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 Britney and Eminem in Abu Dhabi?

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PostSubject: Britney and Eminem in Abu Dhabi?   Mon Sep 19, 2011 11:15 am



For the past two years, the thickest pen circle on the UAE's musical calendar has undoubtedly been drawn around a long weekend sometime in November. Since it first landed in Abu Dhabi in 2009, the Formula 1 Grand Prix - ignoring the petrol-burning ritual going on in the background - has brought the biggest names from the world of entertainment to Yas Island.

It was the R&B queen, Beyoncé, who headlined the inaugural event, with Aerosmith and The Kings of Leon also on hand to ramp up the reverb. Last year, Prince gave a lesson in showmanship while Kanye West added the ego and Linkin Park the angst.

And so to 2011. The question is: who will it be? An official announcement is due on Monday, but the rumour mill has already been churning for months. Speculators have been chucking names about left, right and centre, with scant regard for health and safety.

Earlier this week, a name usually spoken of only in hushed tones was suddenly given credibility by the online gossip columnist Perez Hilton. Could Britney Spears really be coming to Abu Dhabi? According to the great digital gossip, the Yasalam "first night concert" - 11.11.11 - works perfectly for Spears, who will be ending her Femme Fatale tour in Lisbon on November 9 and isn't expected in Rio de Janeiro until November 15. A quick check of her website reveals that Perez is correct.

Britney fits the UAE bill perfectly being a) a big-name pop star who has sold millions of records, b) someone who hasn't played here before and c) clearly not averse to the odd bit of fast food. But, if she's in the line-up, surely this means there wouldn't be space for Lady Gaga, another name on many wish lists. Spears + Gaga might be too much pop to handle in three nights. Given that she's already on tour (and therefore wouldn't have to quickly pack an overnight bag), Spears seems the more likely choice. And, using scientific journalist methods, "Spears Abu Dhabi" yields significantly more tweets than "Gaga Abu Dhabi".

Let's assume that Spears is in the bank (many already have) and move on to the other two spaces, which - given the "pop" box has been ticked - should really go to rock, hip-hop or dance.

Regarding hip and, indeed, hop, one name has suddenly sprung up out of nowhere. Eminem, it seems, has become a favourite among that oft-chatty online community for a Yasalam slot, one Twitterer saying he was the "word on the street" (by which we assume they mean Salam). Sadly, there's no word from the Marshal Bruce Mathers III camp and his website doesn't appear to have any future events lined up. Perhaps it could be 50 Cent (Dh1.84), who recently cancelled a performance in Dubai. But did he cancel it for this? Possibly not, given that he's played in the UAE a couple of times before and isn't nearly the megastar he once was. Jay-Z? Hmmm, that might work, but he'll be in the middle of a US tour and the jetlag could be lethal.

On the rock side of things, the words "Rolling" and "Stones" have been a rumour favourite for some time. And what a gig that would be for a band considerably older than the UAE (2012 was supposed to see them start their 50th anniversary tour). But alas, autobiographical bickering among the wrinkly rockers could have put paid to any Stones tours in the near future. Besides, Jagger is now tied up in his new "supergroup", SuperHeavy.

But who else would fit the bill? How about U2? They're certainly big enough, and their last tour - which broke records in terms of attendance (more than seven million) and earnings (more than $700 million [Dh2.57bn]) - gels nicely with the UAE's focus on superlatives, while their well-documented tax-avoidance efforts are also well-aligned. But would Bono's tight leather trousers be too much for the Middle East heat? The yellow-sunglassed one would probably need some serious lubrication (which he might well be able to pick up from one of the F1 teams) even to get dressed for the night.

So where does this leave us? Well, absolutely nowhere until Monday, really. But it's certainly fun to speculate.

http://www.thenational.ae/arts-culture/music/britney-and-eminem-in-abu-dhabi
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