Review: Maroon 5 live in Dubai

Pop rockers bring the noise at Dubai’s Coca-Cola Arena

Review: Maroon 5 live in Dubai

This was one of Dubai’s most hotly anticipated gigs since Ed Sheeran sent the Autism Rocks Arena into raptures back in 2017, and the arrival of Maroon 5 at the Coca-Cola Arena gave us another reason to believe that the city’s newest venue will catapult Dubai onto the radar of global superstars.

Until now, Dubai didn’t have a purpose-built, large capacity concert venue.

Now, it emphatically, spectacularly does.

And just for starters, there’s never been a roar like this in Dubai before. Not one that’s reverberated and echoed around nearly 20,000 people.

While last weekend’s opening night debut from comedian Russell Peters gave us a side-splitting introduction to the new venue – tonight’s show from the Cali pop-rockers proved that this 17,000-capacity arena is capable of the bombastic, the all-singing, the all-dancing, and the blinding audio and visual spectacular that’s expected from the most A-list of international acts in 2019.

Indeed, the arena is managed by the same team behind The O2 in London, and the Staples Centre in Los Angeles – two of the world’s most popular concert venues, and tonight’s concert wouldn’t be out of place in either.

Tickets for the show sold out weeks in advance, and the seven(no-longer-five)-piece smashed their way through a set of more than an hour and a half as they reminded us all of their impressively broad back-catalogue.

Indeed, the top almost blew clean off  the Coca-Cola Arena after a Back To The Future-inspired intro video saw the band arrive on stage to unfathomable screams and What Lovers Do, with Adam Levine eagerly strutting across stage.

Slow-burner debut album Songs About Jane (which took two years to go platinum and has since gone on to sell 10 million copies worldwide) was well represented with third track of the night, This Love, getting one of the biggest cheers of the night - and a massive singalong, even if Sunday Morning did see Levine a little too keen to show off his famously high-pitched vocal range.

It also turns out that Levine is more than just a voice, after shredding his way through a massive guitar solo at the end of the tune.

But in the 17 years since the band’s debut album release they’ve moved on to bigger and better things, as they reminded us with almost annoyingly catchy tunes like Sugar (the last track of the night), Moves Like Jagger and Girls Like You.

Slightly poppier than their early funk-inspired pop rock, but stratospherically popular nonetheless.

Towards the end of the set it, slightly weirdly, looked like Levine was tiring - opting against hitting the notes, or belting out the lyrics so famously loved by fans around the world. That seemed to coincide with the main man limping off stage following Moves Like Jagger - it seemed to draw an early conclusion to the main part of the set.

Regardless, the band behind him gave it everything, with spontaneous hard-rock breakdowns and even a Luther Van Dross instrumental half way through the set to give an introduction to the band.

For a group that provided a controversial performance at the Super Bowl in Atlanta earlier this year, there seemed a steely, professional determination to let the music do the talking in Dubai, with Adam Levine hardly saying a word to the audience and just getting on with the music, with an almost robotic professionalism.

Away from the music it can’t be overstated how significant it is that the Coca-Cola Arena is well connected to the Dubai Metro - less than a ten-minute walk around the corner. All of a sudden, major concerts in Dubai have got the same buzz as cities around the world, where thousands upon thousands of fans take to the trains before and after a gig, which not only makes it a logistical/transport dream, but also brings Dubai onto a par with the Londons, New Yorks and Los Angeles of the world.

Despite a lack of a proper encore, we’d like to see much, much more like this from the Coca-Cola Arena, please. The city has been crying out for this level of arena, and Dubai is all the better for its arrival.

Oh, and thankfully, there was no sight of the band’s ill-advised cover of Bob Marley’s Three Little Birds.

Next up, The 1975.

Maroon 5 played:
What Lovers Do
Pay Phone
This Love
Sunday Morning
Harder to Breathe
Luther Van Dross - Never Too Much (interlude)
Makes me Wonder
Moves like Jagger
Forever Young into Girls Like You
She Will Be Loved (acoustic)

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