Well, it finally happened! I saw DG live for the first time...and in Dubai (of all places). Although, Dubai is an extremely modern, rich city, full of shopping malls, expensive hotels and clubs, the music scene (in my view) has left a lot to be desired. But I must admit things have finally begun to change, as evidenced by the recent David Gray concert. Finally, there was a concert I was excited about attending. Dubai has always had 'big name' concerts like Justin Timberlake, Beyonce, Elton John and other top 40 mainstream music performances which aren't my cup of tea, (to be honest I've avoided them like the plague). I just heard Celine Dion will be performing here and a friend called up inviting me to the concert. My answer was "I'd rather have my tongue stapled to the floor, and then have an army of red ants crawl into my mouth and eat me from the inside out"... sounds horrible doesn't it?... well not as bad as seeing Celine Live. My apologies to those who like her...music like art is 'subjective'....and I'd prefer not to be 'subjected' to Dion.
But enough digressing, let me just quickly review the Dubai concert. For starters, the promoters chose for David Gray to be part of a 'JAZZ' festival which not only did not make sense to me, but even David commented on this rather odd placement ( in his interview that occurred in the local paper this morning). A rock, alternative, or folk festival would have been more appropriate but then one should not complain. David did get a chance to perform in Dubai for the first time and the show was spectacular (as was David), apart from a few technical hiccups..but I prefer to ignore that.
The band, and David's voice was on top form. I can only compare it to DAVID GRAY LIVE (up to a point) and LIVE IN SLOW MOTION DVD concerts..and I tell you honestly, David's voice travelled far and wide across the amphitheatre and rattled the hearts and minds of even those who were not too familiar with his music.
All the favourites (for white ladder obssessed fans) were covered to keep the punters happy. A fantastic accoustic rendition of Babylon, Sail away and of course the encore of Please Forgive Me. But I enjoyed every single song including the covers Long Black Veil and Dylan's blood on the tracks. I don't want to recall the set list but it was a good mix of older and more recent work. If you've seen Live in Slow Motion DVD you might get a feel of what it was like. Unfortunately, shine, wisdom, and Faster, Sooner, Now were not performed which was a wee disappointing but then there's only so much you can squeeze into the alloted time and set list.
Over all the the concert was great as was David and the band. Unfortunately, the audience was a mix of David Gray fans and Jazz Festival Day visitors and I think David is more deserving of our more committed collective than was present there that night. I was there, suffering from a sore throat, which incidently gave me a very raspy, deep voice so I was able to sing along to all the songs in a surprisingly melodious manner. Another odd fact about the audience (considering Dubai expatriate community is rather varied) was that I was one of the few brown faces in a sea of white faces. I find it odd because I know a lot of the asian crowd (well, most of the sane ones anyway) really like David Gray, so I expected a far better representation of the asian community within audience but anyhow... I'm just happy that all of David's devoted Dubai fans made it so that's all that matters.
The band performed well with David and the music did sound rich and more melodic with amazing variations to each song that David's managed to cook up. I do have to admit, that everytime my eye drifted towards the drummer I kept hoping to see Clune, even for even a brief moment. I especially missed him for the last song of the evening; Please Forgive Me.
I hope some Web Administrator manager/moderator manages to take this, my rather sorry attempt at concert review, and forward it to David somehow (by perhaps taking a left at the traffic light on the internet highway) and have him read it. I just want DG to know, that "the gig was brilliant and your music is and has been appreciated by me and many others, so please keep making more of it...and do come back to Dubai. Hopefully the organizers will (next time) just arrange for a special DG concert rather than invite you to be part of festival...and perhaps, if opportunity allows and luck prevails, I can meet DG in person and have a bit of chinwag about globalism, global warming and Welsh close harmony singing...