The stage is set for a battle royale

 

Music lovers are spoilt for choice this May with top international performers gracing the stage in Dubai over the next few weeks. We find out who will emerge as the winner from this clash of the concerts.

 

Bon Jovi

WHO?

American hard rock band fronted by lead singer and namesake Jon Bon Jovi. The rest of the quartet is Richie Sambora, David Bryan and Tico Torres. Bon Jovi achieved superstar status in the late 1980s, thanks to two album releases, 1986's Slippery When Wet and New Jersey in 1988, which sold a total of 19 million copies in the United States alone, and charted four number ones: You Give Love a Bad Name, Livin' on a Prayer, Bad Medicine and I'll Be There for You.

ROUND 1: STATISTICS

  • Years in the business: 25
  • Album sales to date: 190m
  • Number of studio albums: 10
  • Number of hit singles: 41
  • Number one singles: six

ROUND 2: "ROCK" RATING

Although the band's image is quite clean-cut these days, with Jon Bovi Jovi once admitting that he doesn't live the rock 'n' roll lifestyle anymore, guitarist Richie Sambora has not been such a well behaved boy. Not only has he hit the headlines for breaking up with wife Heather Locklear and then dating her ex-best friend Denise Richards, Sambora has also attracted attention for his rehab stints and DUI arrests.

FINAL ROUND: THE FACE OFF

Because this is the first time Bon Jovi will perform in the region, demand for tickets has been incredibly high and the Dh290 category has already sold out, giving them an edge over their rivals. However, the fact that the concert is on a school night (Tuesday) may pose a problem, especially for those going from other emirates to Abu Dhabi for the gig.

THE CONCERT

May 20 at Emirates Palace, Abu Dhabi. Tickets cost Dh590 and Dh890. Call: 04 367 6699

 

Mariah Carey

WHO?

Mariah Carey is the best-selling female pop artist of the millennium. And if that title isn't enough, she recently broke Elvis Presley's record for the most number one singles by a solo artist.

The five-time Grammy winner was discovered in 1990 by Columbia Records executive and later ex-husband, Tommy Mattola. After tasting success with pop songs like Vision of Love and Dreamlover, the diva underwent a transformation to R&B with Heartbreaker.

ROUND 1: STATISTICS

  • Years in the business: 19
  • Album sales to date: 150m
  • Number of studio albums: 11
  • Number of hit singles: 78
  • Number one singles: 18

ROUND 2: "DIVA" RATING

Mariah is renowned for her diva-ish demands, making her one of the most temperamental artists on the circuit, second only to Kanye West. She is probably also the only singer who's been banned by the paparazzi after she turned up for her album signing two hours too late and wouldn't bother posing for the cameras.

FINAL ROUND: THE FACE OFF

If her first show in Dubai in 2004 was anything to go by, you have to admire her stage presence. We can still recall the collective gasp that rose from the audience when Carey strutted on stage in that silver glittery number. The fact that Mimi will premiere concert versions of her new songs from the latest album, E=MC2, and add to that her years in the music business and we can see who would emerge the winner in the final knock-out round.

THE CONCERT

May 15, Dubai Festival City. Ticket details have yet to be announced but you can pre-register at showbizme.com.

 

Scorpions

WHO?

Heavy metal/hard rock quintet from Hanover, Germany, comprising Klaus Meine, Matthias Jabs, Rudolf Schenker, James Kottak, and Pawe Maciwoda. Throughout their career, Scorpions [not to be confused with The Scorpions, a 1960s band from the UK] has been referred to as "Ambassadors of Rock", and was ranked number 46 on VH1's show, Greatest Artists of Hard Rock. Popular songs include Rock You Like a Hurricane and Wind of Change.

ROUND 1: STATISTICS

  • Years in the business: 43
  • Album sales to date: 75m
  • Number of studio albums: 21
  • Number of hit singles: 65
  • Number one singles: two

ROUND 2: "ROCK" RATING

Unlike Bon Jovi, there have been no press reports surrounding the Scorpions regarding partners, DUIs or rehab. However, the band has attracted its fair share of controversy in terms of artistic expression, with a number of their album covers – particularly Virgin Killer and Love at First Sting – receiving criticism for their risqué nature. This resulted in the CDs being banned by authorities in several countries.

