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Top international acts become the toast of the town

One week, three top gigs. From left to right: FatBoy Slim, Shaggy and Iron Maiden frontman Bruce Dickinson, rocked Dubai last week. (SUPPLIED)

By Rachel McArthur

Last week will go down as one of my most enjoyable concert runs of 2009, because not only did I attend three big gigs over three days, but I also managed to turn up on time without facing gridlock (is it just me or is the traffic flowing strangely well these days?).

Want to know who shined and who did not live up to his reputation? Read on to find out more:

FatBoy Slim Live @ Barasti, Le Meridien Mina Seyahi: Playing his very first gig in the Middle East was Mr Norman Cook – better known as FatBoy Slim – in a massive outdoor area parallel to the beach.

Approximately 3,500 dance music lovers turned out to catch the British DJ writing notes to the crowd, dancing maniacally, and spinning and sampling every track that made him big, including Right Here, Right Now, Praise You and Gangster Trippin'. He also threw in some top British dance tunes for good measure, such as What's It Gonna Be by H20, featuring Platinum.

Although there were times in FatBoy's setlist where we did question if he had downed one fizzy pop too many, the atmosphere more than made up for it. DJ events really do work outdoors (if you're staging them during winter, of course).

The only downfall to hosting a gig under the stars is that it had to end pretty early – 11pm to be precise, much to the disappointment of the crowd. Let's hope next month's Tiesto gig at Dubai Festival City can go on longer.

Shaggy Live @ Dubai Festival City: Following his June 2007 appearance at the Madinat Arena during the 2nd Life Music Festival (remember those?), Mr Lova Lova himself – popular reggae artist Shaggy – made a return to the emirate to be greeted by hundreds of fans at Dubai Festival City.

Joined by the likes of Rayvon and Rikrok, the group performed for just over 90 minutes giving the crowd every single favourite from 1990s tunes Boombastic and Oh Carolina to the more recent Church Heathen and Bonafide Girl.

Although it was rumoured that he was suffering from a bout of food poisoning on the night, Shaggy, ever the professional, continued with the show till the very end, leaving fans ecstatic.

Fortunately, that made up for the terrible experience at the door. Not only were there problems getting into the show but the organisers decided to open the category gates, placing those who had paid Dh125 in the same area as Dh450 ticket holders. Needless to say, many people were very, very angry.

Iron Maiden Live @ Dubai Media City: Did they leave the best till last? The answer is a big fat yes, no question about it.

Heavy metal legends Iron Maiden returned to Dubai for their second gig in the city, and what a show it was.

Black clothing was the order of the day for the 10,000 fans that turned out to witness the final leg of the band's Somewhere Back in Time tour.

Clad in an outfit only frontman Bruce Dickinson could pull off, the 50-year-old burst onto an ancient Egyptian-themed stage with the rest of the band, greeting everyone with a "Scream for me, Dubai."

What followed was a stunning two-hour, pyrotechnic- and flame-fuelled performance of hits including Run to the Hills, Fear of the Dark and The Number of the Beast.

The band also added a selection of tracks rarely played live into their setlist, including the 13-minute-long, Rime of the Ancient Mariner.