomas / The National

Secondly, midway through the concert, as he sang his love songs, he asked us, an international audience, to turn around and express our love for each other. You should have seen the grin on everybody’s face as they started saying ‘I love you’ randomly to strangers. It was funny and sweet. As he rightly said, if the past few months have shown us anything, it is that the world needs more love.

Some waved, some screamed, some danced, some sang. It was a concert for all and Legend wanted us to know that from the start.

Not only did he impress us with his vocals, but his performance was on point. The mic stand was dropped, there was a swirl here and a jiggle there and not once did he wipe the gleaming sweat off his face. This man was not lip syncing and thank God for that.

He started with Ordinary People and us ordinary people crooned with him:

Take it slow, oh-oh This time we'll take it slow

Well, nobody was in a hurry for this concert to end.

While John also sang Minefields, Used to Love U and Nervous, the highlight of the night was seeing him take to the piano to perform the crowd favourite All of Me.

I attended the concert alone, but a group of enthusiastic women were next to me and were quick to tell me I was part of their tribe for the night.

Zoya Thomas, far right, with her newfound friends at the John Legend concert in Abu Dhabi. Zoya Thomas / The National

So I had great company and we shared mementoes and clicked photos and kept telling each other how lucky we were.

Indeed, I came out of the concert feeling fortunate and happy.

John Legend lived up to the hype of being one of the 17 EGOT (Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony) winners. Now, I want more of this live concert scene and maybe even better, if not the same, if that's even possible.

Suggestions are welcome, but they'd need to beat this spectacular venue.

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Updated: November 20, 2022, 3:18 AM