It was a big event for the Emirates ... a real "mega star" coming to Abu Dhabi to perform, and sure enough, Madonna's first night sold out immediately which prompted the announcement of a second night (which is struggling to fill up!).
As soon as the date was announced, we joined the rush to get tickets for the opening night and succeeded. Several weeks of eager anticipation followed until yesterday arrived!
The tickets said that doors open at 7pm, but knowing this region, there was no point to get there before 9pm. The event was hosted at the hugely impressive Yas Marina. It is a well laid out location and there is good road access, good signage and there are good parking facilities.
We arrived at the entrance for the "Golden Circle" just after 9pm, and it was a typical humid evening. We passed the security and made our way towards the stage. Benny Bennassi was on, warming up the crowd. We kept edging our way closer to the front. Partly by our own efforts and partly by the swell of the crowd pushing us forward.
It was hot and crowded and getting very uncomfortable, but when Benny Bennassi finished at 9.30 we all got ready for the imminent arrival of Madonna.
9.30 became 10pm and that became 10.30pm. The crowd (and I) were becoming restless and impatient. We had arrived close to the from of the stage on the left hand side. It was uncomfortable waiting so long in the heat and there was no chance to be able to get away and get a drink (and then get back to the position we had worked so hard to gain).
There were more and more angry mutterings from the crowd and then several choruses of "boo's". Several people close to us did in fact give up and walk away!
But finally, at 10.40pm, She arrived! The stage and show were suitably dramatic for a star of her stature. Her opening gambits were quite violent staged scenes and clearly her newer songs that she wanted to promote.
The acoustics and lighting were impressive, but we spent most of the time watching the show on the huge projection, as we had a massively obstructed view for most of the evening due to the design of the stage, but we had our moments when she ventured over to the wings and we could get a real good view.
For a lady of 50+, Madonna looks fantastic. She has an unbelievably well toned body, but it struck me that her energy is not what it used to be. The show was good. An excellent dance troupe as you would expect put on some memorable acts, but I thought this came at the expense of some good old singing!
The concert ended at 12.30, so I give Madonna credit for not short changing us because of the late start (as Robbie Williams did a few years ago), but I was feeling exhausted and dehydrated by this time already ... which is when she made her finale of "Like A Prayer" (the highlight of the evening for me).
So despite the grandiose stage and setting, this was a mediocre evening for me at best ... or maybe I'm just getting old!