David Grey

You probably never felt classy if you haven’t attended David Grey’s performance, this talented indie rock artist – which is in my opinion a lost art nowadays – gave us a true meaning to music with his Guitar and Piano skills.

It’s been 5 years since David had performed in Dubai, and as he strolled to the microphone, surrounded by a six-piece band, which fleshed out the songs with keyboards, cello, double bass and harmonies, they gave us a beautiful spiritual experience.

The captivating, melancholy Night blindness has Gray asking “What we gonna do/When the money runs out?” while by far the track most reminiscent of his older work with its droning strum, is an ice-cold anthem to frustration. It was perhaps that these songs came from Gray’s heart in a direct way.Gray is someone you look at on stage and say to yourself, “This man understands how it feels to be trapped in a tough world”, and this gives each of the songs a disarming authenticity. While he slipped back into a more straightforward musical mode for a few tracks, like ‘Sail Away’ and ‘Lullaby’.

While Chris Botti was setting up I took a quick look around and went to Adidas to check out their roof top bar and it was amazing, they had a huge blue screen that had an equalizer that was working along with music it caught from the stage and that is creative and catchy. Well done, Adidas! Their roof top also had a good view to the stage which gave their guest a chance to have the best of both world, and the best part of this whole thing was that it was free for whomever wants to go there 😀

Chris Botti


The only actual JAZZ played in the entire festival; Bottiand his band were sensational to say the least. I don’t think I will ever experience a Thursday night like this again. It’s not very common to find a trumpet player as a front man, let alone have a group carry his name. Botti is simply like no other, when he took the stage the crowd roared to the point where I had trouble hearing what he was saying. After his opening piece he invited the mesmerizing Caroline Campbell on violin. She is the embodiment of excellence, beautiful and talented and my favorite thing about her was how she swayed with the music, she wasn’t playing a musical piece, she was acting it. With every fiber in her being; her face, body, movements were all as expressive as the notes coming out of her violin, which made her performance all the more memorable. After she got off stage, Botti gave the crowd a treat that blew our minds. I never expected to hear‘Hallelujah’ played in a spiritual and melodic way; he definitely gave this song another meaning – we have a video, watch it here.



This show was full of surprises, as Botti invited Caroline back to the stage to play a solo because he said “It would not be fair to you all to have her here and not have her perform a solo piece for you.” She started playing this really deep and beautiful piece that had us all close our eyes and get in touch with feelings buried deep within our souls, that was until our eyes popped open wide, a cartoon character’s eyes would 😀 I felt like I was deep within the earth and then got catapulted to space in 1 quick second when that melancholic solo SUDDENLY transformed into something very familiar to ‘Kashmir’ by Led zeppelin. Needless to say the crowd went WILD singing along with the melodies and raising their rock on signs to the sky. Unforgettable…

Chris Botti is not done yet, not by a longshot. He brings on the man we’ve all been waiting for, the one and only Sting. I swear this guy has Benjamin Button disease; he just keeps on getting younger by time. Sting and Chris Botti paid homage to the late great Frank Sinatra by playing a rendition of ‘In the wee Small Hours of the Morning’ and what a rendition it was! It felt very personal since Sting and Botti met for the first time to play a Sinatra tribute concert. Sting gave us a taste of his greatest hits or it’s safe to say songs that we grew on listening to and falling in love with like ‘Fields of Gold’, ‘Shape of my Heart’, ‘Every Little Thing she does is Magic’, ‘7 days’, and of course ‘Englishman in New York’– watch a video here -which resulted in an EPIC crowd chant.


Sting then goes on to play a prolonged version of ‘Roxanne’ that just felt like it went on forever, during an interlude in the middle of the song where the crowd were singing along, the music suddenly stops and he utters those 6 magical words that sent chills through the spines of everyone there ‘Ain’t no Sunshine when she’s Gone’ OH YES HE DID!:D but only to go back to the chorus of ‘Roxanne’ in the end but with double time. It was a Mashup for the ages. Sting then performs ‘Desert Rose’ with the help of Caroline Campbell which a truly pleasant surprise, but not as good as watching him belly dance and shout at the crowd YALLA YALLA YALLA as he does.

Then the amazing Lee Pearson– drummer -plays a ridiculous 7 minute drum solo, it was one of those thing where someone had to collect your jaw from CHINA cause it hit the ground so hard. He used his hands, every type of drumstick known to man, in all sorts of positing including behind his back, he used his elbows,he clapped, used percussion, all in a flow without stopping the beat, I’ve seen a lot of drum solos in my day, nothing quite like this before. Sting performs what we thought was the last song ‘Every breath you take’ but then he comes back after the crowd pretty much DEMANDS IT to play a beautiful, soul healing Encore and he chose to end this unforgettable night with ‘Fragile’.

Written by: Rim ElJurdi and Ahmed S. Khalil
Photography by: Hasan Kaissi
Edited by: NJ Bakr

– Have you missed other festival days coverage? Here is Day One and Day Three.

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