FINAL ROUND: THE FACE OFF

Though the popularity of the band has waned throughout their history – like most groups that span decades – Scorpions has retained its loyal fan base. Moreover, they have played in more Arab countries than Bon Jovi, including once in Dubai in 2004. Secondly, they play on a Thursday, meaning more fans can attend.

THE CONCERT

May 22, Dubai Festival City. Tickets cost Dh250, Dh350, Dh500, Dh700 and Dh900. Call: 04 367 6699. 

 

Fergie

WHO?

Stacy Ann Ferguson. The R&B singer rose to fame when she joined The Black Eyed Peas (BEP) in 2003, who were then working on their third album Elephunk. Member Will.i.am was so impressed by Fergie's vocal talent on Shut Up that she was instantly asked to record five additional songs on the album and later invited to join them permanently. After two BEP albums, Fergie struck out solo and released The Duchess in 2006. But did you know that even before she joined BEP, Fergie was a member of the all-girl band, Wild Orchid. Needless to say, it bit the dust after a decade-long run.

ROUND 1: STATISTICS

  • Years in the business: 17
  • Album sales to date: six million (as solo artist)
  • Number of studio albums: one (as solo artist)
  • Number of hit singles: six
  • Number one singles: three

ROUND 2: "DIVA" RATING

Even though Fergie may not have the same track record as Mariah in the diva rating, BEP are notorious for their outlandish demands. Fergie became the victim of bad press when her solo tracks London Bridge and Fergalicious came under fire for being too risqué. That still didn't stop the album becoming the seventh from a female artist to spawn five top five hits on the US Billlboard chart.

FINAL ROUND: THE FACE OFF

The last time Fergie performed in Dubai was with her band mates from BEP. This time it's a solo battle with diva Mariah. And while Fergie has a strong fan base in the UAE, she doesn't seem to compare against the might of Mariah.

THE CONCERT

May 16, Dubai Festival City. Ticket details have yet to be announced.

 

Taste of Arabia

Not only is the crème de la crème of Western artists performing in the UAE this month, two of the biggest names in Arabic entertainment history will also make an appearance in the country: Lebanese singer Fayrouz and Egyptian actor Adel Imam. Make sure you don't miss them.

FAYROUZ

Legendary Lebanese diva currently stars in the musical Sah El Nawm (Wake Up) at Sharjah University's City Hall. Originally composed by the renowned Rahbani Brothers and performed for the first time in 1970, Sah El Nawm is admired for its dramatic intensity, rich story line, humour and musical rhythms.

The play has enjoyed success throughout its many runs and has received praise for its strong focus on the Arab world.

The musical's latest run, which lasts until Tuesday, is in aid of For the Children charity founded by Her Highness Sheikha Jawaher, wife of the Ruler of Sharjah and Chairperson of the Supreme Council for Family Affairs, where 25 per cent of all ticket sales will be donated.

Doors open at 7pm, and the show starts at 8.30pm. Organisers stress that latecomers will not be admitted until the intermission at the end of Act One.

Tickets start from Dh75. Call: 04 366 2277. 

ADEL IMAM

For the first time in the UAE, Egyptian acting superstar Adel Imam will star in the theatrical hit The Bodyguard alongside actress Shereen Seif El Nasr, starting May 15.

The play, which ran for nearly five years in Egypt, also features a cast of 50 actors, dancers, and extras and will run for three days at the Cultural Theatre in Al Mamzar, Dubai.

Although ticket prices are yet to be announced, it is rumoured they could reach up to Dh1,500 per person thanks to Imam's popularity. The 67-year-old is one of a few Arabic actors whose movies constantly top GCC box offices, his latest being Morgan Ahmed Morgan, which is out in the UAE.

Before Morgan, Imam's last movie was The Yacoubian Building.

To pre-order tickets, send an e-mail with your name, phone number, chosen date and number of tickets required to nasser@extevents.com. Or, call: 050 456 2778.

 

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